Amesbury Cross – 49th place

Me & Tim & random Noreast supporter guy behind us

At Amesbury on Sunday, I finished 49th out of 71 riders in Cat 4. From the looks of it, maybe only 55 actually finished the race. The rest were DNF or DNS. So at a minimum, I at least beat 6 people. I took a good look at the starting line and saw no other singlespeeds. I am pretty sure I was the only one.

For what I brought to the table, I thought I did okay. I started near the front, but was swept up by half the field in what seemed like a matter of seconds. I definitely passed people during the race. But as it turns out, in time, they eventually passed me right back.

I could not have ridden harder. I was right at the limit for the entire 40 minute race.

The gearing I run seems like just enough to get up and over anything I need to get over. Sometimes its perfect and keeps me from over-spinning. But I get bogged down. In mushy grass I just mash away, doing all that I can while the geared bikes spin right on by, or at least bridge any gap I’ve created. By the time we get to solid dirt or pavement, I’m done for. For as much speed as I feel like I pick up here, the geared bikes are picking up more. As well, I am a psychological carrot for everyone behind me. I’m ahead, spinning out or coasting because there’s no sense in my pedaling, and they move in for the kill.

This is getting a little tough for me – the problem I have right now is that I know I could do better if I had better equipment. Mister Stompy weighs 22.5 pounds, which to me is really heavy for what it is. I have thought of all kinds of things I could change. I could easily get this bike under 20 pounds, as well come up with some lighter wheels that would spin up a hell of a lot faster. Not to mention a smaller frame size in general would be good. But see, now it’s a question of how far do I take this. I’m still struggling with the choice of either making Stompy into a lean, mean singlespeed cross machine, getting a smaller aluminum singlespeed machine, or getting a smaller geared cross bike. One of the above, because I know I’m better than how I finished on Sunday. But at least I finished, didn’t get lapped, didn’t get pulled off the course for being too slow, and at least I wasn’t last. Whew. More pics coming later.

Another practice race on Wednesday at UNH, then another race-for-real on Sunday in Auburn.

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