all images in this post are courtesy of Danny Rietz (AKA "the young apprentice")
one cool thing about the local race series is that there is usually a lot of good, competitive bike racing. the other thing is that there is definitely some depth of talent in most all of the categories.
in the big scheme of things the local series doesn't count for much- there are no UCI ProTour points to be had, no national ranking, no hot babes on the podium smooching the winners. there isn't actually a podium, either, for that matter.
it's just a great way to spend a wednesday evening with a lot of people from the local cycling community and an opportunity to make some new friends as well.
this evening's parcours featured a 300 meter flat start followed immediately by a climb up the face of Howelson hill right underneath the ski jumps. then around to the backside of the mountain and a road climb of just over a kilometer to sort things out and finishing it all off with approximately 15 kilometers of awesome singletrack (the image currently being used for the header is of Jennifer pre riding part of the pro/expert race course this past weekend. nice, huh?). the elevation gain is fairly substantial, about 450 meters, and some of it is pretty steep.
the first section is very difficult, as the temptation is there to attempt keeping up with the guys on geared bikes. then you slam into the wall going up the first part of the climb... and explode.
i have been experimenting with a slow(er) rollout as a effort to avoid that problem and it worked pretty darn well tonight. the big guy in the black kit on the 29'er blazed out at a furious pace, following one of the geared rabbits. he managed to put a good gap between himself and the chasers going up the first steep- i thought he was going to ride away from everyone right then. at this point i was in 4th or 5th position and had a good view on what was going down.
on the climb up the road i caught and passed him, as well as the remaining geared riders. then JP came up and passed me and got into the single track first but couldn't hold the pace either and he let me go by. i made it to the top of the climbing with a good gap on the rest of the field and most of the riders in my division were now stuck in traffic as an added bonus.
this is the part of singlespeed racing where motivational fear comes into play- be afraid of someone catching from behind, be afraid of crashing into the ferns if your attention lapses for a moment and be afraid of a mechanical failure or a puncture.
i got the dreaded "snakebite" in a rocky section with about 5km to go. i could feel the tire bottoming out and i knew that i now had to ride really fast for as long as i could before all of the air was gone from the tire. fortunately, it was almost all downhill. a couple of gearheads caught me and then the big guy in black wes on my wheel. there wasn't much for me to do but let him go by and offer a word of encouragement.
he took the win, i limped in on the wilted carcass of a tire. and so it sometimes goes in bike racing.
start of the race; the huge guy in the black golf slacks and kit is Derek. he didn't mention his last name but his girlfriend told us that he just took 4th place at the 24 hours Singlespeed World Championship held recently in B.C. that's me on the other side.
here's what it looked like at the end... and it ain't pretty. i'm just happy that Danny didn't capture one of those special "Kodak moments" showing the grime, spit and filth that was all over my face. this was the first time out of all my starts on this bike that i did not win.
Jennifer looking pensive before the start. she took 1st in her age category, 3rd overall in women's novice. the new helmet probably has a lot to do with her good result, but maybe not so much as sheer determination and aggression combined with a high strength to weight ration.
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