Single speed racing is heavily dependent on bike set up...get it wrong and the race will be a lot harder than it needs to be. Get it right and you can almost be on par with a geared bike on many courses. I lined up next to the speedy Cody Larson at the SS State Championships knowing that it would be a battle, and the equipment differences were interesting:
After the first lap of slipping and sliding the equipment differences shaped my strategy. Cody was cornering faster with more grippy tires and with the smaller gear and rigid bike able to accelerate quicker. However, I was faster in the open sections and in the really tight stuff. It became apparent that I would have to attack on one of the open sections near the end. I did so, and I was barely able to hold him off. Had the course been dry, I think my choice of gearing would have been better (and a lot easier on my lower back!).
About 1.5 hours after finishing the SS race, I mounted the trusty Fuel for the elite race. Cody and I worked each other pretty good so I was content to hang out 3rd wheel. Cody managed to explode his derailleur region of his bike on a rock (parts were just kind of hanging there), which ended his day. I was comfortably riding behind Samo when I had a stick grab my rear derr...I think it was like revenge of the derailleurs on those that chose to single speed earlier in the day. 3 stops later I found the culprit, a small stick lodged between the spokes and freewheel (causing my freewheel to not spin an thus kicking my chain off every time I coasted).
I pedaled my way back to third w/ little acceleration in the legs and a knot in my back. I guess that is what you get for only riding a SS once a year.
Wow, I can't believe that is it. Mountain bike race season is (for the most part) over. What a great year it has been for the MNMBS and Midwest Regional Mountain bike racing in general! Participation is up, the atmosphere at the races couldn't be more family friendly, and the competition keeps getting better (dang whippersnappers). I want to say a special thanks to ALL the people who have volunteer at an event I have attended. I owe you all, so if you see me out somewhere and beer is an option, remind me and I will buy you one!
The coming weekends are quite busy but not with bike racing.
I will be out at the TC marathon supporting my wife as she covers 26.2....I owe here more than a few hand-offs. The following weekend is a fall camping trip. Then Oct 16-17 the Trek Demo truck returns to Lebanon Hills and Murphy Hanrehan, which as a team member I will be a part of (more details to come on this but it should be a fun time for all).
Cross/beer racing will fit in there somewhere around the rest of life...