Back from a posting hiatus
And so ends my hiatus on posting…. It’s been a long off time posting, so here’s the quick recap since December.
Cross went a bit long for me last season, racing into February at Cross Worlds. To say things didn’t go as well as planned is an understatement, but at least I had a good race at the Raleigh Single Speed Derby CX race mid-week and ended up taking 2nd on the day after somehow unknowingly leading the race. Snow, darkness, strobe lights and half drunken people somewhat distorted who was leading, but it was cool and John P took the win and I rolled in second.
Soon after came the trip back to Ohio, and so fourth brought the cruddy Ohio weather and long roller rides. Felt somewhat odd to not race Old Pueblo again duo, but sometimes one just needs a break and switch things up. I vow to be back next year to ride again with Brian B to go for the duo win. I most likely will try out the Pivot LES full rigid out there.
Also new up for me is a few new bikes – aluminum Pivot 429′s and all carbon LES’s. The LES’s will be built up full rigid with Niner forks – one 2×10 and the other single speed.
First races of the years have been somewhat of a bummer so far – but here goes.
Had a great start, and rolled off the start line in the single speed field. Conditions were quite cold and left the course very rutty and ice covered. Not one for the timid.
Soon a lead group was formed and there were only four single speed riders in the lead group – I was the only one on a cross bike, so if it was coming to a sprint, I would have the advantage.
Having narrowly escaped a few rider crashes in front of me, a rider in front of me decides to hit his brakes. Not good.
He takes out my front wheel and a few spokes and sends me crashing to the ground.
With the wheel badly out of true and hitting the brakes, I had to hitch a ride back to the start. Quite a bummer.
This time I would take the start line running gears with fellow WAS Labs team mates Shawn, Aaron, Matt and Cameron.
The race started and Aaron and Shawn danced away in the lead break.
The miles rolled on, I was in the main chase group just sitting in trying to hold my spot – and then I flat in about the same spot where Aaron flatted. After a few brief moments talking, we did not realize we had enough wheels to make it to the end – for one bike.
Shawn would roll in 2nd for the day – the rest of the team would roll in the top 10 overall. Nice team effort despite my fail of a flat.
Two road races:
In between off road and roubaix events came the RATL crit and Valley RR.
Good team efforts lead to Aaron and Shawn taking 3/4 at the crit.. The next day in the Valley RR, we had two riders in the top 10 followed up by a strong lead out practice from the chase group.
Last up was the Cohutta where I decided to switch things up and roll it single speed.
The day before was beautiful at 75 degrees – not so lucky on race day.
Race day had us waking up to pouring rain and 50 degrees. Things would lighten up at the start, but I started with multiple layers and a rain cape.
The starting climb was fast and I struggled to hold on and then finally backed off a bit near the top. The leaders were gone, but I wanted a finish in the top 5 and a sprint up the first climb was not going to win the race.
I settled in 3rd single speed spot and cruised along.
Things are a lot different riding a single gear – you quickly become more aware of not hitting your brakes and trying to roll over your gear more easily.
Soon I was through check point 2 and onto a flat section with one geared rider. I was glad he was not killing the pace and he let me draft for a bit and then I heard it – an odd “clink” sound from my chain.
I was running a single speed specific chain, a real beefy SRAM chain with an odd master link that had a sliding link. Going up the starting climb, I remembered that I forgot extra links, but when the hell has anybody broken a heavy duty single speed chain?
Well, 2 miles later, my chain pops off – three times in about 30 feet. I then notice that the master link outer plate and odd pin were gone.
What’s the chances of somebody having those spares with them – for a single speed specific chain in the middle of 100 mile race in the middle of nowhere Tennessee?
I then had the fun luxury of hiking, pushing, and contemplating life for 5 miles back to the last check point. Not fun, but I got a quick and warm ride back to the start finish.
Not the race I planned, thought I made the right chain choice, but I come to find out most guys are running 9 speed chains as they are lighter and the fact that you can use standard master links. Big “dah” moment for the weekend.
Time to change a chain.