First race of the season loomed. I was waiting for my new bike to show up. It was not looking good. The Nishiki was having issues in the bottom bracket. I took it into a LBS who was only able to extract one side of the bottom bracket. They replaced the races and bearings and greased them up well. All in all I rode out of there feeling pretty good about how it was feeling. Still not solid but better than it had been in a long time. I went for a ride with a buddy an the Hydro-Cut in Kitchener Tuesday night. Rode well but about 3/4 of the way through I could hear the races crushing. That is not a good sound. I called my friends shop where I await my new Kona Unit and no luck. A mis-shipment had put it in the wrong city with no chance of it arriving on time. After I explained my plight he offered up his Kona Explosif singlespeed for the race.
Super excited with this bike with more bike bling than I have ever ridden I took it out for Saturday's pre-ride in Mansfield. It was just amazing. It handled well and rolled fast. It was my first time riding Tubeless as well as my first time with a Rotor-Q-Ring. Not sure if it is my training, the q ring, or the grippy Geax Saguaro running tubeless but all climbs were attainable in the 38x20 gearing. I was feeling good about the race. I wanted to ride the loop all day but decided it was better for me to rest. Back to the in-laws to hang out with my kid's and deal with my weird pre-race day eating habits.
Sunday was race day. Woke up early and ate my Yogurt, Strawberries, and Granola and a couple of my Mother in law's homemade energy bars. Got my e-load all ready and prepared myself. Showed up at Mansfield about an hour before the race to clear the butterflies and warm up. I was feeling good, watching to see who else was racing Singlespeed this year. Some amazing new Misfit Psycles Dissent Fe as well as a nice Vassago Jabberwoky provided some nice eye candy. A couple guys had a Misfit weigh off and from what I could tell the Dissent Al came in a hair lighter than the Fe in their current configuration.
Race time, we all lined up and chatted a bit more. I met a couple people and then we got the closest thing to a race face on and waited for the horn. We were off. I decided not to kill the first hill like last year as in the end it killed me. A few people passed going up. A long stretch of double track had me watching all of these 29ers roll past me while I was spinning like crazy to try to keep up. Once in the singletrack things started to look good. I moved up the field to find my comfortable pace. I took a header in a small technical downhill and fell back 2 places while still in the first lap. After passing these guys and a couple of guys from one of the Sport Male categories I was back where I was before. I had 2 guys in my sights that I wanted to catch as they were just a little ways in front of me when I bailed. It took me until half way through the second lap to make my pass on an uphill. Shortly after passing the first I was able to pass the second rider. Getting closer to the end of the second lap we were starting to catch up to slower riders from other categories. Made quite a few passes when they were available and rode out the rest of the race without incident. All in all I ended up in 9th place which I was very happy with after bonking last year and finishing 25th.
It was a great time and I can't wait for my race. Next up for me is the Mansfield Spring Epic 8 Hour. As in the past 3 years I will be running this race tag team with Paul. Should be on my new bike by then.
New things on the shopping/wish list after riding Brad's bike: Rotor-Q-Ring, Bar Ends for powering up climbs. If you are ever in/near Orangeville Ontario and need a great LBS look up The Epic Ride. Amazing people amazing customer service!
Closing, I had an amazing time at this race and just want to ride some more!
That's it for now... I'm out...