Sunday, April 29, 2012

Singlespeed-a-palooza 2012

single speeeeeeeeeds!!!


Yeah racin bikes! 2012 is under way and I couldn't have asked for a better day, course or conditions to get things rolling.  Shaun and I carpooled out to Dbone city to set up base camp before heading down for the 4th Annual Singlespeed-a-palooza.  I have heard great things about the venue, organizers and the scene/race in general over the last few years so we figured we'd have a look-see this year.

Saturday was perfect race prep.  Dbone got us straight to his 11yr old nephews birthday party where we ate as many hamburgers, hot dogs and pasta salad as possible.  Then we watched Keith climb a tree.  After that we continued the food binge with a huge pasta dinner and some wine that made us go crazy and we ended up coining the term 'Visual Pervert'.

Up early Sunday morning to haul down to Montgomery, NY.  Nice area, never really been down that way.  Stewart State Forest is set up quite nice to host races and Darkhorse Cycles knows their stuff.  Don't take good race organization for granted, you won't miss it until it's gone.  We got situated, stashed bottles, did our warmup and then immediately violated our plan by getting to the start way too late and having to file into basically the back of our enormous group.  Hashtag dammit.

Now this was a longer race coming in at 28mi so I'll recall this as best I can....

Air horn goes off and we've got work to do.  There is about 90 people we have to pass and everyone is off like a bat out of hell trying to get as far up as possible during the 'prologue', a 2mi section of access rode followed by a short stint on singletrack back through to the lap point and into the first full lap.  I get boxed in a tad early on but I found a way out to the left edge of the group and punch it at 150rpm to try and get through some of the slower guys who are content to hang back while the hammerheads get after it.

The bunch had split into two main groups the main 'fast group' of about maybe 30-40 (hard to tell with all the dust) was up the road and I had made it to the front of the second group and was trying to bridge up...unsuccessfully.  A few others joined my attempt and we were able to get up to the back end of things as the faster group started to fracture a bit right before heading into the singletrack portion of the prologue.

Now this is where things get AWESOME.  Were single file with basically nowhere to pass but moving along decently so I decide to just sit on and wait for my chances later.  Then about 5 minutes later our paceline is hauling down a slight hill and coming up to a slight bend apparently someone saw a little bit of mud and decided to stop and perform an environmental impact study or something because all of a sudden I realize everyone in front of me is stopping.  I was like "No way this is a race I'm not stopping" so I rammed the guy in front of me.  Pretty hard.  Full on explosion, my handlebars made sweet love to his rear wheel, right brake lever bumped out of place, the whole deal.  And remember that mud I mentioned?  I got in that a bunch.  We finally got our bikes separated and got back to riding single file at high speeds.  We quickly started catching back up to some riders who I really wanted to pass because I had lost all that time.  So I inform a nice lady that I will be coming by on her right, which I do, but as I'm completing my pass my right hand catches something on the side of the trail which pulls my hand/handlebar back T'ing my wheel and I explode/endo right in front of her and stop our paceline dead.  Everybody take 5!  Great work!

Good news?  Right brake lever has now been bumped back into the correct position.  Sooooo now that I've got all my 'silly' out I got down to actually riding my bike a bit.  The course and trails at Stewart are incredible.  Very fast but not boring by any means, plenty of sharp rocks to keep you on your toes and your brain picking smooth lines.  I'm very glad I stuck with the 32-19.  The course wasn't so much flat and fast as it was punchy and fast.  The 19 kept my cadence up and I was able to power over most everything and keep the leg speed up in the more technical stuff.  I was passing people back pretty consistently early in the lap so I felt like I was doing what I should but I had completely lost track of where I was in the pack.

I got isolated a bit here and there but I was just about always 'racing' with somebody at all times which was nice.  I was catching small groups of 2,3,4 riders here and there through the first lap and I was able to rest and ride away from just about all of them.  I still felt really strong heading into the second lap and I was still catching and passing people so I tried to just keep the pace as high as possible.  I eventually somewhat settled in with a kid who was riding about 30yds ahead of me that I couldn't quite reel in for much of the second lap.  We were fairly evenly matched and I just couldn't quite close the gap.  I did start to notice that I was closing distance on harder parts of the course, climbs, false flats, etc. so I was fairly certain he was slowly running out of gas where as I felt like I would be good to push decently hard to the finish.

I knew there was a longer false flat access road section coming up towards the end of the lap so I decided I would keep him close and make my move to grab him then.  My plan worked and the gap started shrinking as soon as the road tilted up.  I realized that just a bit past him there was also another rider so I thought if things went really well we could collaborate and catch him and maybe I could pass two people in the last few miles.  I caught my rabbit just as the hill was topping off and kept the pace on to try and drop him and get the next guy.  The next guy was also fading and I caught him as we turned onto the last singletrack section of the course.  I sat on his wheel for a bit of a recovery knowing there was a false flat and two little climbs still to come.  As luck would have it we started gaining on two more riders also fading fast.  I was able to make my first pass at the top of the first little climb and I used the next climb to get past the next two guys as well.

I kept the pressure on so they wouldn't be tempted to try and bury themselves to get back by and I ended up passing 4 people in the last 3-4mi for 10th place(!) in the NY and North class.  Initially thought it was 11th but took a picture of the results sheet and didn't even realize that they had made a correction moving me up one spot.  Not sure on the actual head count in our class but I'm 90% sure there were 97 pre-reg'd.

I am super pumped with that result considering where I started in the pack and how things went for me early.  I was also really pleased with my staying power, I think my training has really helped me continue to put out power at my threshold apparently well into longer events as well.  Hopefully I can stay healthy and keep this ball rolling.


  1. Anonymous4/30/2012

    top ten, awesome result! especially after crashing twice in the first 5 miles....


  2. yea that's bad're an animal slav!....shine you were crushing hard too... Good show to both of ya's

  3. Nice finish! I was actually waiting for this race report. I wish I could have been there myself.

  4. Hey Kevin,

    Check out the recap video of the SSaP.

    - Manny

  5. wow, a blog about a race and you legit made me lol when you T bone exploded while passing that chick. well done!

    also, "caught my rabbit"? I feel like you're making these up to make my head explode.

  6. dude that is a solid dog racing reference. how do you not know that?! Santa's little helper! c'mon