Dejay and I made our way to the Sierras to learn the course and rest up a full week early. Which was good because it took forever to get there, with pulling the trailer on the super curvy and steep roads that were littered with cows that were trying to block the road(so we wouldn't find bigfoot).
Eventually we made it and we able to ride about 85 miles of the course, and get a good idea of what was to come. The area was beautiful, great views, big mountains and deep canyons(we stopped on the way out for 20 minutes because the van brakes were smoking). Unfortunately for the 270 riders that registered for the event the promoter had to change course and it ended up being 100 miles of fire road(a few feet were kinda narrow), it was a little boring but it was over quicker even with about 14,000' of climbing, most of it rideable. Along with being amazingly beautiful the area was so isolated I really had time to focus and get ready for the race.
We went back into town on Tuesday to get the supplies we needed to make it through the weekend(we thought). lots of food, propane movies and did our last bit of internet/email action before we went back to the woods. We didn’t realize we were out of shot bloks and only had two tubes.
All the usual suspects showed up for the start plus a few others, Harlan Price, the trek crew(Chris Eatough, Jeff Schalk, and Jeremiah Bishiop), Evan plews, Tinker, Josh Tostado, Mark Santubane, and single speeders Dez, Conrad, Tom, Rich, Dejay of course, Yuri and a few other fast ones that I didn't get to meet. For some reason this was the slowest start of any race in the series(that I have done), even those with a controlled start! it was super mellow for a little more than a mile, then the pace started to increase to where I'm sure some people were dropped but not many. At one point while after the pace picked up someone said something to the effect of what is that singlespeeder doing up here in the front, I usually ignore things like that and let my riding show them. But Jeremiah bishop chimed in and said something like “that's Fuzzy he's got the super cadence”. The short track and marathon national champion saying something like that about will always give you a little boost. Maybe that’s why when we hit the bottom of the first climb the whole field went back to taking it easy, and before I knew it I was a few hundred yards or more in front of everyone else. After I realized that I had a gap I did my best to settle into a groove and ride my race, but it was kind of exciting being off the front of that group.
Two miles into the climb the big eight bridged the gap and we(Harlan, Chris, Jeff, Jeremiah, Tinker, Mark, Josh, Evan and I)rode together for another two miles. A mile or so before the top Harlan threw in a little surge and I decided I didn’t want to go any harder and kept my pace going, and would settle for 9th place overall again(the third time in a row…). I thought I could never catch these guys. But I kept my pace high to make sure no others would catch me. I had Jim Hewitt not to far back on the first climb and a few others were close I’m sure.
In the long run, it was probably best that I let them go, at least my lungs thought so. It was so dusty, being a minute behind the lead group on the first descent it was even thick in a few corners. Then for about 5 miles the dust was gone and I could breath again, I was now at about mile 18 and been on my own for 11 miles when the dust began to get thick again, I thought to myself, am I catching the leaders? But it was just Jeff, who had suffered a bad crash and was limping his way back to the start/finish.
this is how bad the dust was...
I’ll take it, I’m going for eighth now just a bit more motivation to keep the pace high. I was up and over the next climb and on my way down to the bottom of the second long climb when I passed Tinker on the side with a flat or something, I was now up to seventh place. Go, Go, Go!!! This could be my best finish ever with this deep of a field.
23 miles down, and sitting in 7th place, there was a long way to go, and a lot of false flat fire roads with some big climbs toward the end. I kept repeating my mantra, ate my Cytomax gels(vanilla) kept hydrated and talked to myself a bunch for the next 5+ hours as I never saw another racer. I crossed the finish line in 7h 45m 54s about 44 minutes behind Jeremiah and Chris who tied. Some how Josh T. missed a turn and I slipped up to 6th overall, but only five minutes ahead of Dez the second place singlespeeder.
This was my second win of the series and with my two second place finishes I won the NUE singlespeed Category and am the 2008 national SS champion.
Just a quick thanks to Cytomax for getting me gels and drink so fast and making sure I was prepared for the race. To Niner, Dt Swiss, Stan’s no tubes, Ergon, Kenda, Chris King, Shoair and all my other sponsors that keep me and my bikes rolling so fast!
This one was for you all.