I've done the Hampshire 100 the past two years and it is always a hard 100 mile race, but the new course layout made this race even tougher than it was in previous years. Most of the 100 mile racers had finishing times about an hour slower than previous years. The slower times were due to a few issues including: the removal of about 10 miles of rail-to-trail, the addition of some very freshly cut trail, and the course receiving over 3 inches of rain a couple of days before the event.
At the beginning of the race, Dan Rapp was able to get into the single track a head of me and put a little time between himself and the rest of the SS field. I was eventually able to catch him after exiting the first section of new trail with the help of another singlespeed racer, Will Crissman. From that point, the three of us worked together until we were caught by a group of geared riders that also contained singlespeed rider Ernesto Marenchin. This occurred at the end of a long rail-to-trail section and before heading up a steep and loose climb about 20 miles into the race.
Upon getting caught by this group, Dan Rapp and I increased the pace by running and fast-walking up the climb and only Crissman followed. The next split in the singlespeed race came on the powerline climb, which was mostly another hike-a-bike section. On this part of the course, Crissman was not able to run/walk as fast as us up the hill and he fell from the pace Dan and I were setting. From that point, Dan and I rode together at a fairly steady pace until the aid station at around mile 50. I was able to leave the aid station a bit quicker than he was, which gave me an opportunity to put distance between my fast singlespeeding competitor and friend.
I was certain Dan was going to bridge back up to me, so I kept my speed high as possible, which quickly moved me past three other open class riders and into fourth place overall. I never saw any other singlespeed racers after leaving Dan and managed to hold-on to my lead for the rest of the race to take the win. After doing the past five NUE Series Races on a geared bike, it felt good to be back on a singlespeed again. It has been said that variety is the spice of life and this has certainly been true for my 2014 NUE Series race season!
|It always feels good to give a victory salute!|
I can't end this post without saying a big thank you to the race promoter, Randi Whitney, and all her help for making the Hampshire 100 run so smoothly and be a great 100 mile race experience! To see how awesome this race was, check out The Hampshire 100 Video by Thom Parsons of Dirtwire.tv.
Happy Trails... Gerry