Project SingleSpeed Racer- Race Report 2

It was supposed to be a fair weather only event, the 4th in the Mid Atlantic Super Series, and on Friday night it looked questionable. The forecast was for thunderstorms, tornadoes, and high winds. The promoters figured that most of the racing would be done before it hit, and decided the race was a go. A decision that worked out for the Elite and Expert racers, but left the Sport riders racing in a heavy thunderstorm.

For us, the course would be 4 laps of quick, up and down, singletrack for 22 miles total. Without any major climbs, I went with a 32×18 gear (on a 29’er), and rode a Maxxis Ignitor tire on the front, and a Kenda Small Block Eight on the back. Even though this course was more rooty then rocky, I learned my lesson last time and wasn’t going to chance a lightweight tire again. Without a paved start, or any major flat sections, I was optimistic about my chances on a singlespeed.

I got a good start and headed into the almost BMX style singletrack in 10th place. The pace was fast and my gear perfect, I was keeping a nice even pace with the geared riders. Half way through the first lap I had my first odd experience. Coming into a wooden bridge crossing, I somehow got off my line and almost flew over the creek to the left of the bridge. Somehow I pulled a foot out and pushed off the far bank, only losing a few positions. The next couple laps went well, I was able to start picking off some other riders. I went into the last lap in front of Andrew Alesio (Fuji Bikes), in 9th. Then the second odd thing happened. On a short downhill with a few roots, I crashed hard for no apparent reason. The most frustrating part was landing with my back on my handlebars, and getting my jersey caught in my brakelever. I extracted myself and hopped back on with my left calf cramping, and in a reasonable amount of pain. Andrew passed me shortly, having crashed himself early in the race. I soldiered on and concentrated on holding my position to the finish. With a half mile to go it happened again. On a short rise, suddenly my left pedal felt funny. I looked down to see the crankarm dangling from my shoe. Slowly realizing what happened I grabbed it and unsnapped the pedal from my shoe, almost taking out Ray Adams (Visit Pa.com) and Blair Saunders (Secret Henry’s) as they passed me. So close to the finish I choose to run it in, rather than attempt a repair. I ended up in 12th, not too bad considering my string of luck, and I was the only Elite finisher on a singlespeed.

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What’s missing here?

Even with the crash and mechanical issue I feel like I finished in a group well matched to my own ability. Without those problems I might have been a few places higher, but I don’t think it would have been any different on a geared bike. I was able to punch it up most of the climbs and didn’t have to run anything, at least while I had two crankarms. There was a sandy, flat, back stretch where I did lose 20-40 meters to the geared riders, but I was able to make it up on the next climb. Without any big climbs this course suited powerful shorttrack style riders better than me, and Semi-Pro Short Track National Champion Wes Schempf (Visit Pa.com) took the win in a sprint to the line. In this race I felt like the singlespeed was certainly not a disadvantage, but finishing with a single crankarm was. Time for me to get back to my ice and beer, I take convalescence seriously. My goal for the next race, in 2 weeks, is a really boring race report.

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Three bags of ice, and a beer.

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