cannock chase Single Speed racing

cannock SS race by rOcKeTdOgUk
cannock SS race, a photo by rOcKeTdOgUk on Flickr.

despite the disappointment of Mountain Mayhem I’ve sort of caught the bug of racing and I spotted this little race at Cannock Chase. i suggested to Dan that it would be good as there was a fun category which would have been ideal and not to serious, the emphasis being on having a good time rather than head down racing. Dan though had other ideas and said he’d like to do it in the Singlespeed class, so with quite a bit of trepidation I agreed.
If you have read the last few posts on my blog you’d have noticed that a lot of the mountain bike rides i’ve done recently have been on a single speed, this was to get my legs used to having only one gear to push and i was fairly happy at how i was going.
however, two days before the race on friday evening i started to get a really sore throat a sure sign that i was about to contract a cold, typical!
Sunday race day came around and sure enough i was feeling really below par. its a good job there was no drug test at this race as i was dosed up to the eyeballs with paracetamol to try and ward off the symptoms, but i was still suffering from head ache, blocked sinus and a general feeling of lethargy but as i jokingly said to our Director Sportive Mikey, “the team comes first” and anyway he had been kind enough to send Dan and I our new team jerseys in time for the event so after about an hours delay we lined up on the start line.
Today was the hottest day of the year so far, temperatures were pushing 29℃ degrees which was welcome compared to wet and cold but not great for me as i was running a bit of a temperature. We were joined on the line by the fat bike class (the eventual winner of our class was riding a 9zero7 single speed fat bike!) including a couple on a half fat tandem. the start hooter went and in a cloud of dust (its great to be able to say that) we sprinted off the line, around the arena, down and up a small bomb hole and then into the singletrack. Cannock is known for its tightly packed trees and this course was typical of that, at times my 740mm bars barely scraped through and both Dan and i got limn injuries where we hit trees, there wasn’t a whole lot of climbing on the course but because of the nature of the narrow twistiness it was hard to keep momentum on the downs to give you a boost up the climbs which is essential on a singlespeed but on the whole i think the course was good. A recce lap will definitely be done next time as riding it blind caught my out a couple of times, once on a blind right hander that turned up onto a concrete slab that i wasn’t expecting and also at the other bomb hole that was sign posted ” technical” or “easy”. for a singlespeed “technical” was the way to go as it allowed you some speed to get up the other side of the hole whereas the “easy” route just dumped you out at right angles to the up slope with no hope of climbing out other than on foot. 1st lap i took the hard route, 2nd lap i thought i’d try the other and wished i hadn’t. i passed one guy about 1/4 of the way into the 1st lap and he kept saying ” i’m pulling out, i’m pulling out, i can’t do this” i think because the fun category was full he had entered the elite one that had started a few minutes ahead of the singlespeeders and was out of his depth, i told hime to just ride his own race and try to dig in as i passed him. my second lap felt a lot better than my first but i knew my time was up as i got lapped by the leader and @terrahawk on their fatties and sure enough as i crossed the line at the end of my lap i was told not to do another. Dan managed to stay head and did the full 3 laps.
So another race another disappointment but i can’t be too unhappy because as i write this the day after I’m off work with an absolute stinker of a cold, proper manflu type with a temperature and everything, so in hindsight maybe racing wasn’t such a good idea, but i enjoyed it and met some old friends and made some new ones
ride 81
7 miles
total 1653
july 7
commute 797

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