Sunday, September 21, 2008

One, nine or 27 gears - it's all good

A beautiful day brought out the biggest crowd in a long time at Addison and since it was now being run by the MMBA chapter as a benefit race, the larger turnout meant the chapter should clear close to $5-6,000. I spent part of yesterday helping to set up for the race and most of today helping as well.

For the race I had decided to race in my Expert age class on my Cannondale F29 1FG singlespeed bike. Most of this year the bike has been set up as a 1x9 for muddy races. But I was just treating this race as a training race since it was not of any real importance to me. But it's my home course and I'm one of the trail coordinators so I thought I should do it.

Knowing the course as well as I do has its advantages when running SS because you need all the momentum you can get to keep your speed up. There are only a couple of places at Addison where having multiple gears really helps. A couple of long straight sections can allow a geared bike to pull away.

We lined up eight deep for the start and when they said go the pace at which we started had me spinning like mad trying to stay with the leaders. I thought my legs and lungs were going to explode as we made our way up the first climb and I was in fourth, with a gap already back to fifth. I stayed with the front three for a while through the tight stuff but they pulled away on the open flat section.

I settled into as much of a rhythm as I could, hammering through the singletrack that I knew so well and trying not to lose too much time on the flats. Riding with only one gear forces you to attack hills and usually ride up some of them faster than if you were on a geared bike. it can also hurt more.

Later in the race I caught third place and slowly pulled away. I managed to extend my hold on third and stayed there to the finish. As much as I suffered I also had fun since it was not the same style of riding I had been doing most of the summer.

Now that the main XC season is basically over it's time to mix things up a bit. Next week is another 30 mile race at a venue I've never raced before so that should be fun and the week after I may do a cyclocross race. Something I haven't attempted in a few years. Then another cyclocross race or two and the Lake Orion XC race. The grand finale will be the Iceman but there may be another couple of 'cross races late in the year before taking some time off the bike. But before you know it our LOHS winter race will be just around the corner.

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