So it’s been quiet on the blog from my race reports and there’s a few reasons for that. First, Jemma’s been crushing it at San Felasco and Snow Hill, getting on the podium at both her first and second races, so I know you all have enjoyed hearing all about that. Also, after the Markham “race” ended a bit early for me, I decided to try something different for the rest of the season: Singlespeed. I have a Trek Superfly SS that I love to ride for training rides on single track, and I decided that might be a nice change of pace for the rest of the FSC season. I brought it out to San Felasco and despite being the only guy with no suspension on the line, I was able to snag 4th place in a pretty tough field with CAT1 racers. The racers in Singlespeed were all strong and tough and with the extra lap versus racing XC3 I felt like I’d found a place to finish out the FSC season. Unfortunately I made the decision too late in the season to gather points, but I could shoot for improvement each race and see what happens.
I took the SS out to the Snow Hill race and added a Reba RCT3 fork for a little extra comfort. I was sitting in the 2nd group and feeling good at the beginning of lap 2, but unfortunately I burped all the air out of my tire. After breaking my CO2 inflator trying to fill it, I limped back to the finish line and called it a day with a DNF.
This season has been a season of learning, and so I took the lessons I’ve learned to Lakeland last weekend to race at Carter Road. I had raced my first FLE race there almost a year ago, so I knew how tough and technical the terrain was there. Fortunately for me, the course for FSC was a much less demanding course, because walking a single speed bike up and down big jumps and drops is no fun. Because of the holiday weekend the attendance was a bit lighter than normal, so when just 3 of us Singlespeeders lined up at the start I knew my chances at a podium were looking pretty good.
Right out of the gate I sprinted for the first 100m of the half mile dirt road warmup before the singletrack started. Shaw (the series points leader) joked that he thought my pace was good as he tucked behind me at 20mph+. Knowing I couldn’t sustain that, I backed off and we cruised down the road together. I told him I wanted to keep him in sight as long as possible; that was about 10 minutes at San Felasco. At Carter Road, it ended up being about 5 minutes and he was gone. My goal for the day was to race my best, keep it rubber side down and push strong to the finish. Even though I was mostly by myself for the race, I had some of the leaders from classes behind starting to pass me, and I was catching some of the Expert racers ahead of me, so I was on track for a good day.
The course was really tough and I saw some bad luck befall racers, from moss getting caught up in deraileurs, sticks breaking cranksets, and pedal strikes throwing riders into the ground and breaking bones, it was a tough day for many out there.
Check out this amazing video shot by Riders Only of the two race leaders passing in a tight spot! Pretty amazing moment! The grit and determination for the guys and girls to dust themselves off, get back on the bike, and chase the competition is always so inspirational to see. Racing bikes makes you dig a little deeper and teaches you about perserverence in the face of adversity, which pays off in so many other areas of life. At the end of the day I was able to click off 3 consistent laps and finish in 2nd place. While it was my first podium in the FSC series, I’m looking forward to competing against the entire field at the final 2 races of the season. If you’re thinking about racing Singlespeed: Do it! It’s lots of fun, but it takes a special kind of crazy. The group of guys racing singlespeed are great competitors and push each other to do better each race. Maybe I’ll stick with this class for next season?
Jemma had a great time catching everyone racing, as she was like, “Awh, hell nah!” when it came to whether she’d be racing or not. We really hope you enjoy them, check out the full FSC #7 gallery and sneak peek below!