That, ladies and gentlemen, is how to finish a season. Best finish of the year, feeling 110% amazing the entire race, on a bog-slog of a mudder course on a bluebird day. Other than the fact that I forgot a clean post-race shirt, there was literally NOTHING wrong with my final race of the season at Kruger’s Farm (and a 100% turnaround from the Kermesse held at the beginning of the season — WTF was THAT?)
And I did it on my singlespeed with clinchers. Because apparently, all those gear choices and high-end tubular tires were really slowing me down.
OK, so let’s just rewind the whole thing. I slept in a bit, and got there about an hour before my race. I had to register, which meant I would not be one of the 70+ riders who received a call-up. Paul and I, per our tradition, staged together at the very back. I staged on the far right of the crowd and just sort of cruised the flat straightaway that opened the race. Then we got into the ultra-slick muddy section where everyone slowed down. I darted for the cones and blasted up the right side. About 300 yards later at the stairs, I’d passed maybe 50 people.
I sprinted up the stairs and passed another bunch of people, then settled into the downhill section, which became the only part of the race I didn’t pass people. As we rolled into the blueberry bushes, I started passing again. Around an off-camber corner and barrier, and onto the flats. I punched it. Effortless.
Effortless is the best way to describe the race. Everyone I saw in front of me? I knew I could catch and pass them. Any part of the course. The slick corners? No problem. The drag through the mud? No worries. Over the barrier? I got it. I mean, it was unworldly. I was passing people on the run up the stairs. Do you have any idea how un-Thom-like that is?And so it continued. I mean, I just kept going and kept passing people. I don’t think my heart-rate got over 180 (in fact, it did not). I knew the lines, I trusted my bike, and I flew around. They’d littered the course with rotting pumpkins earlier in an attempt to make a barrier, but people just rode over and through them.
I had one wipeout, where my back tire slid out in a rut. It threw me down hard, and my shoulder hurt, but I was back up quickly and no one passed me — I doubt I lost more than 15 seconds.
We talked afterward, and here’s my thought: my single speed must be set up differently. I must be using different muscles. Because both races I did on my SS this year were ultra-fast, and I felt great. So sometime soon, I plan to take my bikes in and have them adjusted to fit me more like the SS fits me.
Anyway, it was a great way to go out. It was a hard course, and I owned it (well, it was great for *me.* Clearly I didn’t win or anything). The 2012 season is several months away, and while I am looking forward to free weekends with Amanda and Lo, I know it won’t take long for me to start dreaming of possibilities for next year.