Monday, June 01, 2009


Friday evening came and I was wasting time on this thing I call the internerd. Checking out blogs I read and came to the realization that the first annual SingleSpeed-A-Polooza was quickly approaching... In less than two days.

Hmmm. Had an Audi 1.8T timing belt job to do for a good friend of mine Saturday morning. Then a nice ride through Hartford to check out some local artwork. Sunday was open. Lets race bikes!

I had to fix the singlespeed first. Every ride for the past couple of weeks I seem to be getting flat tires. I think its been the uber low air pressure I've been running (25psi and lower.. tubeless). Well, I had a rear tire to fix. Tubeless tire patch and some more Stan's later I'm good to go.

Recalling the trail network over in Stewart Forest from the last time I was there (2007 Darkhorse40) I opted to 'gear down' to a 32x18 from my favorite gear of a 32x19. I would later find out I was still undergeared. Doh!

Asleep by 11pm on Saturday. Awake around 4:45am (Thom had me beat). Ginger and I were on the road by 5:30 and arrived in Stewart Forest by 7:30. Said hello to Mike, the promoter, as we rolled in and found a nice parking spot behind Sean from Bethel Cycle. Plenty of time (race starts at 9am) to say hello to people I haven't seen in quite a while and get my things together.

The course consisted of two, ten mile, laps. I opted for water bottles and had Ginger hand me one as I went into Lap #2.

Out riding around to loosen up shortly after 8am. Rode a bit of the end of each lap and also the beginning of each lap. Sweet singletrack mixed with fast, tight, turns and very rocky and rooty off-camber sections. Gonna be a good time.

Made our way over to the start, which was down a gravel road probably half a mile or so from the entrance to lap 1 (and the singletrack). Somehow I found myself hanging out up front at the start line with all the top singlespeeders. 9am we were off and pedaling like mad down the gravel road. We went up this slight incline and then down the backside. When I saw Monte stand up and pedal going down the backside (and pull away) I knew the game was on. I also immediately knew the 32t chainring was two teeth smaller than all the guys in front of me. Guess I'm pedaling a lot more than they are to keep pace. Its fun being undergeared (not).

I was around 9th or so into the singletrack and trying my best to hold onto the lead group. The good news is I entered the singletrack early so the bottleneck that ensured later was not an issue. We also were riding a good clip so trying to get around slower traffic was a non-issue.

The leaders coming into the start of the singletrack:

photo: ginger

Myself and a few others making up the tail of the lead group:

photo credit: GTLuke/

The chaos that was behind us:

photo: ginger

I rode most of lap one with Sean, Johannes, James and one or two others. They slowly pulled away on me as I realized I can't pedal any faster and with every pedal stroke their bikes were going further than I (yup, that undergeared thing again). Anyways, knowing we have a good gap on the main field I settled into my own rhythm and had fun. Time is ticking and so are the miles. Rolled through to start lap two somewhere around 45minutes in (I think). Ginger later told me I was in 9th place going into lap two. Awesome!

Flying through lap 1:

photo credit: GTLuke/

I recognized quite a bit of the trails we were riding from previous races I've participated in. They are so much fun to ride. Tight singletrack with banked turns here and there. Turns you can't really see what is on the exit. Short steep climbs you can muscle up. No long climbs like Pisgah but just good bike riding.

The beginning of each lap had a few short steep climbs and going into lap 2 I started feeling the muscle twitches. Ugh oh. Not good. I drank more and downed another Gu. Found a way to ward off the cramps as they would set in. Definitely couldn't push myself as hard as I did on the first lap but was still able to ride a relatively fast pace. I also noticed others were fading so I wasn't terribly worried. Just had to make sure my legs didn't lock up otherwise its game over.

lap two:

photo credit: GTLuke/

I managed to make it to mile 15 with very little hiccups. The remaining five miles were difficult. The muscle fatigue in my thighs would come on strong and I had to pull back the intensity in an effort to ward off full on crampage. This allowed a few other guys to catch up to me and the guys I was catching up to pull ahead. I knew there were two super short rock gardens to muscle through between where I was and the finish so I was also trying to save some energy for that. Keep on trucking and eventually I crossed the finish line pretty much tanked out but not blown up.

There was a unicyclist out there too!

photo: ginger

This event was fun and that is what this is all about for me. While I was super stoked to be up front and in the top group with a bunch of racers that hold pro racing licenses (last license I had was 'expert') I also saw no reason to push myself to the brink of cramping both legs and having a horrible week recovering. Therefore I felt it was prudent to slow down a tad and get to the finish. This ensured a good standing since if I did crack I would have fallen back very, very far.

Full results are here.
~ 14th place out of 39 pro/expert singlespeeders
~ 1hr 39minutes

~ Very little riding/training leading up to this event.
~ Didn't hydrate myself well on Saturday and the days leading up to.
~ 5hr 45min of sleep the night before.
~ NO flat tires or other mechanicals. Whoaa hoo!
~ Crazy dehydration headache later on in the day. Sleep cured that.

Saw some friends, made some new friends, had a great time! Props to Mike and the Darkhorse Cycles crew for putting on yet another great event. Looking forward to this year's Darkhorse 40.

Thanks for the Salsa belt buckle. This thing is awesome.


Blogger Darkhorse Cycles said...

glad you like the belt buckle!
good to see you and hope to see ya at the 40!

6/02/2009 7:54 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home