This from Duncan:
Some of you may remember my ill-fated attempt to race a fixey solo in an MTB
enduro. Well last Sunday I got to have another crack at it with slightly
I’m still running the same handlebars my friend had in his car from the last
event, the only other difference this time was a slightly higher gear
(36:16) to reduce the hummingbird effect on the downhills. This also lead
to a lot more pain on the uphills but also a bit more speed.
Starting a bit back in the self seeding grid I got to experience the log jam
that I usually avoid but at least it gave me a chance to get my head around
what I was doing. The course wasn’t too fixey friendly with plenty of logs,
braking ruts and about 352m (1170 feet) vertical per 14.3km lap.
By the second lap a group of solo riders had formed around me but I must’ve
been a bit annoying, I was getting away on all the climbs but being pretty
sub par on the descents allowing them to catch up again. Descending at
speed means the pedals are spinning too fast to have an effective rear brake
while weight transfer and stability go out the window. It took one guy on
my wheel for most of two laps to realise my bike was fixed, I guess most
people just thought I was a bit retarded.
After a few laps the solo bunch stopped catching up after the hills and I
was pretty much riding alone apart from passing back markers. Even after
getting into a rythm it still felt like I was being beaten softly but
repetitively with a crow bar and the knees were really protesting the
Every lap I thought was going to be my last but somehow I kept going keeping
a reasonably consistant pace. Funnily enough my penultimate lap was my
darkest one not being able to fend off a competitor but the prospect of
finishing gave me a second wind for the final circuit but not quite enough
to reclaim the place.
The end result: 8 laps, 6 hours 13 minutes, 114km, 9400 vertical feet and
24,000 pedal revolutions. I came 6th out of about 80 solo entrants with an
ex world champ MTB orienteerer taking first, and the current Australian
national 24 hour MTB champ taking second place.
Next time I think I’ll try the bike with gears, suspension and a freewheel
and see what happens.
To top the day off I was the lucky winner of the random prize draw of a
$1200 ‘fluid rythm’ MTB. I was able to quite honestly say to the crowd that
the bike would’ve been a lot faster than the one I raced. As I’m one of the
last people who needs a free bike I donated it to a friends organisation
that uses cycling as therapy for mental illness, a practice that I whole
heartedly believe in.