Race Report: WEMS Northern Kettles
Allow me to quickly apologize – so much has happened in the last month I should’ve been posting every day! I’ll leave that to the backlog of posts that I shall inundate you with. First one, however, shall relate to events most recent!
On Saturday was my first race of the year – 12 Hours of the Northern Kettles First race on a singlespeed too. Temps were in the 80s, it was HUMID!!! Rain from the day before kept the course with a slick layer of mud on top of things in the beginning, the rocks that composed most of the course were super slippery. I had a blast.
Raced the 6 hour solo race. There isn’t a separate category for singlespeed riders, and in WEMS there is no differentiation among riders based on categories/skill. It’s you vs. everyone, vs. yourself. Makes for some good times!
In the 6 hours I was able to get in 6 laps. Went out on an impromptu night out on the town before the race, and ended up staying out till … 3 am after a few irish car bombs, some vodka, some very excellent flair at Madison’s. The first lap was a great way to sweat out the hangover.
First two laps were fairly wet, lots of slip sliding around. Anyone running any kind of semi-slick tyre wasn’t able to get traction judging from all the mud on their bikes, themselves, and the indentations in the ground. It definitely got better as the day went on though. 6 hours is a long time to ride a bike. Not just ride either, ride at an accelerated pace. Lots of things happen, most of them are mental. Hour one was great. Hour two still going strong. Things usually start breaking down at hour 3. You know that you would’ve finished if you had just done the 3 hour race, body starts aching, you don’t know if you can steer properly, lines get messy, and you’ve hit your 7th or 8th wind at that point.
Hour 4 is just ticking away at the pedals. Hour 5 you see the light at end of the tunnel. That last lap, finishing before the 6 hour mark you are either soft-pedaling because you know you won’t be able to get in another lap after you finish this one, or you are burning every last bit of wick you have left to explode in a supernova or blaze and glory to make it in by 5:59:59 so your lap counts.
Ran a 34×18 for my gearing, probably going to do a 34×19 from here on out for flat courses. Being able to spin would’ve helped a bit at the end of the race. I had to take a couple breaks for food in the middle, and had a big issue with an extremely painful blister that formed on my left palm. Almost pulled out because of it. Kept on for 3 laps after that though, finding odd ways to brake and hold onto the bars. My new gloves just didn’t work like I had hoped.
Finished at the 5:16:59 mark. Final lap was 10 minutes faster than my previous two. Had I not taken such a long “lunch” break to eat and sort out my hand I would’ve been able to fit in a 7th lap … I think. The singlespeed definitely adds in a bit of difficulty. Have to go fast, even though you’re trying not to. It’s quite an interesting paradox.
My final place put me at 19 out of 31 riders. I feel rather good about that. It was a lot better than I had thought – my training has been steady. After last season’s CX series I had excellent form. I was able to keep that through the Winter, and have been riding as much as I can via commuting and fun rides/training this spring. This has been weird … Usually there’s some injury, some month off, some reason that puts a big hold on my fitness. It hasn’t come this year (yet?) so I’m entering things feeling fantastic. The bike is working amazingly, my mental stability for racing is there, I’m really looking forward to continuing building on this and really doing some great things this year.
Next race is WORS as it turns out with a scheduling random chance. I’m stoked. Singlespeed at Nine Mile.
Now to just try and fit some more training in all these 50-hour weeks! Long post … I should’ve just summed it up with, “Had a sweet race. It was long, difficult, and came away with a smile.”
But then it wouldn’t sound like I wrote it then, eh? ;D