2014 Mount Diablo Challenge – Single Speed (32 x 20)

Considering I had done Montebello the day before my legs didn’t feel too bad at all when I woke up on the morning of the Diablo Challenge. I did 15 minutes on the trainer at a tempo speed just to flush out the toxins then drove out to the event.  It is pretty hard to get any sort of meaningful warm up on a low geared single speed at the Diablo challenge but I kept my legs turning and still felt good before the start.  It had been a bit chilly riding out from parking but by race time it was already getting hot.

I had decided to set the bike up on the side of caution for this event. I still had the front tire blowout from Montebello at the front of my mind and didn’t want to take any risks for the sake of 1/2 pound. I swapped the tires out  for Continental GP4000S 25mm and changed to regular tubes.  I also swapped out the front wheel for a Hed Ardennes I had lying around. The overall increase in weight was 0.14 pounds but I added some further weight with a seat bag containing a spare tube, tire lever, CO2 and allen key wrench for the wheel. Piece of mind weighed less than a pound extra (19.64lbs vs 19.0lbs).

Fat Tire setup : 90psi front, 95psi Rear

I was registered in Wave 2 as I really didn’t expect to be on par with the sub 1 hour group.  I was lined up about mid pack at the start behind someone who obviously was just out for a bit of fun. He was off his bike texting and taking selfies  just before the start and despite my suggestions to get on his bike, which he ignored,  when the event started he provided a dangerous chicane. I really think the organizers should establish some sort of Qualification time for Waves 1 and 2 as some people should really be in the later waves where they dont get in the way of people trying to race the event.

The first 1/2 mile or so was crazy with bikes everywhere and people riding like a mobile chicane. Although I got really frustrated at being held up (momentum is everything on single speed) in some ways it forced me to take the beginning at a steady pace which probably helped later.  Things started to thin out by the tire poppers and groups began to form. I got on the back of a little group containing Sam from IC3 and I was determined not to get dropped where the gradient eased off.  I decided that if I was to have any hope of staying with this group I needed to get a gap before the rangers hut and the flattish/downhill Rock City section.

The group caught me again about 200m after the pay gate and I had to spin like a mad thing to try to hang on .  I hung on for as long as I could but in the end I got dropped badly and lost sight of them.  It took me to the junction to catch the group back up again and I knew that it was this final 4 mile section to the top where the hour is won or lost.  I sat on the group for about a mile then went into time trial mode for the top.

I managed to catch and pass a few people over the grueling last two miles and nearly caught a team mate on the last steep bit before the finish. I crossed the line and was really happy to see I had managed to break the hour with a time of 57m59s. Two weeks ago  I thought it was an impossible task to beat the hour but having achieved it I was one happy bunny.

Comparison of my progression on the single speed at Diablo

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Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “2014 Mount Diablo Challenge – Single Speed (32 x 20)

  1. sevencyclist

    Damn, I wouldn’t be able to climb to the junction on a single speed. That’s hard core. I didn’t even know the Diablo Challenge was on (not like I’d be able to avoid being last up the hill)

  2. Mike Chew

    Great to know it can be done. I will be attempting the climb this year on a Trek Soho SS. Still trying to determine the best gear ratio from my set-up.

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