Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Two days of racing, Saturday brought us two short efforts with a Time Trial in the morning and a Short Track in the afternoon. I'm use to 6, 8 and 12 hour racing, so these two short races would call upon my cyclo-cross mojo. My weapon for the day was my 17.4 lb. Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper Carbon Fiber single speed with it's Whiskey No. 7 carbon fork. With my early registration, I started with a 10:23:30 start for my Time Trial. I lined up next to my starting partner and the gun went off and I hit the gas. The start was flat, a few tight turns, some long straights and all on grass, so a little work was required but letting the other racer pull me along helped a little. Once we hit the Water Tower climb I passed my starting partner and hit the single track at my own pace! I came upon the next racer in the single track and they were nice enough to let me by after ringing my handy bell. The gear ratio I selected for today's festivities was a 34x17, which was perfect in the single track, but not the best on the two track, so if I got lucky, I would get behind a geared bike who would instantly turn into my personal domestique. No such luck, I had to spin my brains out, but got to the next single track section virtually unscathed...but wait, there's a little surprise, the single track is blocked off and more two track, which makes the course a little longer. As I hit the final single track section I am feeling good and my timing is pretty good, the only road block is a small technical climb strewn with softball size rocks, I clean it nicely and hit the gas to finish strong with a time of 29:50! I am the only Expert/Elite Single Speed racer for the day, so my 1st place is automatic, but I always like to check my time with the Expert 50+ age group (my racing age is 52) so I was very pleased when I see that my time would have put me in first place in that age group! On to the afternoon's Short Track, the gun goes off and we have a mass start of all the Expert racers. There was some carnage within the first 100 feet and two racers tangled up like they were cage fighters, fortunately I was on the other side of the track and stayed clear of the crash. Holding your line in this tight twisty course was imperative, with that said, I was forced to run over a root and my tire burped and the tire lost some pressure. I thought I would be okay, but all the turns on a single speed requires one to stand up and deliver! But with the low pressure I was afraid of rolling the tire off the rim and I decided to slow down and finish the race as the overall points for the weekends racing were more important than a strong finish. So I limped in with a smile on my mug and looked forward to tomorrow's cross country. Go Ride!
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Fat is in! Yup, you heard it here first, fat is in! In case you don't know what I'm talking about, it's 3.8 inches of fat tire fun! The fatter the tire, the bigger the smile.
My first race of 2012 was on a set of fat tires, along with 75 others on fat tires at the Farmers Fat Tire Race in Grand Rapids. The weather has been pretty mild for this time of year. Barely any measurable snow and mild temps. But the preceeding 36 hours of the race the snow came down and we had a good 6-8 inches of fresh powder to make this a true winter race.
The Duo team riders got to go first when the gun went off, a couple of minutes later, all us solo riders were allowed to hit the course. With this being only my second ride on the Pugsley and the first in snow, I had no idea what to expect. The start was uneventful as everyone found their place in line. Most of the course had one solid lane thru the snow and if you felt adventureous you could go onto the lane that wasn't proven and go for a pass. As some of the slower duo-team racing traffic was caught, this was an option you had to exercise or stay in the conga line and take a little rest, which wasn't a bad idea either.
As the race went on and the traffic spread out, you could pretty much run your own race. There was one run up that some folks managed to ride, but every time I hit it, there was traffic, so I never did get a chance to try it. About the 9th lap I was pretty happy that I hadn't wiped out yet, but that would soon change and what's funny, I didn't see it coming and I was on the floor before I knew what happened, good thing there was a lot of freash snow to soften the landing!
I managed to keep the pace going, but when I stopped to get my third and final bottle at around 2:20 (race being over at 3:00) I heard some of the race "officials" shout out it was the last lap. Which didn't really register until I came in the next time around and all the racers were being ushered off the course. So at the 2:37 mark of the race, it was over. I managed 11 laps and 9th place. With the race ending a 1/2 hour sooner than I anticapted, my strategy didn't help my placing but in the end, I had a blast! I got to see some of my "Fat" friends and race in the snow!