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  1. #1
    meatier showers
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    Fat55 on a 69 SS

    Oakridge, Oregon's inaugural Fat55 Mountain Bike Marathon happened yesterday (Sept. 18, 2010). I contested the event on my custom 2002 Vulture singlespeed, originally built as a 26"x26" wheeled, 5" travel "all mountain" SS. I've since run it as a 96er (or 69er, call it what you want) with and without front suspension. For a long event like the Fat55, I put my Reba Race with remote lockout on the bike.

    Umarth suggested I review the experience here, so here it is.

    They say most of the benefit of the big wheel is at the front of the bike and most of the benefit of the smaller wheel is at the back of the bike. This is true, but I've got to say that except for really tight switchbacks, I think I prefer a full-on 29er. Perhaps I should mention I've got a 29er On-One Inbred (which I've run both SS and 1x8) and a 29" Salsa Big Mama (set up 1x8). I guess I've become used to the way these bikes handle. I haven't ridden the Vulture in quite a while. It beat me up a bit.

    The weather didn't help. It rained here the week previous to the race as well as race day. Roots and rocks lend traction when dry but do the opposite when wet. The back end of the Vulture felt like it was bouncing all over the place. I think that's because I wasn't used to how short the bike is. I remember how much I used to love the feeling of 16.5" chainstays. Maybe I'm just getting old (turning 57 in November).

    Here's my GPS track:
    http://connect.garmin.com/activity/49565342
    I got off course at about mile 11 so added about 3 miles and 15 minutes to the event. After that, I knew I was out of it so just finished for the experience. Most years September is the best month of the year to ride in Oregon and I wish the course had been more typical. I think I would have enjoyed the bike and the experience more. As it is, I'm saving my pennies so Vulture can build me a new sled... it'll be 29er all the way... maybe titanium... {dream}.

    Anyway, the upshot is I find my 29ers more stable, predictable and easy to ride. I'm glad I made the switch to wagon wheels. I'm 6'3", 200". Next year I'll probably race geared -- I think that way I've got a chance at finishing in the money. But today I'm just happy I can say I finished such a grueling event aboard a singlespeed.

    --sParty
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    Quote Originally Posted by riverrat
    Jaybo... quit *****ing and move to Texas

  2. #2
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    good writeup, and good job!
    that's impressive for your age, or any age for that matter.

    I never really liked the thought of the 69er. It just seems like you have twice the characteristics to get used to and predict. I feel the same way about mixing and matching tires, so i guess i'm probably odd man out on this.

  3. #3
    meatier showers
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    Quote Originally Posted by ISuckAtRiding
    ...
    that's impressive for your age...
    Thanks. Only my body is 57.

    --sParty
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    you wanted to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by riverrat
    Jaybo... quit *****ing and move to Texas

  4. #4
    openwound
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    Congrats on finishing. Sounds like a nice ride, despite the slick roots. There had to be some nice bits of dirt in there somewhere... Though we just got our first taste of rain today it wasn't enough to improve the trails. They're still hard as rock.

    As for getting used to 29-inch wheels, I was thinking the same thing today. At first the big wheels felt, well, big. But now that I've gotten used to it, they just feel right (or feel just right, take your pick). And my poor bianchi just sits.

  5. #5
    Ovaries on the Outside
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    I was out on Larison Creek before the racers stormed through. Bad time to try a "new" ride. Worst time in Oregon to ride is the transition from dry and hauling ass to wet, slick and muddy. I was hoping you'd like it because the vulture is pretty sweet.

    Couple Oregon specific questions...

    I think there are four switchbacks at the top of Larison that I just look at and get off the bike. Can you get around them? You might have to give me a switchback tutorial.

    How'd you get up the Wall? I rode a Cross Country-the Wall-Aubrey loop and the Wall ended up be an intense walk. What gearing do you use for your SS longer distance rides?

    Nice work on the ride. I told my girlfriend and one of riding buddies about it and I think they are setting their fitness goals towards riding it next year. Hopefully it will be better advertised and not cost 125. We got ride of some debris and sawed away a couple branches on our way down.

    If you are going to be in town soon, I probably owe you a beer.

  6. #6
    meatier showers
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    I was out on Larison Creek before the racers stormed through. Bad time to try a "new" ride. Worst time in Oregon to ride is the transition from dry and hauling ass to wet, slick and muddy. I was hoping you'd like it because the vulture is pretty sweet.

    Couple Oregon specific questions...

    I think there are four switchbacks at the top of Larison that I just look at and get off the bike. Can you get around them? You might have to give me a switchback tutorial.

    How'd you get up the Wall? I rode a Cross Country-the Wall-Aubrey loop and the Wall ended up be an intense walk. What gearing do you use for your SS longer distance rides?

    Nice work on the ride. I told my girlfriend and one of riding buddies about it and I think they are setting their fitness goals towards riding it next year. Hopefully it will be better advertised and not cost 125. We got ride of some debris and sawed away a couple branches on our way down.

    If you are going to be in town soon, I probably owe you a beer.
    Part of my problem with my Vulture is I put a Bontrager Duster TLR rim on the back. But I'm still running tubes. Since I have to pump 100# of air into the thing in order to seat the bead, I do NOT want to risk a rear flat. So I keep the rear tire pumped up to like, 50#. This does not make for a comfortable chair for epic rides.

    I need to find a solution for this, lest I never ride this bike on rides over 10 miles at a time again.

    Larison Creek Trail was slipperly as hell. The rock hard back tire and micro-short chainstays didn't help matters.

    LC Trail's upper switchbacks offer excellent opportunities for death. There are several I don't even attempt. I think I can usually nail about half of them. I'm not bad at switchbacks, up or down. But I don't think I cleaned a single one of 'em during Saturday's race. Being 40 miles into the race at that point, I wasn't exactly feeling fresh.

    The wall gains about 1000' in a mile. It's sick. I pushed my singlespeed up it faster than the geared guy behind me in his granny. And he walked part of it, too. Nuthin' you can do about it. I honestly found myself wondering if bringing a pair of running shoes to change into at the bottom (and out of at the top), plus finding a clean way to affix my bike to my hydropack, so I could RUN up the thing might be fastest. In any case, it's hideous.

    Knowing the wall was there, plus the final Larison Rock climb (1850' gain in 4 miles), I under geared, and I'm mighty glad I did. Ran a 34x22x26". There were times I wished I'd had a 24t cog on.

    Thanks for doing the trail maintenance on LC Trail.

    Ninkasi Brewing Co. is our racing team's sponsor this year. I always have a keg in my kegerator at home (Cowhead Ranch, Creswell). You're always welcome for a fresh draft brew and you owe nuthin'. Thanks just the same. But we ought to ride together one of these days. I've only done Bunchgrass Trail once this year... looks like we may not get another chance before the snow flies. Heading to Moab / Fruita / GJ in a week for a 12-day road trip.

    --sParty
    disciplesofdirt.org
    Remember who
    you wanted to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by riverrat
    Jaybo... quit *****ing and move to Texas

  7. #7
    CB2
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    Good job.
    At 5'7", 135 lbs, you'd think the idea of a 69'r or even a 650b would be more appealing to me, but like you, I'm accustom to the bigger wheels, so why compromise?

  8. #8
    Ovaries on the Outside
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus
    Part of my problem with my Vulture is I put a Bontrager Duster TLR rim on the back. But I'm still running tubes. Since I have to pump 100# of air into the thing in order to seat the bead, I do NOT want to risk a rear flat. So I keep the rear tire pumped up to like, 50#. This does not make for a comfortable chair for epic rides.

    I need to find a solution for this, lest I never ride this bike on rides over 10 miles at a time again.

    Larison Creek Trail was slipperly as hell. The rock hard back tire and micro-short chainstays didn't help matters.

    LC Trail's upper switchbacks offer excellent opportunities for death. There are several I don't even attempt. I think I can usually nail about half of them. I'm not bad at switchbacks, up or down. But I don't think I cleaned a single one of 'em during Saturday's race. Being 40 miles into the race at that point, I wasn't exactly feeling fresh.

    The wall gains about 1000' in a mile. It's sick. I pushed my singlespeed up it faster than the geared guy behind me in his granny. And he walked part of it, too. Nuthin' you can do about it. I honestly found myself wondering if bringing a pair of running shoes to change into at the bottom (and out of at the top), plus finding a clean way to affix my bike to my hydropack, so I could RUN up the thing might be fastest. In any case, it's hideous.

    Knowing the wall was there, plus the final Larison Rock climb (1850' gain in 4 miles), I under geared, and I'm mighty glad I did. Ran a 34x22x26". There were times I wished I'd had a 24t cog on.

    Thanks for doing the trail maintenance on LC Trail.

    Ninkasi Brewing Co. is our racing team's sponsor this year. I always have a keg in my kegerator at home (Cowhead Ranch, Creswell). You're always welcome for a fresh draft brew and you owe nuthin'. Thanks just the same. But we ought to ride together one of these days. I've only done Bunchgrass Trail once this year... looks like we may not get another chance before the snow flies. Heading to Moab / Fruita / GJ in a week for a 12-day road trip.

    --sParty
    I've never done Bunchgrass, so maybe we have an option there, if you don't mind waiting. A lot. If not, let's at least get a few beers at Ninkasi.

    Thanks for the information on endurance gearing in Oakridge. I am hoping to start hitting up longer rides next year, so ISAR is likely to get an order this winter.

    Have a good time in Grand Junction. I like it, even if Brock doesn't.

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