hmmm, kinda don't wanna write this race report type thang. Because this could be the last one for a while, depends on if I head for the hills next weekend. I really should go, get in one last toeing the line experience, and burn up the rest of this fitness stuff. And actually riding with people during the race is kinda cool. On the fixy, you pass folks with a strained "unngggghhh, how owww you....", then the next time you see them they're hollerin' "On your left" while blasting by on the following descent.

This wknd was different.

The weather was cool, summertime is over. Camping was crisp and the stars were bright after The Law showed up. Slept well and hit the snooze a few times. Efficient start to the day and rolling behind a biiiig group to the official start line. GO! A spun out 32:19 is no match for the big rings and five of us form the 'lead group' of singlespeeders. Spend the next couple hours trying to wind it out up the climbs, pushing the pace but not quite à bloc, wondering who'll crack first; Timmy D, Les, Topher, Buck, myself?

4 out of 5 stop to take notes at the Racer's Meeting and then it gets quiet as we try to make up the gap. Efficient splash and go stops for me, nobody else is screwing around much either, Tim keeps rolling on thru. We're still a tight bunch of four with Tim just outta sight past the halfway gnar gnar and then the train is derrailed as we miss the left turn into Buckets. Quick 2 minute backtrack at most and rolling comfortably again. Half way up the mtn, time to go look for Les & Tim. Around to the front and the conversations stop. Solid 20minutes of quiet time with Topher and then all alone after I get dropped high speed descending off of Spicer Knob. Now sitting in fourth, out of sight front and back, figuring Buck should come ripping by at any second, the mood turns sour. Where is that damn water stop!!!! Why am I riding like such a pussy?

Slum across Chickadee and at the oasis Johnny T has a beer in hand. I have the taste, but not the stomach for it, I decline. They tell me that Topher is only a minute up the road. Set off up Rattlesnake Run with a mission. Legs getting empty and twingy, need to accept that cramps are gonna be part of the equation, just keep pedaling, and drink. No Topher, but surprisingly I spot Les up the road and turn my focus on that carrot. Slam some calories & drop a gel pack on the road just as I'm closing the gap...fuck, skid, stop, off, pick up, in, back on, rolling....still in sight, barely. The climb lets up, we drop some doubletrack and once at speed, that 30 second gap turns into out of sight. Shit, shit, shit, where is he?

Resume climbing, ahhhh there he is, just pedal. Back out onto more climbing fireroad, flashbacks of chasing Buck up this last year, and Les is right there.....and then just up the road Topher appears!!! Look deep for a bit more cadence, need to get the holeshot onto the ridge. Chasing down a singlespeeder, on a singlespeed, when you're all similarly geared and about 40 miles into a fitty, sucks. Come on Scotty, I need more power!!!! Turn right onto the gravel double, finally onto Toph's wheel and around without hesitation, trying to appear strong. Tempo, tempo, tempo. Left onto the gas line, over the tanktrap hump, drink now, then a right into the woods. Les is latched on, gotta try to break the elastic. Riding Rocky Ridge as hard as I can, working and trying not to show it. Try to look smooth. Thru a ton of gnar and I can't even stretch the elastic. Les has breath for commentary, I'm licking my stem. Fuck, what's it gonna take?

I bobble and weave, then Les takes over and I stroogle to hold on with Topher within earshot. Chasechasechase, focus, pedal and chase and keep it tight and where's Topher and Buck's still back there lurking too and fuck he's got another bike length! Damnit, focus you dipshit, get smooth, roll it , flow it, no brakes, bounce and giddee up on it.

Ride like you know how, bitch.

Chase across the grass field and hit the final rollers together. Pass the final aid and noone bluffs as we push up that first pitchy bit. Keep looking back for Topher, keep looking back. Follow Les across the final bits of trail, push thru the one insane full right leg cramp of the day without a whimper and work survival mode while trying to hold onto Les' wheel and maybe we'll reel in Tim at this pace, but he could anywhere from 1 minute to 15 in front of us by now. Plan the line to maximize flow, avoid that stabby power move, keep the cramp monsters at bay. Final rocky oomph, up over the last gnarly log machine blasted knob, throw down a show of strength over the last six or so pedal strokes and make the pass. Yeah, that was worth it, for the next 2 or so miles we spin and tuck down the grassy path to the road crossing, chatting and looking back for Topher or Buck. spinspinspin, tuuuuuuuuck.

Cross the road, hard left, off the bike and hiking with conviction. Not exactly an attack, but if he wants to play, he'll follow, it's not like I'm running or anything. Back on the bike as soon as possible, look over the shoulder and it's vacant. Spin thru the last bit of trail and roll it home for second place singlespeeder, eigth overall. Timmy D. rode like a flawless machine all day and won it with about a two minute gap, Les was third within a minute, Topher another one or two back and Bucky crossed the line about when we cracked open the first round of Troeg's. Damn tight group, I kinda like this singlespeed racin' thang.

Gotta give props to all that helped make this happen; G'burg Cycle, the Cupcakes that gave up their chances at glory to feed us and the moto crew for their course work.

Thanks a bunch everybody,
coasting can be fun.


camps said...

Damn Tomi,
You've shown us all what a well engineered, spreadsheet analyzed, cold rain ridin' full-on training programme can do.

huber said...

Payin' the bills with some skillz! Great job!