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Another Single Speed Convict 100 completed

stephen's picture

By stephen - Posted on 05 May 2014

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.
Re: This ride meeting: 
Convict 100 2014
Position (Overall): 
Race Category: 
100km Male Single Speed
Position (Category): 

Having done this race for the last 4 years I felt I had a pretty good understanding of the course and for the first time I had a proper race strategy to counter all the mistakes I have made in the past.

Eating was the first and biggest issue I have, easy fixed I thought so I set the Garmin to let me know to eat every 20 minutes. A Gel every 20 worked well even though it's a little lean for my 95kg frame my energy levels didn't fluctuate.

Gearing was my second consideration. For the 2 weeks leading in I had 34/18 setup ready to tackle the course, but just the day before the race I was concerned I wouldn't be able to spin up this gearing all race so I dropped to a 19 tooth rear. I should have stuck to the 18 tooth as I simply couldn't hold enough speed to stay with Dave Ludenia who was running 34/18. And yes 1 tooth does make a big difference, probably not the 8 minute gap between us but somewhere in between.

I stayed comfortably with the first 20 odd riders on the first wave into Blue Hill and managed to ride/run/walk up at a pretty good pace and then settle in for the race. As per the norm the riders around me now where pretty much the crew that hung around most of the race, I was very happy with the start although I could see that there was no way I could stay with Dave and lost site of him after the feed station.
For anyone that doesn't know Dave Ludenia he is an elite level rider but he hardly takes things too seriously, this was shown by him riding in his footy shorts on a converted rigid steel Surley SS touring bike in a time of 4:22:58, just awesome. I'm sure he would have worn his flanny if it had enough pockets for his food etc.

From here I continued to have a pretty solid ride, I payed attention to eating and drinking and making sure I kept driving the whole way. On the GNR I saw again up front an SXC racing jersey so I pushed on to catch up to David O'Connell, I made a break down Sheppard's gully so I could fill my bottles, ride the kayak bridge and hopefully have the group with Dave catch me on the road for a tow into Woomera. It worked, David came along after a minute or so on the road and he sensibly held up for another rider behind us. Unselfishly they pulled me most of the way along the road. For the whole ridge line climb David and I stayed pretty much together until Jacks track where again I let loose to get way out on the road so I could get picked up again. The now bigger group towed me into the creek and I crossed the line 14 minutes faster than last year. At the finish MC Anthony noticed me spinning frantically to reel in every last second, he figured quickly I was riding Single Speed so he got the thumbs up from me. After the finish I grabbed my beer and waited for my son to finish his first 50k race after turning 15 2 weeks ago, it was not a long wait at all as he managed 3rd place in the juniors.

Tristan White asked me after the race "Why single speed?" Yes it's tough at times spinning my legs off and climbing stuff like Woomera range, but most of the time I'm climbing faster than the gearies Smiling and if I've resorted to walking, gearies aren't always riding faster. Races like this are challenging because it's hardly efficient with so many fast road sections and bulk climbing, so tactics are important like drafting and keeping off the brakes but the satisfaction of finishing fast is immense. On the other hand some courses a SS can be incredibly efficient and in those cases when you have speed, flow and silence it's just a beautiful thing and most importantly a bucket load of fun.

Tristania's picture

And good write up. Indeed, I still wonder "why singlespeed" but whatever the reason, you certainly shot a darn good ride, hopefully with more to come. Good to talk to you at the end.

Blades_Utd's picture

That's a cracking ride Stephen, well done.
We've had a few close races out at WSMTB and I'm continually impressed how you hold and maintain speed through the singletrack and this is a skill that being on a singlespeed develops. Top stuff.

hathill's picture

Awesome ride there - I still have no idea how you do it on the SS, it was hard enough with gears. You've made a 5.248% improvement on last years time BTW.

doc's picture

Great ride Stephen, congrats on a very good race. It was very impressive watching you maintain momentum through the GNR and good pace on the open sections. Thanks for the company along Womerah push, it didnt seem like the usual race struggle at all.

Yep, I agree, the single speed can be a beautiful thing.

trim's picture

Damn fine effort, as always Steve! From one of those gearies you regularly pedal away from Smiling

Ian_A's picture

Good stuff Steve. You're crazy fast on that SS, no wonder the other one gets so neglected.

Did you just rely on the gels or have other stuff as well?

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