The weather on Saturday started at about 45 degrees and warmed up during the race to about 65 degrees, ideal for the first Single Speed race of the season in theMcDowellMountains,Scottsdale,AZ. I got up early and did my pre-race ritual drinking some black coffee, poached eggs on dry toast, taking some Xtreme Endurance supplements and preparing the nutrition for the warm up and race.
When I got to the venue, got in line to get my number plate for the season then headed back to the AZ Devo tent to spin on the trainer. The Arizona Devo team of Juniors is a future of MTB racing in AZ and the country. They have sent a couple juniors to Worlds and countless USA Cycling development selection camps over the past several years in MTB and Cyclocross including Ryan Geiger, Cypress Gorry and Tyler Coplea.
I got my Stelvio set up on the trainer and was spinning with 1 hour before race time. I warmed up Level 2 for 20 min, level 3 for 10 min then did intervals with 10 minutes before race time. I got to the line just on time and rolled up to the front talking to the fellaz I was racing against. I asked about starting in front and got some guff from Tom Ament but I knew he was just giving me grief and really didn’t care I placed myself in the front row. With a minute to go, Mike Melley with Hub Productions, came up and marked my calf, something I really wasn’t concerned about but being the consummate promoter, he wanted to make sure I was all marked up.
GO!!! The 30mi XC race was under way! When we hit the singletrack about 100 yards into the race, the selection had been made. I mixed in the 6 guys including Shawn Gregory, CO (2010 24hr Old Pueblo SS Solo winner), Tom Ament (previous Whiskey 50 SS winner) and Kaolin Cummens ( local badass and MY partner in 24hrs Old Pueblo next month). I knew I was in a good position knowing that we had a gap from the other talent I knew we were racing against. You see, I’m like a diesel truck, long distance being my strong suit but I figured I should get out and race some shorter 30mi fast XC races to prep for the endurance season.
I quickly moved past Shawn wondering if he was giving it his all and didn’t want him fading back and dragging me with him if he was just prepping for OP next month…after the race, I confirmed that he was really racing but the fast start had taken it’s toll. I settled in 3rd place through the first lap then my legs started feeling heavy. I had done this course at the 24hrs of Fury in December and ran a 32×18 on my Marin Team Ti for 187 miles without fail so I figured, ehh I’ll throw on a 32×17 for a 30mi race, had to be fast? Nope. There is a point in singlespeed racing that you can’t just gear down just because you feel good, you have to stick with what you know from the past mixed with how you feel at the moment. I have been lifting a lot of weights and mixing in some running so my legs really weren’t ready for the fast start either.
Ultimately I faded back to 5th and settled in. I thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful weather and the competition in our category (27 SS racers) was fierce. I am please for the 5th place at this point in the year and having not raced XC since I have been focusing on 12hr and longer races in the past year. If you are looking for an early season race series, hit up MBAA.NET and consider coming to AZ to make a training camp of it and race some of AZ’s finest.