Tim Lucking and Taylor Nye of Team Gates Carbon Drive traveled to western Colorado to compete in the 18 Hours of Fruita last weekend. Racing on their belt drive singlespeeds against geared competitors, the speedy duo won the two-man category. Lucking recounts the winning race strategy below.
Taylor Nye and I hoped for a podium spot, but that seemed optimistic given that we were racing our single-speeds against geared teams. We drove out Friday so we would have time to set up camp and get in a couple of laps and determine our gearing, settling on a 46 x 26 sprocket setup. It’s a relatively flat course with two punchy climbs. The rest is winding single- and double-track through sage and juniper bushes while skirting the twisty edge of Highline Lake. There were no long flat sections. Perfect for a single speed.
As the sun set on tent-town we got 2-3 hours of sleep before waking for the midnight start. Taylor was going for the hole-shot and had a great starting position, but the race director pulled the old switcheroo and started the race backwards, so Taylor started at the back of the pack. The race began and Taylor hammered like crazy and came through in 2nd position in the 2-man category after the first lap.
The night laps were tough because there was no wind and the course was dusty with lots of ambient dust in the air, making it difficult to pick our lines. We chased the leaders and caught them 7 laps in. We continued on through the night, morning, and afternoon knocking out fast laps with no mechanicals. The Spot Rockers gobbled up the twisty trails that became more wash-boarded by the lap, the TRP Dash Carbon brakes allowed us to wait until the last possible second to scrub speed before diving into a corner, the Lazer Nirvana helmets kept our noggins cool and protected, the Primal kits kept us comfortable all day, the Crank Brothers cockpit parts ensured that we were dialed for ergonomic efficiency, and of course the Gates Carbon drive required no maintenance all day even in the billowing dust.
With fast transitions we were able to lap the field by the mid-afternoon and finish in first place with 32 laps completed in 18 hours. That worked out to 117 miles per person. Not too shabby for a couple of single-speeders! We were wrecked afterward and enjoyed our sleeping bags greatly.
It was a wonderful event with fun competitors and hosts. It’s great to be part of a sport where you can go out on the course and be competitive and polite at the same time, then come back and hang out to swap stories when it’s all said and done.”
Congrats to Tim and Taylor.