I could have titled this post, "Why do I need 27 gears?" Racing it SS was suggested by Coach, as I was ending as I was finishing up a pretty good block of training and she said I would be disappointed racing it geared.
Zeke and I self-shuttled, putting the "kids," Lisa and Paula, in the backseat. It was a great way for me to start. The parking lot was empty and I was able to just get on my bike and start racing. I love the every 15 second TT format.
Having selected a 32 x 22 gearing, the first flat section to the big creek crossing was a lot of spin, spin, spin, coast, coast, spin, spin, spin. But that turned out to be a good thing because it gave me a good warm up prior to the doubletrack climb.
I passed Shanna on this section and she was even "spinnier" than I. All smiles, that girl! I must mention that I run her cogs and they are sweet!
I was quickly reminded of how much climbing there is in the first section. Not as technical, but looong climbs. I spent much of the time out of the saddle and looked forward to the short downhill sections for recovery. Solo, the name I have given to my Specialized Stumpjumper SS, handled quite well. I did have to get used to the rear wheel getting kicked around a bit by the rocks on the descent, but other than that, she fared well on such rocky terrain.
Coming into the halfway point, I glanced down at my speedo and saw a time of 1:33. Could that be? No way, I thought briefly! That was the same split I had last year when I raced gears. Crazy! The volunteers at the SAG were on their game. They handed off my hydration pack to me and I rolled on.
Now the climb up Mill Creek Mtn was tough. My quads were on fire! But I was NOT GETTING OFF. Amazing what the body CAN do when it doesn't want to do the other. So I settled, sitting briefly when I had the chance. Once on top, I was able to get on the gas more. I came upon a Motor Mile SS'r and he was riding well, so I paced off of him. He got a stick caught in his wheel on the descent so I lost my buddy there, but was able to pick up another Motor Mile SS'r on the fireroad climb up to the last 7 mile technical ridge section.
A lot of racers dread this last section, but I embrace it. I always seem to be able to save a little for the end. Or perhaps it is that here I can smell the barn. I love the rocks! I pushed it pretty hard here because I knew I had a chance to win and set a PR! I must say that I did run (read walk fast) more sections on my SS, but there is no shame in that.
At about 4 miles from the finish, I felt twinges in my medial hamstrings when I was grinding up some steep climbs. Oh, crap! Not wanting to cramp, I slowed it down just a bit. Leaving the singletrack, I tucked into an aero position. Darn headwind slowed me down, but I managed to cross the finish line with a time of 3:27:51. That is only 1:16 slower than 2009's time. I could not believe it. Those who had been racing SS for awhile had told me that SS are really no slower than geared, but I did not believe it.
Kudos to Lisa, my TransRockies partner, for 2nd place and setting a PR. Mamas rock and rolled the Snake this year!
Once again, NWGA Sorba did an outstanding job with marshalling, swag, food, and prizes. Special thanks to Ginni and Diane of Mulberry Gap to providing a HUGE mound of delicious oatmeal cookies!
No Swiftwick bounty for me this year. I wonder how I would have done had I raced it geared this year. Oh well, there is always next year.
I love my SS. It brings back childhood memories of me and my many one-geared bikes!