Stage 1 of Breck Epic is now over. And I'm exhausted. It was a heck of a race though. Not only was it my first race on the Oskar Blues REEB, it was my first single speed race, and it was one of the Breck Epic stages. Ouch.
For essentially my third single speed ride since I was 11 (ignoring about 5 days of riding a Trek 69er) I chose a 28-tooth rear cog. Paired with my 46-tooth front chain ring it made for a 1.6 gear ratio. Honestly I don't really know what this means or how close this is to what people normally run but I translate it to "slightly-easier-than-the-26-tooth-but-still-hard." But the Gates Carbon Drive was SUH-WEET! Nice and quiet, smooth, and I didn't need chain lube.
Since this year's Breck Epic is also Single Speed Stage Race World Championships, there's some pretty stiff competition. And having never raced single speed before I had no idea how I'd do. But I wanted to win. And I did!
Brady Kappius took the single speed lead early in the race and I stayed within a minute or two of him for the first half of the race. But since I had I quickly learned to swallow my pride and hop off my bike to run (or walk) when it got steep instead of cranking up the climbs I had enough energy to push hard during the second half of the race and passed Brady on the long dirt road climb about 45 minutes from the end of the race. I finished just over a minute ahead of him, but with 5 more days of racing to go, it's still anyone's race.
I learned a lot today and had a blast. I got a lot more comfortable on my REEB and noticed some pointed differences between having gears and not having them, having rear suspension and not having it, and having 26" wheels and having 29" wheels. Tomorrow's another (longer) stage and I want to keep my leader's jersey. So at about 8:30AM MST send me fast vibes.