The winter hadn’t been so kind.

Lots of traveling with work meant an inevitable lack of riding, but I was still lucky enough to get out running while being away.

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When I was home, I had a new Kinesis FF29 built up, which spurred me to get out more. A black frame with white and red parts.  Looks sweeeeeet.

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As I was travelling quite a lot I ended up doing more ‘body weight’ exercises like burpees and squats. Due to this I’m 3kg heavier and growing out of size small tops. To think I was in XS this time last year!

So training hadn’t been great and the first race of the season approached fast.

WHINLATTER MOUNTAIN BIKE CHALLENGE 2014

The weeks before I’d tried to get on the bike as much as possible wit a few rides at Hamsterley and Chopwell included a 65km loop of the south lakes with some of the guys that would also be racing WMBC.

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WMBC is a 60km race (actually around 53km – for once a race is less than stated?) around Whinlatter forest.

I’d entered in 2013 but after it being called off I decided to move my entry to 2014.

The course was three laps of roughly 17.2km with 262m of ascent. It included some killer climbs and sketchy technical descents.

A perfect killer for a singlespeed.

The set up was the newly built singlespeed rigid Kinesis FF29. 32:19 gear and after seeing the weather forcast the day before – a quick change to a has dampf front with a nobby nic on the back.

It was a dry cold morning while myself, Matt, Josh and Mike travelled up to the forest for registration (still not sure what the red numbers were about).

Luckily most of the snow had gone from the course and the days forecast was good.

There were a few single speeders and I was gridded next to Jeremy Copland aboard a nice Cannondale with flashy Tune and XX1 bits. Slightly lighter than my build of burly wide DH bars and 2.35 tyres. I was slightly enviously looking up at the first climb.

The start was fast and I tried to hold back from racing to the front, riding steady away climbing up the long forest road.

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Thanks to sportsunday.co.uk for the above photo.

By the top, I was pretty sure I was first single speed and followed the geared riders in front.

I apologise to any of the geared riders with suspension that were holding me up on the descents – but you should really learn to descend if you have a rigid singlespeed trying to pass you at any opportunity. Move over next time please.

By the finish I was struggling to see with the amount of mud in my eyes, but atleast the sun was out.

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My lap times were 57:41, 1:00:58, 1:03:31 finishing in a total time of 3:02:10 – 24th overall and 1st singlespeed.

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Thanks to Josh for the above two photos.

It was a smooth race. No real dramas apart from needing a wee from the start of lap 2 and cramping in my left arm and right leg on the last climb – I’ve never had cramp in my arm before?!? Strange. Sorry to those of you that had to listen to me swearing up the climb.

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INTO THE FUTURE

The travelling with work has now slowed down and I’m looking forward to getting a road bike in time for the Fred Whitton in May.

I’ve gone for gears … but will be running a single front ring. I couldn’t just have a normal bike could I?

Keep checking instagram.com/singlespeedmatt for the pictures of the build

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