I've been known to choose races to go to based on two criteria: Good trails and a good party.
Whiskey 50 offered up both, so months ago, I put it on my calendar, fully intending on racing my geared bike on it. When it was announced that the winner of the single speed category would win a round trip ticket to Ireland for Single Speed Worlds, I contemplated the possibility.
I really like riding my single speed. And I really wanted to go to Ireland. So I ponied up my $10 to switch my registration a few weeks prior, put a suspension for on the single speed, and headed south.
The single speed category was raced with the amateur classes on Saturday. 600+ people lined up, but luckily, they made a last minute call to bring all the single speeders up to the front line. This was great for approximately the first 100 yards, then the road went downhill and seemingly 589 people passed me.
But with a solid 30 minute road climb, I was able to work my way through the majority of the traffic, and while I was still in some conga lines for the first stretches of single track, I never felt terribly hindered by traffic. I think there were only a few down-to-up transitions where I was behind geared riders wanting to tell them to stop shifting and start pedaling. Plus, I got clean runs down on both single track descents, so I'm in no position to complain.
The majority of the course was perfect for single speeding. Short, punchy climbs and very little flat ground. Until the 9 mile coast downhill on a jeep road halfway through the race which definitely got me questioning my single speeding love. I got to spend a lot of time contemplating the meaning of life while tucked up watching people pedal by me in their big rings. These same people became my rabbits when we pulled a u-turn at the bottom of the hill and started the 13 mile climb back up.
This was the first time I got to see where the other girls were. I had been climbing for a solid 10 minutes before I saw the next gal on a single speed, which gave me hope that as long as I didn't implode on the climb, crash, flat, or have a catastrophic bike failure, I was going to be able to pull off the win.
Lucky for me, none of the above happened, I was able to rail the descent, spin my brains out back into town, with a police escort nonetheless, and pull off the win.
Round trip tickets to Ireland. Pretty spectacular if you ask me.