I must admit it is nice to do something different every once in awhile. Since the last Mingo RR on 04/19/2009, I have been riding my single speed mtn bike exclusively. I have a big 36x16 gear on it, with wide 29er tires and just ride it everywhere both on or off road. This past week I finally decided to do something different and ride my road bike again, so that I could get use to it before doing the Tucker County RR in WV. All I can say is WOW! The change from a single speed 29er to a fast and light road bike is absolutely amazing. It was like going from a beat-up 1973 Pinto to a Ferrari.
So, I spent the whole week riding my road bike and the first thing I notice is that my normal rides were way too short to get the time I needed on the saddle. I kept looking at my watch and trying to figure out where to go next because I was way under my normal 29er ride time, but already done with the same route. The other thing I noticed was how nice it was to change to an easier gear when going up a big climb. On my road bike, I did not have to "man up" and keep pushing a gear that probably should not be used for going up a hill. I forgot that climbing could be done easily...I guess that is why gears were invented in the first place.
Anyway, the Tucker County RR did go well for me and my hairy legs. I did the 40+ Master Race again, since I am not a roadie and did not feel like battling a bunch of Cat 1/2 riders all day. After doing a lap on the course, I was very thankful of my decision because it was one tough course loop. The last climb to the finish is probably one of the most difficult road race climbs that I have ever experienced. On one section, with my low gear of 36x23, I actually had to serpentine the climb to keep my gear turning. I could not have asked for a better designed course for me, though, because it definitely suited my climbing ability.
The race course was a lollipop type of design. We all started at the base of the last climb, rode a few rolling miles out to the main loop, did a very hilly main loop and then rode back up the stick of the lollipop, past the starting line to the top of the big climb where the windmills from the picture above were located. I was able to get clear from my race group on the first major climb on the main loop and then basically did a 35 mile solo time trial to the finish. The course pretty much destroyed every race pack out there, leaving riders to fend for themselves, pretty much like a mtn bike race and definitely the way I like it. At the end of my 37 mile race, or should I say time trial, I finish first in my class.
Well, enough for change and gears for that matter. Time to get back on the single speed and to start feeling the pain again. Today I am going to do a 4-5 hour single speed ride up at Seven Springs, then over to Hidden Valley and then back to home. It will hurt, but pain is good...Right? Happy Trails, Gerry