Monday, July 03, 2006

Race Report: Colorado Single Speed Championships

Still in a haze from our trip to Quebec and the following three days on the road for my work, Sandi & I loaded up the van once more and headed out to the Colorado Single Speed Championships in Eldora, part of the Eldora Escape, Mountain States Cup Series. On the line, Womens & Mens Single Speed titles, gold medals and plenty o'schwag. This time it was funny, we had only one bike, my single speed.

After camping in the van over night, we awoke early as Sandi would start early at 8:30am. It was definitely quality over quantity for the womens race, with defending champ Kara Durland, World & National Champ Christina Begy and Catherine Gruener-Goss lining up w/ Sandi to vie for the title. Kara took off fast and set the early pace, but would soon drop back to third as Sandi and Begy set off up the hill. Sandi grabbed the lead, and would not be challenged. Looking strong and smooth, Sandi went from a 2 min plus first lap lead, to a 5 min second lap lead and eventually winning over Begy by nearly 8 minutes, and Kara in third one minute back of Begy.

It was Sandi's real first ride on a single speed, and she really enjoyed it, maybe we will see more of her in the 1x1 class???

After raising the seat, and a couple of other small modifications, my ride known as the "magic bike" by fellow single speeder Dan Durland, was ready for round two. While warming up, I mingled a bit w/ my fellow single speeders, it was awesome to see so many out for this race. 24 of us would line up to contend for this years title, some very strong legs and lungs. Fellow IF brothers Jon "Rocco" Caligno and Dusty Labarr were on hand, along with usual suspects and some new contenders.

Props have to go out to Thane Wright and Warriors Cycling for putting this event on, and giving us the #1 plate instead of the pros. I was especially proud to have this plate and equally as nervous to defend it. I knew other riders really wanted it, but I was only concerned with one rider, myself.

Off the start, I grabbed the holeshot, leading the pack out onto the first climb, Colin McKernan ( afterwards called my strategy, make everyone else race me. Not setting a super hard pace up the climb, I pushed just hard enough to stretch out the field to see who the contenders and pretenders were. A group of about 5 of us broke off the front, as we hit the woods. Through the endulating double track, I kept everyone honest with my pace, until we hit the steep climb to the top of the course for the first time. I was out of the saddle pushing hard, and then it was only Colin and Tim Graczyk in tow. Gapping those two a little, I had a small breathing space going over the top. I was a little scetched out the first time down the descent having not preridden, and not remembering the line, but still maintained my lead. Tim would work his way back to me as we went through the start/ finish. I think Colin was still in it not too far back, but would eventually pull out. Too bad, 'cause he looked strong early on and could have been a contender.

Going back out on the second lap, I forced Tim into the lead to have a look at him and see what kind of hand he was holding. His climbing was not as fast as I wanted to go, so I lept past him with an easy surge, and never saw him again. Tim would fade to 8th place. I felt pressure the whole race, never opening a huge gap, but kept the hammer down. I turned pretty consistant laps, around :30 min for each revolution. Diging in on the climbs, no brakes on the descents, and keeping the pace up on the flats. On our fourth and final loop, the skies opened up with a bit of rain and hail. This in effect iced my legs, opening them up for my final push to the line, although it did make for some tricky navigation through the slick muddy sections and roots.

Charging into the finish, I was warmly greeted by everyone as I claimed my second consecutive Colorado Single Speed title. Kris Lathrop nabbed second from Dusty on the last lap, who rounded out the podium. The three of us were schwagged out by 180, Dale's Ale, Left Hand Brewery and SpotBrand. Huge thanks to IF, Reynolds, FOX, DT Swiss, Magura, Titec, Thomson, Hutchinson, Troy Lee Desings, Giro, Smith, CliBar, Fizik, Squadra, Chris King, White Industries, Phil Wood, and Crested Butte Mountain resort for your great support, could not do it w/ out you.


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