Not long to go now. In a week’s time I’ll be making the 7 hour journey north to the Strathpuffer for the 3rd time* and while I’m not quite ‘summer race-fit’ I’m in reasonable shape and for once I’m very relaxed. This almost-horizontal state of calm isn’t exactly what I’m used to the week before a 24 hour race but like I’ve said before, for me January isn’t the time of year to be getting all fired up and wearing a full-on race face, while using up all my motivation for riding when the weather gets better (because it will get better!).
My slightly chubby and wind-blasted, partial race face will have to do for now.
Finally I pulled my socks up and got the race bike ready. I’ll be riding my trusty old Scandal – one of the original scandium-framed models which has been to every race with me since I bought it many years ago, admittedly as a spare bike in recent times.
Cutting a long story short, there have been some changes to ‘the deal’ which has resulted in me no longer being an On-One sponsored athlete – I can do nothing but thank them for their support over the years but in life things change and we move on, so for the time being at least I’m slightly more self-sufficient than I was a few weeks ago.
Anyway, I’ve done a quick singlespeed conversion and the Scandal is now good to go. It was pretty light anyway but now that I’ve removed all but one gear I’m pleased with the lack of mass
As well as the lack of gears, a full carbon rigid fork, a liberal use of Mt Zoom components and the rather ace Rolf Ralos 9 wheels drive down the poundage even further. We won’t go into the extra pounds the rider is carrying….but at least I won’t feel the cold as much as the skinny lads. The 17 hours of darkness will be ridden with the help of a few of the finest lights available from Exposure.
The light weight has meant that I’ve given into temptation (and also means I’ve clearly not learnt any lessons at all from last time) and I’m running a relatively tall gear. It’s a pretty tall gear for 24 hour solo racing on a reasonably hilly course anyway although I’m sure that for general ‘just going out for a ride for a couple of hours’ duties 34:17 on a 29 inch wheel is absolutely fine.
If my back/legs/arms/toes/eyelids start to play up because of the ratio then I can always swap onto the lower-geared spare bike. But that’s quite a bit heavier. But it’s got a suspension fork. Maybe I’ll MTFU and won’t need to use it. (I’m seriously trying to ignore what happened last time).
Don’t worry – the gears will be back in use in time for the next 24 hour race in the spring.
The weather? Who knows. It’s the Strathpuffer. Maybe we’ll have snow. Or ice. Or wind. Or rain. Or sunshine. Probably all of them.
The slightly terrifying ice tyres are all ready to go, just in case…
*it would have been the 4th time if that dozy pillock hadn’t crashed his car into me in 2010