Most mountain bikers, don’t get singlespeed riding. With good reason.
If you want to climb long fireroads, or singletrack trails, a generous spread of gear ratios, is the proven pedalling dynamic.
Despite the challenges, singlespeeding remains a thriving subset of the local mountain biking community. And at this year’s Sani2C non-stop, a singlespeed team, raised some eyebrows at the start. And on the 250km route.
After last being held in 2009, this year saw the return of Sani2C's non-stop event. It presented a new challenge for riders, as they must complete all three stages of this well-known event in one go, with a 24-hour cut-off time.
Lords of the Cog consisted of Dale Mclean, Fabio Passarelli, Mark Lambrechts, Paul Rossouw and backup driver Russel Belgrove. The team finished well ahead of the race's 24-hour cut-off time, despite their choice of mountain bikes with only one gear.
Team member Paul Rossouw says careful planning and the right choice of equipment were vital in completing this challenging route comfortably. The quartet are experienced singlespeed riders and knew what the route and challenge would entail.
"Three of the team members have done Joberg2C on singlespeeds. Two of us have done the Sani2C stage race on singlespeeds, so we had a good idea and some good experience of the route," says Rossouw.
"We did Cullinan to Tonteldoos last year, so we knew we were good for the distance. Sani2C is such a renowned stage race in South Africa. And this was a great opportunity to do all three stages in one go," added Rossouw.
Starting at 2am, the Sani2C non-stop covered 250km on much of the regular Sani2C stage race route from Underberg to Scottburgh. That alarming start time ensured that riders can complete the incredible Umko singletrack descent during the day. And avoid riding into a second night as much as possible.
The Lord of the Cogs finished this gruelling event a touch more than three hours behind the winners.
"I am very analytical and broke the route into the normal three stages. We had earmarked a time of 17 hours and ended up finishing in 17 hours and 8 minutes. We paced fairly well, but I feel we stopped slightly too long at times, which can quickly eat into your time," Rossouw recalls.