One Gear Speedster

Saturday meant nothing for me - just ride my bike, recover from the crit and get ready to race again on Sunday. It also meant that it was Nick's turn to race. He was racing the 25 (more like 30) Proof on his Singlespeed. With this being our first year at the Whiskey, we had no clue what to expect come Saturday morning. We'd both heard stories of traffic jams on singletrack and other nightmares, but never really quite belived them. I was planning on riding up the road, taking some photos in a few spots, then waiting for Nick to give him a bottle at the top. All easy riding and a good way to get out of the hotel for a while. We rolled down the start about 8:30 - for a 9:30 race... We both figured there would be plenty of time for Nick to do what he needed, pedal around to warm up for a bit, and be able to get a decent spot on the line.

The town of Prescott rolled out the welcome mat for all racers.
Well, we were so wrong about that one! The line was already full and the road packed with riders at 8:45. We both stared in shock at the number of people just standing, waiting. I said goodbye to Nick, wished him luck and started my easy pedal up the hill to my first photo site. I hoped Nick would be able to get a decent line up, other wise, his race would be much harder then it needed to be. I waited about 20 minutes at the turn off Copper Basin Road, then the leaders came flying through. Three riders in a tight pack, followed shortly after by another large group. No Nick yet. So far, all the riders were geared. I was trying to count but there were too many. Finally, Nick came spinning up the hill and made the right turn. I cheered and took a few photos. Thought about it a little late, well after he'd made the turn, but hollered after him that he was the first SS rider thru. But he was already gone, into the woods.

All alone turning off the road 
Off to the next spot, where the single track crossed Copper Basin Rd. I left as soon as Nick made the turn since I wanted to make sure I saw the first 25 proof racer go by. It didn't take me too long to ride up there. A small crowd had gathered so finding a parking space was a little harder. I wanted to be near my bike but also out of the way. Then the first riders came blazing thru - same three riders. They had pulled open the gap to the next group, which had broken up some. Another little gap and suddenly Nick appeared. Wow! He'd moved up huge in the last few miles! I was totally unprepared - hadn't counted riders or anything. Even one of the other spectators who was riding up the road commented on how well Nick was doing. Then the racers vanished into the unknown single track.

Nick flying out of the woods, looking for some more singletrack
I would see Nick again at the junction of Thumb Butte Rd and Copper Basin Rd. I was going to give him his second bottle at that point. Once I reached the junction, I decided to ride up the hill just a little. I wanted a nice flat spot since Nick was on his single speed. The 50 proof riders were trickling up the road - all looking shelled. Uh oh - what was I in for tomorrow? After watching the 50 single speeders trudging up the hill, I was sure I was in a good place - even if it was a little further up the road then we had discussed. First 25 proof race came flying thru. Time to start keeping track. A huge gap to the second place rider. Then smaller gaps. I started getting a little nervous, so went to the edge of the hill to watch for Nick. Then the blue and yellow of our ProCycling kit appeared. I started yipping as Nick slowed right at the junction. Figured he heard me ad he started up the last steep pitch and got ready ti to give him the bottle. In my focus on getting the hand up right and my excitement that he was doing so well, I didn't give him the info! Doesn't help me much - but he needed to know he was 6th overall and 1st single speeder thru. And with a fun, technical descent coming up he had a good chance to move up more. But would he be able to hold on the blacktop road?
Todd S, racing in the 50 proof, riding up the last chunk of road climbing

I didn't wait around to see the next single speeder. I bolted down Copper Basin Rd to where the start course and finish course merged. I hung out there, watching the cops and their dance of directing traffic. I barely beat the first 25 proof rider to that point. It shouldn't be too long. I was counting now, looking at gears and numbers. Another 25 rider, followed by another and another. Five so far - Nick hadn't moved up, but he should be soon. Then a small group of 25 riders flew thru - all geared and looking nervous. Nick must have lost time on the road. Finally he came into view - 9th overall and 1st single speeder. Awesome! He'd put over 10 minutes into the next single speed racer, despite starting in the back of the pack!

Making the last turn for home
Nick and Todd, celebrating the finish with a pint of ice cold water

He was not happy when I got to the finish. Turned out he had started really far back, sat on his bike for nearly three minutes after the gun went off, then had to work his way all the way through the mass of riders to find a clean run at the single track when I saw him first. Not a fun way to start a race - yay first timer dues - in an event with 800 people! It wad also much hotter then we were used to and he'd been out of water for a while. There weren't weren't any bottles left at the aid station either. So when I had decided to move up the road and not stay at the junction where I said I would be, I hadn't helped. He'd come up to the junction and panicked since I wasn't there. It would have been a long finish without any more water. He had a right to be upset with me about that one! I will not make that mistake again.

Men's 25 Proof Single Speed Podium
Nick - 1st, Tobias Corwin - 2nd, Mark Horrocks - 3rd, Corey O'Brien - 4th, Sheldon Lindsey 5th

Comments

  1. Next year Nick will enjoy a preferred "corral" start placement based on this year's result. Perhaps the wave start will be implemented. First wave for this year's podiums regardless! Copper Basin Road alone is a killer on a SS - not to mention the remainder of the course! Great race reports for your and Nick's race.

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