Slash isn't just a company, it's a little universe, and part of our universe is Kingdom, a bike and lifestyle company started from inside Slash.
Kingdom doesn't just make damn sexy bikes, it racers them as well. Here's Andre - designer at Slash & founder of Kingdom - running you through what it's like to lock your feet to the pedals of a bike with no brakes and hurtle around a track with 80 other people.
My cleats are too tight, I’m gonna lose time on the start. Over-spun during qualifying; should I change gears? The bib-number was making a little noise in the wind, should I re-pin it? Because you know, aero… *Announcer* “Row 8, #44, Andre Abreu”.
Why are my hands shaking? Who cares, I don’t need them to ride anyway. Wait, I’m wearing gloves, it’s too hot for that. I’m taking them back to my backpack. Is this my starting grid spot? Should my pedal be a little higher? I feel like maybe I could put a little more power into it that way… Why did a dude just sneak into my left? I worked hard for this spot, can you please not cheat? Thank you.
I’m thirsty, should I have drank more water? I feel like my right shoe’s too tight. Is the GoPro on? Can’t see with these ridiculously dark sunglasses. Garmin on? Not making that mistake again, ‘cause if it’s not on Strava… didn’t happen. 10… 9… 8… 7… Tighten the left shoe a little bit to make it even! 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… Doesn’t matter now. *Announcer* “Go!”
We traveled west, and thanks to the Dubai - London mission my brain is a couple of hours ahead of local time. Once I got my race socks and slides at Rapha and got fed, falling asleep early was easy.
Breakfast at 7am, didn’t even need an alarm. It seems early but for some reason, the race’s organization is up and I know that because they messaged me on Instagram. Wait, why is the organization messaging me? Apparently, they saw our post last night and thought I was too fast for the group B qualifying based on that… I’m OK with that, it basically means I race the A qualifying and am automatically qualified for the final.
The nerves went down a bit, now the goals went from having to qualify and not getting lapped in the Final to staying safe in the qualification and not getting lapped in the Final. It’s still 7 hours away though.
Suddenly we’re at the race course. Qualifying is in less than an hour. So much for relaxing after the warm-up. Meh, Qualification is only 5 laps long anyway, that should take like 6-7 minutes, plenty of time to chill after that. I think I’m ready… Should I get pinned now or after warming up? You know what, why not just be ready to race now so I don’t have to worry about anything before the start? Good idea. It seems no one knows if we’re using the starting grid for qualifying or not. Honestly I hope not because I’m #44 which means I’d start last… We’re not! Cool, I’m starting first now, watch me. Now I have no reason to be nervous and I’m as fresh as it gets, this is going to be fun.