This past weekend, I did my first race of the season. It was held at Bloomer Park in Rochester Hills, and was a Cross Country format. This meant that I would be doing 3 laps of roughly 6 miles apiece.
The forecast for rain in the days leading up to the race meant that I was a fence-sitter. Also, I had swapped out my usual Ignitor/Smallblock 8 tire combination for some slower, but grippier in the mud, Kenda Klaws. The rain didn't quite materialize (some showers), but the tires stayed on. There were a few muddy spots that I noted on my pre-ride earlier in the week, and I decided that I would appreciate the extra grip.
I arrived a couple hours prior to my start time, registered, and met up with the team. Some time was spent just hanging out, and then we headed out to do our respective warm-ups. My start time approached, and I found my way to the starting line. I took my spot in the 2nd row (Expert/Elite guys were on the front row), and briefly took note of who was racing that day.
A blast of a whistle, and we were off. I found myself 3rd wheel in my class, behind Mark from the Mysinglespeed.com racing team, and Tim from Macomb Bike, while the Expert riders gradually pulled ahead. We stayed this way through the first half lap, running fast and hard through the early singletrack, down the switchbacks, and along the ridge trail. This dumped us (via a 180 degree turn) onto a long straight section. I was feeling good and strong, and decided to pass Tim. Over the next mile, I put some distance between Tim and myself.
After 5 miles, on a rough downhill, I got on the brakes way too hard. In hindsight I think this is because I remembered there was a slight reroute at the bottom due to mud. My bike started bucking, and after a brief fight, I hit the ground hard. In a haze I pulled my bike off the trail, and sat for a minute and a half, as I watched numerous riders pass by (Tim, Mark from Cycletherapy, and a couple others in my class).
After realizing that I wasn't busted up badly (no bike damage, some trail rash, and most of the cobwebs significantly cleared from my head), I got back on the bike and vowed to continue. I was able to get back up to speed rather quickly, and a quick glance at the clock on my way through the start/finish line made me realize I wasn't in horrible shape. My second lap proceeded very fast, as I attempted to reel in the other riders who had passed. Although I didn't catch anyone that lap, I did turn a fast lap and made up ground. Early in my third lap, I caught one of the other riders in my class (SWEET... I won't be DFL). A short while later I caught (in order) Tim, Mark, and Cary (who was racing Expert/Elite). I continued to ride hard attempting to put distance between them and myself. It worked, as they never caught back up.
After I rolled across the finish line, my teammate Todd informed me that only a handful of singlespeeders crossed the line before me. A good sign. About a half hour later, the preliminary results were posted, and I found out that I finished 3rd in my class!
Singlespeed Class Results (click to enlarge)
Sport/Beginner Singlespeed Podium
Here are a few videos from the race:
Video courtesy of Duke at Mysinglespeed.com
Expert/Elite geared classes
Video courtesy of Masher's Media
Sport/Beginner classes, including Singlespeed
Video courtesy of Masher's Media