With nothing but forecasts of a beautiful, sunny day, I was a little perplexed to wake up yesterday, to find it at 38 degrees, raining, and foggy enough to not see more than 40 meters! Ugh... sure, that's more traditional "cyclocross" weather, but I definitely prefert the "beautiful, sunny" forecast instead. But I wasn't about to just stay in bed! After packing up the car it was time to head off to Breckenridge for some cross racin'!
I figured it would clear up, but it rained all the way to Evergreen where I was scheduled to meet Walker for the car-pooling action. Not good... but then all of a sudden just after Idaho Springs, the sky opened almost instantly, and suddenly it was warmer and crystal clear! Going into Breck was as scenic as always!
The plan was to jump into cross season with both feet, and open up with two races, and take advantage of the excitement of the first weekend. Doubling-up is always a challenge, especially at the Breck course which can be rough on the body, and is of course at 10k feet up in the sky!
I rolled just one recon lap on the new single speed, to check out the course. I was thinking of possibly rolling that bike in both races, but it looked like it was going to make for a tough ride, and I didn't want to blow up for the second race. So I grabbed the bike with all those complicated gears, and rolled to the start line. The race was going to be my warm-up. Not a horrible idea, but it sure felt like it for the first two laps when I suddenly forced the body to go that hard! A couple laps in, and I decided to pour it on a bit, started moving up in the field, but also kept it as an exercise in hitting all the right lines, being efficient, and metering out the wattage. I finished up 10th.
Back to the car for some nutrition, pin on a new number, take another leisurely recon lap to make sure things were good on the bike, and back to the start line. Maybe they started us a minute after the Cat 3s rolled off, but it sure didn't seem like it. Plus someone jumped hard, so I was off in pursuit. In less than a third of a lap, we were into the back of the Cat 3s, which really complicates things. First, you're trying to keep track of the other single speeders, and dodge around the slower riders, and try to hit lines that let you keep your momentum for the ugly parts of the course.
After a couple laps, things opened up some, and I was able to turn the screws. I wasn't 100% sure from the confusion of the early laps, if I was second or first, so I just rolled it at that lovely threshold. There were two sections after my pre-ride, that I was a little worried about on this course, with the single speed. The first definitely required some power each lap, but really wasn't that bad. The second was the hill that just plain got steeper every lap, but was definitely manageable throughout the race. It's all about planning your sectors... and turning consistent laps, hitting your lines, and just being as efficient as possible. Not to mention the joy of attacking those around you, when you know it's time to try and put a gap on them. It's at least a thousand times more fun than riding around in an office-park crit, following the wheel in front of you, and doing as little work as possible to get to the end in a good position. All those little techniques are also never more important than when you are on a single speed, and I think that's why I love racing that bike so much!
I think I was very close to as fast on this course with the single speed as I was with the geared bike. The new bike is so light, and it was just perfectly happy to get flicked back and forth through the wooded sections of the course. It made me WISH there was a long section that required throwing it up on the shoulder! In the end, I won, and had passed all but the top 11 guys in the Cat 3s. The day was a good start to the season.
And just as good was seeing all the other friends that were quite possibly even more excited than me to put the knobbies in the dirt, and start turning some hot-laps with those like-minded individuals. Special thanks to Larry for the pictures, and to his crew for yelling and ringing the cowbell throughout the race! I might have to retire the new bike now, so that it retains it's "perfect record".
Don't worry, it's not all about the bike;
You know... I gave up on Saturday Night Live a long time ago... I mean, it just plain fucking SUCKS these days. And by "these days" I mean for the last 12 years. But every once in a great really-long-while, they throw out an honestly hysterical skit. This weekend they managed to show just how scary Democracy really can be;
Way too many people have the "right" to vote...