The zen of singlespeeding.

So I have signed up for a race, which is not in itself an extraordinary thing to do. But for me to sign up to a marathon race is. Especially when paired with an out of state location, and having entered the singlespeed category. I think I did this so I could take a marathon event with a bit of salt, without trying to get on the podium and without having to sharpen elbows. Without the weight of my own expectation on my shoulders (but due to bottle cage restrictions this weight will be replaced with a hydrapak).

I love my singlespeed like nothing else. Perhaps not quite as much as my child or husband, but it's up there neck and neck with coffee. Way up there.

So what's the problem? Well, you see I am not particularly good at it at the moment. Don't get me wrong, I can knock your socks off wunnspeedstyle for an hour or so, but budgeting six....perhaps not so much.

A few years ago I did a 6-hour race solo singlespeed. I had a great race, surprisingly, and found myself on the top spot in the women's and would have been on the podium for the mens (I know, must have been an astonishing field, right!?). I don't remember that much of the race. I remember that it hurt, but it wasn't a terrible hurt. Unpleasant—yes, but unmanageable or 'damaging' feeling, no.

Yesterday I decided that I was cutting it thin for training time and that I should probably do some singlespeed kilometres, so I headed to gap, rode around in circles for a while, then headed up to Nebo.

I knew in my head that it wasn't going to be one of those glorious 'I feel amazing the sun is shining yay, happy blah blah' rides from even before I hit Settlement rd. I had a couple of options, I could turn around and go home, keep going and cut it early, or just suffer through it. In the end I knew with the available ride time I have at the moment, I just had to suffer through it.

Riding up to Nebo for the first time in probably two years, second time ever on the SS, I can tell you that it wasn't a good place I was in. I would survive each climb by telling myself that I can stop pedalling for a second at the top. It doesn't seem so bad but there are a lot of little climbs on the South Boundary Rd dirt climb to the top.

My cranks were working themselves loose, so it was a great opportunity to walk part of the Middle Berg to fix the cranks. I made sure noone was around, but sure enough as I was about to get back on the bike some riders came zooming down the descent. It's a lot more fun as a descent which was witnessed by observing the contrast between their shiny happy faces and my gormless zombie look.

The plan was, if I was feeling good head down to Light Line. But I just averted my eyes when I saw the sign to turn off and thought about Coke.

This is what I wanted. I was a lot less jovial about it than Little Red, though.

For a singlespeeder, I sure struggled the rest of the ascent, but eventually the gate of the top loomed, and I knew that the Coke I had been dreaming about for an hour would soon be a reality.

Alas, Boombana cafe! It was like an oasis in the desert. And there were plenty of cyclists there too (like Imogen, Marianne and their troupe of boys that obviously were out just to try and hang on their wheel, then Meg and Pete rode up on a jaunt of their own).

A very expensive can of coke and a bit of social conversation later and I was headed to the peak of Nebo, to drop down the GT, then ride back up it, 'just 'cos' I needed that extra elevation.

It was the most zen part of the ride. Post Coke, which is my version of a saviour on the bike, I turned around at the bottom and headed back up. It was certainly different to the rest of the ride, it was a form of moving meditation as I listened to my legs and their dead pain, and kept going. No gears or brakes, just one chain, one cog and one speed. The GT managed to redeem my whole crummy, painful ride.

The ride home along what I like to call 'spin city' on my ss (Samford Valley rd) was unexceptional, legs just happy not to be pushing my body upward. I headed home the back way through some trails.

Dreaming of an ice bath in the closing km's of my ride (trying to do economic comparisons between buying a bag of ice each ride versus investing in heavy duty freezer and many ice blocks, there was no point at this stage I couldn't add single digits together if I tried) I cruised in 70+ km later.

Looking at my sneaky pocket Garmin (haha Pete...) I was devastated to have elevation read only 1600m!

Certain death is surely coming my way for this endurance event. Why—am I really that stupid!? I'm no good at these things, I don't even like them!

Spend the rest of the day drinking water, drinking coffee, and trying to not to eat the entire contents of the fridge.

It wouldn't have mattered, I weighed myself this morning and I am well and truly at intermediate goal weight, which I can attribute to leaving my soul up on South Boundary rd somewhere. The biscotti and coffee diet is working finally!

I am geeking out today, amongst other things such as doing accounts, running post, baking more biscotti, drinking coffee, getting the dog vaccinated etc—all those exciting life things.

I pop my Garmin in, just out of interest. Turns out I had 2800+ metres of climbing, not 1600 at all. Just a wee bit of a difference, and certainly more rationale for deathly feelings. Maybe that damn race won't be so bad after all—it's got 500m less climbing, and around 40km more in length. Sounds almost civilised when you put it that way. We'll see.