I've come to the realization that you have good days and bad days...but two bad races in a row is telling me something different. Both of these races were in the 90's, so the heat may have played a factor.
The temps were comfortable at the 10:00 start and I started out comfortably. With the heavy rains we had the prior week leading up to the race the course was re-routed in a couple places so it was a crap shoot for my gear selection. I can't remember what gear I had last year, but with this course design there is no gear that works well for the entire course. We had a long section of rails to trails so a bigger gear would be ideal, but once you get off that, you have a long section of two track and single track where it seemed all you did was a steady climb except for two portions of switchbacks, so it was a decision that had to be made carefully.
With that said, I used a 34x18 on my Specialized S-Works Carbon Single Speed rocket ship...well, maybe for the first 3 hours it was a rocket ship, but I'm getting ahead of myself. About the third lap I started to do some evaluation of my gear selection. I would keep track of where I would need my tall gear and I realized the only spot would be on the rails to trails. With the new single track replacing some two track, I need the gear even less, so I decided to change gears. Actually, I asked Bryan Kreger to change my gear while I rode my back up bike...this is where my demise started showing its ugly face.
I swap bikes and I'm off again...and the difference in the bikes if felt immediately, not a bad difference, but a difference nonetheless. The back up bike is totally rigid so the big set of switchbacks is a little rougher, but on the smooth part of the trails, it's like "butta". But one major issue was the gear selection on the back up bike was EVEN harder than what I had on the other bike so the next lap would involve some walking.
I completed the lap on the back up bike and upon my arrival into the pit, Bryan has some not-so-good news for me, I need a spacer on the cassette body for the new cog to work and neither of us have any spacers in our tool boxes, so I stop and Bryan figures out a plan that works for the both of us and I agree and I head out to do another lap on my back up bike.
When I get back to the pit Bryan has my bike ready and I head out again. At this point I have 11 laps in and the heat is starting to take it's toll on me. I am nauseous and pretty light headed, especially on one climb where it's all in the sun and it feels like an oven. I have to stop as I get dizzy, I take a small break and get a drink and wait until the dizziness subsides. As I wait, fellow single speed competitor Steve rolls up and both of us talk about the downward spiral of our race plans. We both head out at the same time and have a little fun riding together.
I manage two more laps with a long break before them and realize it's not in the best interest health wise to keep going, so I decide to stop and just recooperate with my friends. I don't know what's going on with the heat issue I'm experiencing this year, but hopefully we get a couple cooler races or I'm in trouble.