there are good days and bad days, good races and bad races... last night's wednesdays at wakefield season opener skewed more to the latter than the former. in spite of setting a goal of finishing well in sport for the series i made a last minute change and decided to race singlespeed for the sheer why-the-hell-not factor. the singlespeed class is always fun, even if i get smoked every time i try.
lined up in the 2nd row of a huge singlespeed class for the always awful start up the gravel road. figured that i'd try to see how far up i could get in the order when we hit the singletrack, since there was little chance of doing anything but falling back once we were there. it worked and by the time we hit the trails i was probably top 10 and held that position out around the first section of the new trails and onto the powerlines. turning off the powerlines i slid out and hit the deck, then felt another bike hit me while i was on the ground. lost a couple of places there, but i used the creek trail to catch up again and was in good position as we headed back to the powerlines. had to dismount and run the climb back to the powerlines as i couldn't find a good line and got stuck in traffic. back on the bike and i couldn't clip my right foot into my pedal. stop. check the pedal, no it's ok... check the cleat, there's the problem, it's very loose.
i stop and fish out my multitool and try to turn the mud filled bolts while the entire singlespeed field passes me. managed to get 1 bolt tight and hopped back on my bike and start passing the slower singlespeed riders. almost bite it around another corner and with the clouds building i can barely see in the woods with my sunglasses on. last climb to the finish is a hard one for me on the singlespeed, with the loose surface it's a 50/50 as to whether i'll get up it and this time i pick a bad line, don't make it up, and hit the deck as my right foot doesn't release in time... cleat bolts are too loose to clip in and once again standing on one leg by the trail, fumbling with the multitool while the riders i just got past are coming by. came through the start/finish at the end of my first lap in 34th place.
this pattern - stop to tighten bolts, get passed, start riding, pass the same 3 or 4 guys - repeated itself a couple of more times untill i took the time to sit down, dig the dirt out of the bolt heads and tighten them properly half way around the 2nd lap, but the extra time it took, and running into the back of the 2-lap beginner field made it harder to catch the other riders that last time. i thought about dropping out a couple of times, but every time i did, something kept telling me to at least finish, and at least try not to DFL... on the last lap i managed to pull myself up to 27th, i almost caught dave vannier at the finish, but the marshalls were moving the course tape for the start of the 7:00 pm races and pushed me into the woods and off my bike coming into the finishing straight.
many lessons learned and there are 3 more races left in the series...