Written by Michael Green Tuesday, 03 November 2020 00:00
With all the uncertainty around racing and everything cancelled a smaller CX race organizer decided to maintain their races with defined safety measures. Of course these grew in size because many, including myself, travelled across the state to check them out.
Not knowing what to expect I arrived at the first race with SSCX in hand and lined up to race. Reasonable social distancing was extended as everyone stretched out around the track. The singlespeed race went off with the elite group for an hour of pain, and it was. My first race was a shock to the system with three steep climbs on a slightly over-geared “magic gear” set up on my Kona Super Jake of 38x16. It was a rough day, but good to be back.
The following week I made a second attempt to race, again an long hour of racing, but this time hoping to race a little smarter and the shock of last time under better control. I got a decent start and knew I was first singlespeeder in the field, but found myself driving at the front - not where I wanted to be being the tallest guy on a windy day. I sat up and watched as others rode by looking to join my singlespeed brethren so I could race. I knew one guy from last week at the back of the line and eventually another passed me. I jumped on his wheel and there we, along with a couple of “cheaters” with gears ;) stayed for the remaining 45 minutes or so, switching back and forth at the front.
I did much of the pulling and found myself a little quicker on the run up, on the sand pit (which we ran) and over the barriers. I put in some mini digs when I felt a separation but made the mistake of never fully committing to the gaps. As we approached the bell lap he took the lead which I thought put me in a preferred position. The track after the sandpit was not ideal for a sprint finish so any action by me had to happen prior. I decided the sandpit run would be the place for me to use my height and size to get ahead prior to the finish but as we entered the sandpit, HE RODE IT. No distinct line had appeared during the race and with my gear ratio it wasn’t in the cards. I should have cut a turn or hopped a barrier at speed and blocked him from riding the sandpit with my body/bike.
Hind site is always 20/20 but also an opportunity to learn. Currently, there’s two more races on the calendar including State Championships. I’ll run gears next time unless a Covid surge and Governors order puts a halt to racing. It’s highly probable and appropriate yet I felt safe at the past two races and I won some beer. Stay safe.
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