Rock Tavern, NY – Why do I occasionally race single-speed? It’s a fun bike to ride, but race…well, that’s fun too. The 2nd Annual Singlespeed-a-Palooza (SSAP) is the other reason to race single-speed. 250 single-speed racers, sold out weeks in advance and enough sport class racers to split the field into two: NY North and NJ South.
I had 86 racers in my race. That is easily the biggest field that I have ever raced in. In a regular XC race, I’ll have somewhere between 10 and 30 other racers. But when Darkhorse Cycles puts on a race, everyone comes out for it…whether it’s the Darkhorse 40 (capped at 450) or Singlespeed-a-Palooza (capped at 250). You are guaranteed a great race, a fun atmosphere, and ice cold beer afterwards.
SSAP is held in the Stewart State Forest in Rock Tavern, NY near Newburgh. Stewart has some of the best singletrack that you will find in that region of New York. With two 13 mile laps of mostly singletrack, I initially set a goal to finish at around 2.5 hours. Once I saw that the weather forecast was correct with rain through the night and all morning, my goal quickly changed to around 3 hours. I did pretty well with that too considering most of the course was like riding on paste and the rest like a Slip ‘n Slide. Time on my Vetta computer was 3 hrs 11 min, but a rear flat cost me a ton of time during the second lap for a finish time of ~3 hrs 37 min. Fixing a rear flat on a single-speed is tough enough, but throw in the mud and it kinda sucked. A finish of 58th out of 86 isn’t great, but I’ll take any finish that isn’t a DNF.