Sunday, December 12, 2010

Single Speed World Championships 2010

A race with only one gear, beer shortcuts, costumes, and tattoos for the winning gal and guy, this is a mountain bike race that stood out from the rest. A chaotic start saw 1050 people from over 30 countries awkwardly riding in a small circle, awaiting the unpredictable randomized start. 
The hooter blasted marking the start of the 2010 World Single Speed Championships in Rotorua. A small entrance was made in the circle, leading onto the open course. Unfortunately I had just passed the entrance so was made to do a full lap of the circle to get back around to the entrance with more than 900 people in front of me. A very unlucky start.
I started trying to pass people, but with everyone shoulder to shoulder walking their bikes up the first hill it proved quite difficult. I ended up grabbing my bike and running up the side of the track through blackberry bushes as far as I could. The frustrating thing was all the bottle necks where the track narrowed, literally coming to a dead stop waiting for the traffic to get moving again.  As soon as the track opened up, I was off to gaining as many places I could. By the top of the hill the congestion had stopped and we could actually get on our bikes and ride. On the down hill to prevent getting stuck behind everyone I took the "alternative" route through potholes, ruts, stairs, and a bit more bush bashing at the side of the track to gain further places without taking anybody out. 
During the race, riders had the opportunity to skull a can of beer which resulted in a shortcut on the course. There were 4 shortcut opportunities within the race, therefore 4 beer skulls for the keen riders. I missed the first shortcut as I was a little wary of how the beer would go down, I ended up losing so much time to those that took the beer shortcut that I did them from then onwards.  The second lap was much better, the field was spread out so I was able to ride fast.  I put my head down and pedalled my heart out, working my way up the field. One last beer skull and I was finished in 2.45 hrs putting me in 8th woman overall.  I am pleased with the result considering the unlucky start.  It is a day I will never forget, the atmosphere at the race was amazing, with half drunk riders in costumes from dinosaurs to super hero's to Animal (from the Muppet's) and numerous spectators cheering everyone on and having a good time. Definitely hope New Zealand will get to host again in the future!

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