Here in Fort Collins this past weekend, we had the OneSpeedOpen, 30 something miles of pavement and gravel, with the number one rule being that you can only have one working gear. Aside from not allowing people to use gears, this aint your standard race, no one knows the route until the day of, the race starts when an inner tube is pumped up to the point of bursting, and the finish is a barn with a keg and some snacks. Singlespeeders of all shapes, sizes, makes, and models showed up for the start. Some on fixies, some with freewheels, some with aero bars, and one tandem.
After the group ride to the starting line, we are off, and there is no peleton at this race. Immediatly groups of three and four riders form based upon gear ratio, leg strength, and desire to go fast. I can’t make the jump to the first group right off the bat, so I wind up in the third group with two other dudes. The pavement is smooth, the dirt sections are packed down, and the wind is at our backs for the first half. Once we cross of I-25 the ballgame changes, the gravel becomes rougher, and there are more sections of headwinds than you would prefer. This is also where the hills are, and at the first climb I’m in a group of six. By the end of it I’m all alone out in front, wondering if I have the legs to catch anyone ahead of me, and not get caught by anyone behind me.
The rest of the course is all gravel, with a bunch of steep rolling climbs into the wind. I see a guy ahead of me, although I would never be able to catch him, he serves as a nice carrot on the stick to keep me motivated. The end is a one mile decent on pavement to the keg, I’ve never spun my legs quicker. The winner rocked a fixie, with aero bars, on skinny tires, and a monster gear, a deserving champ if there ever was one. I cross the line fifth, legs felt good, no bike issues, and the Fat Tire is waiting for all, supplied by those fine folks at New Belgium Brewing. The post race hang out is a combination of story telling, eating, drinking, and smiling, the best way to end a day of racing singlespeeds.
Aside from the OsO, the bikes and cycling community here in Fort Collins have been off the chain. I’m sure plenty people know this to be a great cycling community, but now that I have had the pleasure to live here for a few weeks, I got to say its much better than what I had heard. We’re talking top quality local mountain bike races, where the folks who mean business and the folks who want to have fun all manage to get along. We’re talking about “bike in movies” down at New Belgium, where it is completely normal to bring your three year old to a brewery at 830 at night. We’re talking about great trails just a quick jaunt outside of town. And most importantly, I’m loving motorists who don’t mind sharing the road with a cyclist. Next on the dockett for me looks to be come collegiate mountain bike racing. The kids here at CSU seem to mean business about things, hopefully my attitude of “who cares about the result, just ride, drink, and smile” will be tolerated.by