Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Singlespeed-a-palooza 2010, and my game.

Dear reader, It’s All Lepo has been on the back burner lately and I’m sorry for that. It’s important to me that we all connect on this level for some reason. I know the behind the scenes of what goes on in my life is important to you. And vice versa. I will try to do better.

The reason for the lack of posts is that I got rid of the internet at home. I stopped using the internet mid March and I’ve only been on it one or two times since. I can check my email and blogs from the library computer, but I have only gone twice.

Singlespeed-a-paloosa has been on my mind for a long time. I was really focused on seeing if I could beat the “Monte”. For some reason this year I have jumped up my game a lot (I’ll talk about that later) and I’m able to hang with some of the best single speeders in the country. So thinking that I might have a chance gave me some hope.

The start of the race was interesting rubbing elbows with Dejay Birtch. Who came all the way out from CO to play in the mud and lose his brakes. Dejay is sponsored by Niner, and also hosted SSUSA in Tucson last February. Super cool guy with a super cool bike. Not so cool brakes.

Dejay and Foco were hitting it hard up the Major Mike climb with The Monte just ahead. Getting around Foco on the climb was a good move because The Monte and I took off together and got a good size gap off the front and didn’t look back. I ran a 33x17 and didn’t have any trouble keeping up with The Monte’s 34x16. I was feeling good despite the wheezing and grunting, as someone pointed out on Big Bikes comments. I wonder if they noticed me drooling all over myself, or saw me dry heaving. This time of year with my allergies I get a little congested. Once the pollen goes away I sound much better. We rode together for the first lap and up Major Mike again and that’s when the shit hit the fan. The first lap was great without most of the mud, but once 250 riders came through it was a different story. My brakes started failing during the first lap and once I started descending down Major for the second time I knew I was in trouble.

My brakes were bottoming out as I watched The Monte float away. Things started to get hairy and I resorted to going “Old School” and put my foot on the rear tire to slow me down. This only partly worked and I didn’t have much control. I eventually went off the trail and decided that a stone wall would make for a softer landing than a tree. I don’t have luck with trees. After crashing and not getting hurt too bad I continued on trying to see if I could catch The Monte. I never gave up, but It would escape me and I would come in happy for 2nd place. Way to go Monte! You truly are the fastest single speeder in the land.

Amazingly Josh Wilcox came in 3rd! 2 spots on the podium for 503 cycleworx! And Stine came in just after him. Way to go man! Sean Cavanaugh did very well after a season off of racing. And CB2 without a front brake from the start came in 12th.

Thanks Darkhorse cycles! The new course was awesome! I really liked going through the building and the stairs were a lot of fun. Not so much the second lap when my bike weighed 15 lbs more but still fun. And thanks for the huge payout! Thanks for giving us single speeders a chance to shine. Looking forward to the DH 40!

So you want to know how my game has improved? It didn’t happen overnight as some people might think. It’s not like I did one thing differently and all of a sudden I’m faster than last year. There are a few things that stick out in my mind that I can say has made me faster and one of those things is Josh Wilcox. Josh and his bike shop 503 Cycleworx has helped me to get to where I am today. He provides me with the tools and information that I need to get faster and he pushes me to do better and is super encouraging all of the time. Plus he is really hard to keep up with and pushes me past my limits constantly. Bottom line is without Josh I wouldn’t be doing as well. Also guys like CB2 (Charles Beal). He schools me over the technical stuff in the West Hartford Res and is also really encouraging and positive to ride with. You all have made me a little bit faster by giving me the incentive to try and reach your level of riding. Inspiring riders like Sean Cavanaugh, Thom Parsons and Rob Stine, not to mention The Monte. You all have given me tons of encouragement, advice, and positive vibes that only fellow single speeders can give. So I would like to thank you all and everyone else I might have not mentioned for your help.
I also think that my wife Jesse has been a huge part to help me do better. She keeps me fueled with Gluten free bread and helps me to make the right choices for food. She is my biggest fan, and she is also understanding of how much time this hobby consumes.

I’m going to CA this weekend for the Idyllwild spring challenge. I’m going with the same gear as single speed USA. 33x20. Saturday is the 30 mile XC event and Sunday is the Super D and Time Trial. It should be a lot of fun. I’ll try to write about it when I get back.


  1. "The Monte"! I love that.
    Since you aren't constantly blathering away in the blogisphere, when you do write something it's more profound.
    Good luck out West!

  2. Nice race report. Excess mud = bad, wives = awesome!

  3. I was looking to follow you out to Cali but work and lack of finances preveiled. Instead I'll be prepairing for our next battle at the High Point Hill Climb on Sat and either Waway or Michaux on Sun.
    Good luck in Cali....Keep us posted..

  4. Nice gear choice. That's what I would have gone with...if I'd gone. The 34 X 17 was just a little much last year.

    And nice work dude. I am so glad I'll have the excuse of having gears this year to explain why you are destoying me so badly.


  5. BB- You will be rockin' those gears bro! All the years of ss will keep you flowing.

    Rigid- It's you and me baby! Take the lead and I will follow as best I can.

    I'm on the Hamptons computer right now in Las Vegas. Sweet place! I used my USA cycling discount to get a good rate. The trip so far is going well. Bike is with me. Tomorrow we will be driving across the Mojave Desert and through Joshua Tree. Maybe I will take a brake and go for a ride on some sand?

  6. Thanks again CB2 for the case!

  7. Good Luck James! Keep on ridin' and keep on writing! Love the blog...