Since Christmas my life has revolved around lots of long steady miles on the bike. As fun as this may be the urge to race is sometimes too much so I found myself on the start line of the Thetford winter series round 3. I decided to ride single speed mainly due to necessity; it’s the only race worthy Mtb I own at present! I can’t wait until my garage is stocked with my new
I have been riding my single speed lots this winter, so I was more than happy to race on it. The only problem I had was what gear? I have been training on a 34-16 at endurance pace so I guessed that at race speed maybe a 14t cog at the back would suffice. Unfortunately I was particularly unorganised the week before the race and was unable to get hold of a 14t, the next best option was 13t so that had to do!
Anyway that’s enough of boring technical rubbish. I turned up at Thetford and quickly established I could turn the chosen gear with a quick lap of the car park. The Thetford series seems to be super popular, so much so that they have a series ranking based grid. As this was the first round I had entered I was at the back, bugger!
We set off at 10:30 on a relatively dry and fast course. I soon began to make my way through the field on the first sections of fire road, but then around 2 miles in I hit a bump and dropped my chain. So now I was back where I started and stuck behind slow people in the single track.
Results aren’t particularly important at this time of year so with that in mind I rode at my threshold for the first hour and a half. I soon made my way back through the field but had no idea what position I was in, but that didn’t matter because it was fun!
After about 2h I eased back conscious not to ride too hard in these early races. Some sections of the course began to get a bit draggy in the latter part of the race but thankfully I have spent plenty of time with single speeders so was familiar with the single speed gurn pedalling technique i.e. pull really hard on the bars and push really hard with the legs in a slow motion manner.
With around 3 laps remaining I caught the 4th place rider was seemed to have given up. He hadn’t given up enough to sit on my wheel though! So I cruised around with him for the rest of the race unable to drop him as he just whacked it in the big ring on the fire road while I span franticly.
Coming into the last lap it looked like I may be on for my first ever sprint finish in a Mtb race. I tried my best to break away on the draggier sections but it wasn’t going to happen. The sprint for 4th was a formality, I span out: he won!
All in all it was a pleasing race. 5th place on a single speed with nothing more than steady miles in my legs is an encouraging start to the year. Now I’m going back into hiding until the spring!
Also I forgot to mention I'm doing the twitter thing now @j_ibbett if you want to see some random ramblings!