Today's race was the 2nd annual DelXC 6hr. The event takes place just outside Warwick QLD about 2.5hrs from the northside of Brisbane. With registration closing at 8 it meant an early start. I woke at 4:20 and organised some last items and threw the SS 29er on the roof of the car. Getting on the road just before 5, I arrived at a little after 7. I registered and noticed only 1 other rider(#112) in Single Speed category. Last was a distinct possibility.
Cars had to be moved out of the transition area after dropping stuff off. I packed light and with no gazebo I set up my stuff under a tree. We assembled for race start with very overcast skys, and rain seemed a possibility. After the "Last Post" and a minutes silence for ANZAC day we were off. I made it about 10m before I dropped my chain. In the heat of the moment I struggled to get the chain back on, but when I did, I thought it could be tighter, but should be OK. So starting almost last I started passing people. On the first ascent(the only bit of fire road) I passed another bunch of riders, but then it was back to a single track climb and quite difficult to pass people. Even riding SS behind the geared bikes was hard. The first switchback climb forced me to dismount as the riders in front bunched. A few more corners and the track widened enough to pass more riders. Then the fun bit, a fast flowing descent and again no passing.
Early on lap 2 I was riding behind an SS rider. On the switchbacks I notice the rider was #113. I wondered if there was a number change or if there was a late starter and therefore another SS rider ahead somewhere. In many ways it didn't matter as I had decided before race start not to be concerned with category position and just do thee best I could, but....
The race progressed, passing riders where possible. I remember looking at the time part way through the 3rd lap and we were not even an hour in to the race. I was lapping in around the 22-24 min range(The leaders 17-18). There was a lot more space on the track now and it was possible to ride my own pace. On the 3rd and 4th laps I started lapping people. On the 5th lap Andy Fellows and Aaron Benson passed me like I was standing still.
It started to warm up and threat of rain disappeared. I pushed on, the climbs got harder and I had not seen the other SS rider. I tried to keep up the food and fluids, stopping for a new bottle on the 4th lap. On about the 7th lap I rode past my food and decided to push on with only a small amount of drink, and by halfway through the lap it was dry. I stopped on the next lap and continued. By this time they were calling results and I thought I heard that I was 1st in category. I'm not sure knowing that was a good thing as it starts to play with your mind.
At about the 8th or 9th lap I was wishing I was running a lower gear. My arms and chest was sore from lifting the front over logs and the pumping action on the descents. I also started to hear some noises from the chain and realised I was getting chain slap. I persevered for another couple of laps and then decided when I stopped for food next that I would go to Redback Cycles" ten and get them to adjust the tension as I scoffed down a Banana. I had to instruct the mechanic the working of the Gary Fisher EBB and after 5 mins I was away with a tightly tensioned chain. As I left the transition area I heard the MC announce #113 completing a lap, 20secs behind at most.
Sometime on the next couple of laps I had a small front end loose when the front tucked
under in a corner that was getting softer each lap. About 100m later my glasses fell out of my pocket, but I only realised when the rider behind told me. He told me toughly where and I decided to try find them next lap. I eventually spotted them 2 laps later. They sat in my pocket for a few more laps and then fell out as I tried to grab a gel. I stopped, picked them up, almost cramping in the process. The third time they dropped out of my pocket one of the arms fell off and I ditched them.
The last few laps hurt, but one time through transition I though I heard I had a lap on 2nd, but figured it was error and imagined every rider from behind would be a SS. I finished my 2nd last lap with 10mins to go and pushed on with my goal to ride the whole 6hrs. I was on my last lap that I finally saw the 3rd SS rider. It turned out I had passed him earlier but didn't notice he was SS. As I crossed the line the MC announced that I was in first with heaps of props(as he had all day :) about SS riders.
In the end I managed 14 laps and was 1st by 2 laps, 11th overall in solo and 22nd including teams. I think 6hrs was about the max I could ride that track with that gearing. It is quite demanding, and the laps were quite short(6.2k) which means those tough climbs come around quite often. It was a great day and my first ever solo 1st...even if it was only a field of 3.
So keep next years Anzac Day long weekend free. Its on again 24/04/11