Was ace. My perfect lead up to the event started falling apart 3 weeks before with a cold. I got rid of it reasonably quickly but haven’t felt “right” since. Ah well not to worry as Joe pulled out of our bet the week of the event as he was expecting to be exceedingly over the limit and probably unable to drag himself out of bed on the morning of the event from a house warming party so we shelved the annual singlespeed bet for later in the year.
As luck would have it I’d just ordered a 17T EAI fixed cog from Will so I could go fixed after the race for a while. Instead I went fixed for the event. Now I’ve only ever ridden fixed offroad in the depths of winter where speeds are low and mud is plentiful. I ride a bit of road on a fixed and have no problems doing it. Lovely on the flat and undulating on the road but the big moor ups and downs are just a PITA. Offroad it’s lovely on the big ups and technical downs and fine on the flat in winter due to the general slowness of progression through the sloppy stuff. Fast downhills are hilarious and can get out of control quite quickly :0)
Saturday saw us arriving early afternoon after a quick spin into town to make sure the cog stayed in position as the previous incarnation of the EAI sprocket needed a spacer to get the lockring snug on the Surly hub, no such issues this time. We pottered round some of Hamsterley with Jon, Judith and Saul being pulled along by Jon on his singlespeed. He didn’t even look like the big hills were causing him a problem and Saul loved the one wheel antics that Jon never noticed were happening.
As I was still taking the race seriously we at a load of pizza had a couple of pints and went to bed at a reasonable hour. Not that I’m able to stay up past 11pm normally.
Race day found me lining up with “THEM” to do the run and get heckled by “US” but then I was running the No1 plate, due to looking at my email just as Andy was sending out the signing up info.
The start went well. I didn’t sprint off like a madman and stole a few places on the muddy singletrack but on the main climb my stomach decided it wasn’t very happy. This led to getting passed by a fair few people. 2.5 miles of torture, bearing in mind I hadn’t got round to preriding the course, the first downhill was a fast fireroad which I managed to pass someone on!!! Into the steep start of the singletrack and I found my fixed descending skills and kept pace with the people in front of me. Only hopped off on the wall section due to riders fannying about. Past Bec who had been cajoled into marshalling by T at the stream crossing and off we went spinning like a loon along the fireroad. Most of the photographers were lurking on the final descent which had a nice tricky, when you can’t stop peddaling, gully. 2 more laps of hurt, pain and walking up the main climb and I was pretty sure I was leading fixed rider still, I got passed by 29er hater Nick ;0) with half a mile to go but there was no way I could make my 55″ gear pay on the fireroad and spin fast enough as my legs were burgered. Happy to finish but not happy with feeling so rubbish most of the way round. Ah well next time.
Meanie course profile. That was hard Phil.
Still I won MY prize :0) for first fixy winner supplied by Hub Jub
Some scottish international ringer won the main event with 2 beardy guys filling out the top 3. Results may turn up one day but the important thing to come out of all this is
I’M NATIONAL CHAMPION.
Thanks to Phil and family for loads of work on the race and Andy and T and Raoul and the marshals etc etc etc. It’s a thankless job and I’ve done my stint back in the late nineties.
John the Baptiste video of the event here.
The official photoset http://ssuk2006.com/pictures/. Or rather everyones stuff that is on Flickr.
And a thanks to my fixy
sponsor supplier Hub Jub thanks to whom I now need to buy a matching front hub, the disc unit that’s coming out, a few different size sprokets and ahem the forthcoming freewheel unit for the Level hub ;0)