Fixed 42, the unofficial fixed gear world championships. This was our second year and this time we had a new team, ready to cut their teeth in a 600 strong field, filled with the very best fixed gear riders the world has to offer...
Day 1 - Friday
Friday got off to a good start with a forgotten passport and an over weight bike box. Spirits unshaken we shimmied through security to enjoy a 6am beer in Spoons, although it was filled to the rafters with Rugby players in the opening stages of a stag do. Freshly lubricated and slightly deaf we waited to board our plane and immediately spotted some friendly faces; Ben, Owen and Dan from East London Fixed. Like us they'd decided to book a flight at an ungodly hour and looked eager to jump on the plane and rest. The flight itself was uneventful except for the lack of beer, caused by the aforementioned stag do that had boarded the plane with us and proceeded to drink it dry.
In Berlin the sun was shinning and Tegel airport greeted us like an old friend. Flying in to meet us here from Zurich was Jan, our Swiss rider. Grinning from ear to ear it was fantastic to see him again. That made seven team members out of a total nine. A bus and a train journey later and we were outside our hostel. This place was huge and cavernous, like a converted school or factory, nestled between the Spree and Warschauer Straße station. We couldn't really have hoped for a better location and our eyes grew when we learned that it had not only a swimming pool, but also a sauna!
Having discovered that our rooms wouldn't be available till 3pm we decided to build our bikes, store our luggage and go on a mini adventure. Joining us before we left was Perry our 8th team member. First stop, Goldsprint, to purchase sprockets and lock-rings and then on to Sahara Imbiss for some lunch...
After a quick shower back at the hostel we headed out again, this time riding straight for the much talked about Tempelhof Airfield. For a few members of the team this was their first time in Berlin so we couldn't really resist showing them this epic location and riding up and down it's vast landing strips a few times. It also happened to be the location of Fixed Days, a series of events organised by Track Mob Berlin, FxD BLN and others during the Fixed42 weekend. We arrived just in time for the group ride and bumped into fellow London riders, Michael, Christine, and their friends.
The group ride left swiftly with little to no warning leaving us no option but to chase it down until we were part of the main pack. It was great to see people there from all over the world, a true fixed family riding together and filling the streets en route to our final location, Backyard, for a party.
Day 2 - Saturday
Kit Day and waiting for us outside the hostel was Mitch the final member of the team to join us in Berlin. Now we were nine, and all proudly emblazoned with our new team logo. With this in mind we immediately went for a ride and got pulled over by the police. This sounds bad and it was, but the crime was relatively minor. The excitement of having a full team, riding together in kit went to our heads somewhat, so we naively took over an empty road, three abreast, with some of us brandishing phones to capture the spectacle. Thankfully Vroni, our only German speaking team member, cooled the situation and we got away with a warning. Thank fuck for that we thought and cautiously we continued, carefully making our way to breakfast at the Steel Vintage Bikes cafe.
Steel Vintage Bikes, the LMNH of Berlin. Great shop, beautiful bikes, awful cafe! Let's just say, don't turn up with more than two friends. Finally we received the food and drinks we'd ordered, had a look around their beautiful shop, then headed off. Leading us was Theo, newest member of the team, armed with a Garmin loaded with a 40km route around Berlin. We cruised around for ages stopping in parks and bumping into other teams doing the same.
Around midday we stumbled upon what looked like a riot or a protest but which turned out to be Hertha BSC Berlin football fans marching to a game. Everything about it was peaceful and we watched in awe as they passed by, along with their police escort, leaving a trail of debris in their wake.
Sortly afterwards we bumped into DOOM CC a British team from Nottingham and tried to help them with directions to Templehof Airfield, before heading to a petrol station to pick up some refreshments. With a stash of bottles and some pretzels we found a bench and chilled, sharing stories while watching Vroni perfect her hands free track stands.
With time ticking on we decided to hit the road, heading straight for Backyard once again to pick up our registration packs. By 6pm we were back in the hostel setting up our bikes for the big day ahead, then it was off to the swimming pool for a quick splash #fixedbeersswimteam and a quick session in the sauna before bed.
Day 3 - Sunday
Race day and an early start with cucumber jokes to calm the nerves and our friends Clash Racing waiting for us ouside. At Hauptbahnhof station we stopped for coffee and a toilet break and met loads of other teams including a couple of dudes who were interested in buying one of our t-shirts. After a bit of a wait on the platform it was time for bike Jenga, as everyone and their bike attempted to board the train, stash their precious ride and find somewhere to chill.
Like last year the weather in Ludwigsfelde was beautiful but incredibly hot. So it made sense that we were all wearing white team t-shirts to keep cool before zipping ourselves into our new skin suits. Everyone was a little jittery so we found a spot in the shade and made ourselves comfortable taking turns walking back and forth to the loos or riding up and down a near by road. Everything was going remarkably smoothly until we suffered a puncture, which on the face of it wouldn't seem particularly dramatic unless the puncture was to Mitch's bike which was running tubs. We ran around franticly trying to find a solution finally finding help from the 5th Floor and 8bar crews. Huge thanks goes to Aoife Doherty and Chris who between them saved the day.
Mitch was now fully operational but as you can imagine, holding his breath and praying that the fix would hold throughout the race. As we gridded up the heat was awful, not helped by the occasional puncture from over inflated tyres, cooking in the sun. We stood, sat and even crouched for half an hour waiting, waiting, until finally, we set off...
Once again Fixed42 delivered, with the men's team making it safely across the line without injury and managing to place in the top 250 out of just over 400 riders. Dale our team manager lead from the front placing 90th with Jan just behind him and Theo our newbie showing a staggering performance having started on the grid amongst the 39/42 km/h yellow riders.
Post race it was time to chill with Mark our man on the ground arriving right on time with a bag full of ice cold beers sent to Berlin especially by our sponsor Fitbeer. We stripped off, chucked our white t-shirts on and shared our experience of the race with the other British teams, DoomCC and London Pistons. Refreshed and perhaps a little broken we cruised back to the hostel, had a shower, grabbed some food and a few beers and let the evening unfold...
Dale 90th | Time - 00:58:22
Jan 106th | Time - 01:00:15
Theo 109th | Time - 01:00:16
Aaron 147th | Time - 01:00:39
Mitch 186th | Time - 01:02:33
Perry 235th | Time - 01:04:36
Stephen 239th | Time - 01:04:56
Vroni 40th | Time - 01:16:02
Fixed Beers #1 - 20th
Fixed Beers #2 - 32nd