As we all know, Eric Hunner has earned a nick name of being the ANIMAL because of his ferocity and his massive size of man. Plus he’s got these gigantor hands that surprises anyone that shakes them. We’re pretty lucky to have him part of the team. As in traditional fashion, Eric wrote a race report that talks about the world of Single Speed Racing.
Race Day is not just a day for me, it is an event that is weeks in the making. I think of these races as a report card to myself to see how my riding is progressing and where I stand in the pack of local riders.
In order to get good grades on my report card I had better do my homework. Southridge was the last stop in the Triple Crown for our Team. I was the only person on the team that had not ridden Southridge before. Planning for the race included making time in my busy schedule to preride the course.
Time was short, but I made it out to Southridge by 4pm two days before the race. Thankfully I left my lights on the bike from an early morning training ride. The sun was falling fast, I was lucky enough to run into some other racers that were packing up to leave, and they pointed me in the right direction of the trail head. The trail head consisted of little orange arrows spray painted on rocks to lead you on your way. Some of the arrows are are far apart so preriding this course is a bit of scavenger hunt especially when the sun is going down. When making my way back to the parking lot I ran into Griffith Vertican. I proceeded to ask Griffith questions about the course and he was nice enough to show me some of the turns I missed on my preride, we ended the tour with some high intensity sprints up the hill to the water tower.
Saturday: Race Day. I am entered in the 34 and under Single Speed. I am sitting at the start line and I hear RL Yell out Go get those skinny guys Animal. The race starts I am amped, and feeling good. All of Single speeds left 5 minutes after the pros, at least ten SS together riding in a pack all pretty even paced for the first mile. The terrain at Southridge can be tricky rocks and ruts that are not avoidable, you need to be on your “A” game.
I make it though the race almost without any problems. On the second lap after some jarring downhill sections it feels like I am pedaling with the rear brake dragging. I try my hardest to just pedal and try to keep some distance in front of Andrew a fellow competitor in my class. I later discover after the race my rear SS specific hub was letting its life slip away, another rear hub with trashed bearings.
Now my other problem surfaces; holding off Andrew with my rear hub sucking the life out me. Andrew was geared a little faster than me I think he said he had to walk the hill in the back of the course, I was able to pedal up this nasty hill running 32/18. When the two of us hit the flat straight he pulled ahead, until the last major hill climb I pushed my bike and body to the max, I took the lead and held it until 10 yards from the finish line.
Andrew tried to pass in the last turn of the finish and crashed into the racers in front of us, then tangling handle bars, pedals, and plastic fencing together with me he got out of the fencing first. The difference between 3rd and 4th place ONE second. I ended up in 4th place, Andrew apologized for the mix up at the end. I kept my cool and was glad I finished the race in one piece. I did however collect a very nice Trophy for the 2nd place overall Single Speed in the Triple Crown Series.