Singlespeed World Championships - August 24, 2005
First I wanted to finish off the last post by adding some of Rudy's art and a shot of Ivan. Check the photos. Rudy is good. Ivan rules.
Back to the race.
The rest of the prologue legs were uneventful and quiet for me, though there was some mayhem downtown. I managed to escape the serious drinking by staying 20 miles from the pubs in an old beat down 4H camp with some of the folks I'd been staying with in Pittsburgh. Secretly I had hoped for something like this because, as much as this goes against the traditional pre-race programme laid out by the Mullahs of the One True Single Speed Jihad, starting a hard, technical, three hour race, with lots of climbing, in heat, with only one gear, while feeling bloated and hungover just seemed like the wrong way to go about it. I know some folks that can do it that way, but I have never been able to. Dunno - maybe I won't make the cut for martyrdom...
Anyway, the only pre-race highlight was the last six miles of gravel road that led to the 4H camp. I drove it at night even though the Chevy I got from Avis was very underpowered with a strange automatic transmission that wouldn't stay in the lower gears. The evening there was quiet except for a ping pong death match that went on pretty late.
The woods around State College are laced with singletrack. If the devil rides, and I am pretty sure he does (when he is not running along chasing pros up the cols in summer) it is very likely that he had a hand in laying these out. They are about as rocky and evil as they can be and still be called trails. In fact, it is occasionally not obvious that they ARE trails. There are a few big rock gardens that make one think they must have taken a wrong turn - the trail just seems to stop at this big pile of rocks... Then with a closer look, the trail doesn't stop. It goes out the other side, so these rocks are part of it. It just goes straight into those rocks, intentionally.
See Keith Bontrager's entire Singlespeed World Championships diary here.