Strathclyde SingleSpeed

Round 3 of Scottish Cyclocross Series.

6.11.16 Strathclyde Park.

After crashing out at HalloX and breaking my gear shifter,  things took a drastic turn.  I ripped off the broken Sram lever and gears, turning the bike from 1×10 into a single speed. Oh, what have I done?

Strathclyde was a week after HalloX, so I wasn’t sure I would have parts in time and also my home mechanic skills would be put to the test to see if it held together under the pressure of racing.

I arrive super early and see the last few laps of the women and junior race.  The numbers of women riders have made it big field and meriting its own race.

Quite enjoy the calmness of being early for a change, it means I get to cheer on the racers in the V50 and V40 races.  It’s also a chance to see the lines the riders take in some areas of the course.

Head back to the car and get sorted and take the spare bike up to the pit.  Now it’s time to see if my Felt will last the race as I head over to the bullpen at the start area and complete a few laps to keep warm.
Big boys getting gridded, so the time to fill the gaps is upon us.  Still hanging on the back of the pack,  I really need to get in quicker and move up the field. This is my easiest way to gain some positions.

We are set loose by the sound of the whistle, racing over a wide grass area for the mayhem for the hole shot.   This has been a good change to the course, as last year it was like racing over the surface of the moon along the carpark and through a gate to the soggy grass beyond.

Still near the rear of the group, as I approach the Red Blaze Climb,  I have been thinking about this since I whipped off the gears.  I really thought I would struggle and have to run it.  Low and behold I cycling it!  Not only that, I am actuality passing people.  If I had gears, I would be spinning up on my highest and not getting anywhere fast. This was a huge surprise for me.

With the major worry over time to ride a welcome downhill taking you to the next obstacle, Bridge Climb.

Off the bike and run the left side of the trees, it wasn’t until I seen some pictures that people were riding this part. Mental! Maybe next year I’ll give it a go.

The bike is still holding out well, and it’s time to ride the wooded section.  I lose time on this part as I spin out of gear on some parts,  I just have to try and gain it back by keeping my speed into corners and attacking the hills.
The bomb hole is another favourite part of this course,  keep left on it to avoid the tree and roots then it shoots you out and swings down to the carpark gravel and past the pits.

Past Jammy and his pondering of where the name Two Wheel Army came from being spoken over the PA System, I take my first lap.

Now onto the grass section, with 500 riders on the course before us, this has taken a beating and getting cut up badly. The advice was to run it as it’s maybe quicker. Manage to ride half of it and grind to a halt.  So off I go with bike firmly placed on my shoulder.

A few more twist and turns and it’s back off running over some tree roots and seeing the base of the Red Blaze Climb rear its ugly head. Nooooooooo, not looking forward to this part again.

My plan is to ride as much of it as I can, then run the rest. Surprised again, I manage to ride the full length of the brute.  In the end, I manage to ride it 5 out of the 7 times. The last two I don’t even attempt it, I’m off and slow running to the top, my legs could do with those extra gears now!

In the end, I complete my goal of riding the full hour, on one bike and having no dramas or crashes.

I managed to get the same position as my start number, 62. Hopefully next race I get a low number and can match that number too.

Next round is Fife College CX in Dunfermline. Not having raced this course, I hope it’s single speed friendly.

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