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  1. #1
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    Is a SS Truly XC worhthy for overall results

    I just built my first single speed several months ago because I wanted something different to reignite my desire to MTB and race after a 2 year hiatus. I've really well in the ultra distance stuff with a 1st place solo overall in my first 24hr and a second solo overall in my last 12hr a couple weeks ago. This weekend I did my first two races under 12hrs on the single speed, two XC multi lap races about 1:40 each. I was the fastest SS by a few mins in both races but man did I get my ass kicked by all of the pro's, top couple experts and top juniors. I felt I picked nearly the perfect gearing for both races but damn it was frustrating watching my rivals walk away on a few long -2% grades as I just spun out. Then the constant high pace made it tough to recover without giving up spots after a few of the really steep kickers. As a person who always looked forward to my overall result among all classes, am looking for to much out of the SS or do I need to just get that much faster to compensate.

    I get me wrong I'm not whining, in fact I've found a whole new sense of motivation to start training with some kind of plan and purpose. I was just wondering what you guys who are more into this short XC style of racing think about the SS in grand scheme of overall results.

    Thanks for any input

  2. #2
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    I think it really depends on the race. I've been to a few where guys in the SS class outrun the experts. Usually they're at the top end of the Sport field and lower to midway up the expert ranks.

    All the ones I've been to where they are the fastest they run a huge gear and walk (run actually) the steepest hills. I was at one where a guy ran a 42x16 gearing for the race and just ran every hill.

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    I enjoy riding SS but u have to accept that in a race event your likely to be in a less than optimal gear more than the time spent in the right gear. From an analogy perspective you would never expect a sports car with only one gear to outperform a 7 speed gearbox with a double clutch transmission so it's pretty unrealistic to think you can hang with geared riders of similar fitness and skill capability on a SS. SS is great for its purity but all other things held equal you are at a significant disadvantage vs. a 2 x 10 or 1 x 11 drivetrain.

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    Is a SS Truly XC worhthy for overall results

    Hey man I think I raced a little bit with you today at granite bay. I was the guy in the Folsom Bike / Giant kit I asked what gear you were running (34x17) and you passed me when we got jammed up by those two girls in that rocky choke and we had to run around them. I got shelled today off the back of the lead pro group and was just out there getting the miles in....you probably noticed how I wasn't in too great of a hurry to make moves around slower traffic! ;-)

    Anyway, for years, I was exclusively a SS racer. Short stuff like today and some 8 hrs and the odd hundo here and there. When I first started, I was in Sport SS, then spent some time in SS Exp getting my but kicked, then eventually got to a place where you seem to be now. I was winning local SS Exp races pretty regularly and needed a new challenge....so on select courses where I thought I could hang with the geared guys I made it my goal to try and get as fast as them but on a SS.

    In Granite Bay TBF races I got to the point where I was able to get on the podium a few times on my SS in Pro geared class and if I couldn't get on the podium I would at least be mixing it up throughout the race. I would run a big gear out there...36x15 one time and 36x16 usually...so I could stay with them on the those long flat sections. I would always have to be sure I was right in their back tire when we'd exit the single track and draft like crazy off the them. This would actually get me a bit of recovery while they did all the work and then when we'd hit the single track climb again to the bench, I would attack and attack every lap.

    There was another local guy named Justin who was doing similar 2 years ago as well. We would also race SS in our Pro Open geared class at our weekly Wednesight night series here (prairie city). Justin I think got 2nd overall for the 12 race series on his SS one year.

    Anyway, a SS rider CAN be competitive in these short races given the right course the correct gearing and the right Training specifically for it and drafting the geared guys on the flats is the key.

    I've been racing gears a bit more lately (such as today) and I actually think I am slower sometimes.....as I'm trying to apply force in a way that that is different than how I've operated these past few years. Definitely a new challenge. I'll probably switch back and forth between SS and geared depending on what I feel like doing at the time.

  5. #5
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    Yeah that was me on the Orange SS. First thanks for the very clear and super informative response especially from someone who's been in the exact same position I'm in now. I'll see about getting some taller gearing before the next round and give it another go. My weakest part of the whole race is that first part before we get off the asphalt and climb the single track. Me being a 100 mile ultra runner and 24hr Mtb soloist I just can't seem to get comfortable pushing that hard right off the start, it fells like I won't recover and I'll hurt my overall finish time. I must have been like 25th-30th starting that first climb after every passed me on the flat but like always everyone is just in a hurry to get to the single track first. I must have passed over 10 riders that first climb which was nice because several years ago when I last did this race I remember there wasn't as many second lines to use for passing. I'll be sure to do some simulation all out starts followed by a fast two hr ride. Only problem is my local trails are nothing like granite bay so I may have to opt for the road bike

    Also it's always good to find another fast guy who can keep his sense of humor about him at that pace. Referring to my "your not so bad at this MTBing stuff" I'm never breathing to hard to not flex my sense of humor mid race

    Yeah that bottle neck was kinda odd with the extra riders standing right off to the side. I think it was two 2 lap riders who screwed up the two women 3-4 lap racers as we came plowing in. Yeah I was definitely in more of a hurry to get past the lappers then some but felt I gave lots of warning as I aproched and gave thank you to newly everyone I passed, I hope the people I passed felt the same. I had my buddy Leif in the expert class somewhere ahead of me and I knew he couldn't be to far ahead so I wanted to be sure to push right to the end just incase there was a chance I could catch him.

    Since I never saw you again his did you end up finishing?

  6. #6
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    In my local series, the SS racers are some of the fastest for sure. I race CAT 2 and commonly get passed by the SS guys who start a bit behind me. I have found that many of the SS racers are guys who finished out of the CAT 2 group, but are mid pack finishers in the Cat 1 group.

    Most of these guys crush it all the time. When I'm gassed pushing hard during a race and some guy on a SS goes cruising by, I realize how hard core they are.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by RojoRacing53 View Post
    I'll see about getting some taller gearing before the next round and give it another go.

    My weakest part of the whole race is that first part before we get off the asphalt and climb the single track.
    Yeah when I was racing SS there, that was always the hardest part too. At the start, I would position myself as much to the front as I could, and would just latch onto wheels and try to get pulled. I'd always try to enter that first climb top 5-ish if possible. The next worst part would always be the long flat section inbetween laps...If there wasn't another geared rider immediately with me, I'd sometimes slow down and let one pass me so I could draft behind him along that section.

    Me being a 100 mile ultra runner and 24hr Mtb soloist I just can't seem to get comfortable pushing that hard right off the start, it fells like I won't recover and I'll hurt my overall finish time.
    Yeah I know what you mean. When I was training specifically for SS, I would work alot on my "repeatability" of hard efforts. Over time, I'd try to reduce the amount of time time I needed to recover from the short 2 - 3 minute explosive blasts that pushing a big gear out there requires. You need a lot of short, bright and fast matches in your matchbook.


    Since I never saw you again his did you end up finishing?
    Oh I did terrible. I got like 7th out of 9th in Pro...with a few of the top experts (and you!) beating my time. I did a 60 mile road race the day before, so my legs were already zapped, and I just looked at this weekend as a good training block for down the road. It's a bit of a kick to the ego right now because I am used to being a bit more competitive out there, but I'm trying to be faster later in the year than I usually am at the sacrifice of some fitness right now. I have to keep telling myself it's only February and I'm looking down the road., er trail. Plus I raced a full cyclocross season (on the single speed) and trained really hard for that....then in December I had an achilles and knee injury flare up so I spent a lot of late December and most of January just pedaling easy recovering from that. So I have a lot of excuses for sure haha

    Good luck in the next one...I think I'm out of town for it, but if I'm there I'll say hello if I see ya again.

  8. #8
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    I raced CCCX the day before knowing that I'd be flat for tbf but like you I want to be in top shape in a few months when races like Boggs 8hr and some of the 24hrs come around. These XC races are the closest I ever get to interval training so I look at it as two days of hard training with a lot of fast people so I can be faster next time, just wish it didn't cost me $50 for said training session, oh well at least I got a cool beanie

  9. #9
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    Is a SS Truly XC worthy for overall results?

    Probably not. Well financed Pros can use whatever gear combination they want: Single ring, XX, triple up front, 11-32, 11-34, ultegra road cassette, etc. They use whatever is fastest and it is rarely (or never) a single gear in a geared category.
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  10. #10
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    It can be competitive, but will generally cost you some time (although not much if you gear right). I've placed as well as 3rd (pro-utah) racing mine when I was between race bikes.

    I know that Jesse Lalonde won the Chequamegon 40 (overall) on a single speed in 2007, and had a bunch of podiums in the WORS series.

    If you're really in it to win it, the geared bike will usually give you a bit of an edge over a Single Speed, but the SS shouldn't take you out of contention.
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  11. #11
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    2013 - Singlespeed: Pfluginator gets the overall win and SS, too

    Gerry Pflug (Team CF) who will be 45 this year, smashed the field with a time of 7:12:12, five minutes faster than last year's winner, and not only got the singlespeed victory but became the first singlespeed racer ever to win the overall at an NUE Series Race. The four-time champion now leads the series with four straight wins.

    "When I eventually saw Mike in front of me, I could tell he was tired. I shared some words of encouragement and then continued on my way when I caught him. I knew if I could get into the last section of singletrack after checkpoint 5 ahead of Mike, I had a chance of being the overall winner of a NUE Race on a singlespeed," said Pflug. "I did make into the singletrack first and had an absolute blast riding the final eight miles of buffed-out singletrack to the finish. Riding across the finish line in the first overall spot was an awesome feeling and being able to do it on a singlespeed made it even more special."

    Patrick Blair (Adventures for the Cure) finished second in 7:23:51.

    "Just before aid station 2, I was telling Spreng that I was super happy to be with him and KC and that there was no way that Ron or Gerry would catch me now that I was with the best geared racers when, out of nowhere, Gerry zooms past us on an uphill! Spreng and I tried to catch back up to Gerry and his guy but we just couldn't do it. After aid three, I separated from Spreng. Gerry was on fire and racing at a different level!"

    Ron Harding (Trestle Bridge Racing) finished third at 7:27:23 with Nathan Annon (PRO Mountain Outfitters/Yeti Cycles) finishing 7:40:36 and Trevor Rockwell (Team Noah Foundation/Decorah Bicycles/Twin Six) at 7:43:01

  12. #12
    DLd
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    That's amazing. It makes it hard to believe that some people complain about not having enough gears on a 1x11

    Quote Originally Posted by Flucod View Post
    2013 - Singlespeed: Pfluginator gets the overall win and SS, too

    Gerry Pflug (Team CF) who will be 45 this year, smashed the field with a time of 7:12:12, five minutes faster than last year's winner, and not only got the singlespeed victory but became the first singlespeed racer ever to win the overall at an NUE Series Race. The four-time champion now leads the series with four straight wins.

    "When I eventually saw Mike in front of me, I could tell he was tired. I shared some words of encouragement and then continued on my way when I caught him. I knew if I could get into the last section of singletrack after checkpoint 5 ahead of Mike, I had a chance of being the overall winner of a NUE Race on a singlespeed," said Pflug. "I did make into the singletrack first and had an absolute blast riding the final eight miles of buffed-out singletrack to the finish. Riding across the finish line in the first overall spot was an awesome feeling and being able to do it on a singlespeed made it even more special."

    Patrick Blair (Adventures for the Cure) finished second in 7:23:51.

    "Just before aid station 2, I was telling Spreng that I was super happy to be with him and KC and that there was no way that Ron or Gerry would catch me now that I was with the best geared racers when, out of nowhere, Gerry zooms past us on an uphill! Spreng and I tried to catch back up to Gerry and his guy but we just couldn't do it. After aid three, I separated from Spreng. Gerry was on fire and racing at a different level!"

    Ron Harding (Trestle Bridge Racing) finished third at 7:27:23 with Nathan Annon (PRO Mountain Outfitters/Yeti Cycles) finishing 7:40:36 and Trevor Rockwell (Team Noah Foundation/Decorah Bicycles/Twin Six) at 7:43:01
    "Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion."-Jack Kerouac

  13. #13
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    Pflug is a monster. He seems to think SS is faster for him than going geared.

    Excerpt from his blog.
    "...I don't think anyone, including myself, can understand how I am a faster rider on a singlespeed than I am on a geared bike, but a singlespeed does seem to be the fastest bike choice for me..."

  14. #14
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    I'd be interested to see how he does in a typical XCO-distance race.

    I realize they are both "XC racing", but endurance XC and the shorter format seem to attract different crowds.

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    It depends where you are trying to race. If you look back a couple of years in the wors series which has national level competition ss bikes have won the overall pro/cat1 multiple times. Jessie lalonde won 8 or 9 races out of 12 on a rigid ss back in 08 or 09. I think to compete at the top level you need to over gear and run the steep stuff.

  17. #17
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    That guys hilarious, It would probably be none stop laughs riding with him.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poncharelli View Post
    Is a SS Truly XC worthy for overall results?

    Probably not. Well financed Pros can use whatever gear combination they want: Single ring, XX, triple up front, 11-32, 11-34, ultegra road cassette, etc. They use whatever is fastest and it is rarely (or never) a single gear in a geared category.
    No they can't. They can run what their sponsor wants to sell.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by DLd View Post
    That's amazing. It makes it hard to believe that some people complain about not having enough gears on a 1x11
    That made me blow a booger right out my nose, Funny stuff!

    I race SS myself and 90% of the courses I am faster on it. But that 10% area that I ride it is not possible, need every gear I can get to make it, up and down. That my friend is why I personally do not care for the 1 x 11. Like I said, if it works in your situation have at it.

  20. #20
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    They can be VERY competitive. Ask the Lalonde bothers.

    Hell, one of them won chequamegon on the SS a few years back. Now they aren't/weren't winning pro XCT events. But they were placing and killing it in general.

    One the longer side of things, plenty of NUE races have been taken by SS riders for the overall.

    For 99% of us, it likely doesn't matter. As we aren't really gunning for any meaningful overall placing in a race the really means anything.

    Ride what you like. The SS isn't going to hold you back as much as you'd think and in some places will be a benefit.

  21. #21
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    Ran a 34-16 setup in my race yesterday which is one tooth taller on the cog vs two weeks ago. I finish the exact same time back from the pro leader but felt I raced a better race and pushed a little harder. I was really happy that over 5 laps my lap times only had a 30 second spead with my fastest being my last lap. Had I entered SS I would have won by 8 mins but I guess I need to just keep at it and close the gap to the pros.

    racing again today but not expecting any PRs with very little sleep and the legs feeling empty.

  22. #22
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    That's some tall gearing, rojo. Was it a flatter course?

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    Quote Originally Posted by phsycle View Post
    That's some tall gearing, rojo. Was it a flatter course?


    Course had one less climb in it but the total ascent per lap was the same and one off the climbs was steeper and a total *****. I had the guys trying to come by me every time I hit that first climb but I'm faster then most when it comes to corners and descents so I can always reel them back in.

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    Race recap from Sundays TBF race:
    I didn't get a chance to swap the 16t cog for the 15t since I didn't get home till midnight so I just relubed the chain reloaded the bike and called it good. Sticking with the 34-16t was a smart move because it worked out perfect for my current fitness on the tbf course. I got a good start and was able to stick with the group for the first mile and found my way into about 10-12th place up the first single track climb. I fell behind on the first climb as I did on every climb on this course because of the new taller gearing. A blue kitted rider came by me so I latched onto his wheel and hung on for dear life, we started cutting through the riders who started to fall off the lead pack. An the end of the first lap we hit that open fast section so I just stuck right on his wheel and let him pull me all the way to start finish. As we cross the line he eased up so I went by have him a pat on the back and said "good job and thanks, now take a break and get on my wheel". At this point there was two riders 4th & 5th overall in front a hundred yards so and I knew if we worked together we could close the gap. After I pulled for a few minutes he said thanks and took over at the front and we were able to catch the two rider mid second lap. After it was the 4 of us in line it brought back memories of racing nose to tail on the motorcycles back in my superbike racing days so I was having a blast to say the least. Traffic was a constant challenge with whoever was at the front of our little train hoping to use the lapped rides as an opportunity to break away from our tight pack of 4. I hung out at the rear of the pack because as a faster rider through the corners but maybe a bit weaker on the climbs I like to let's the riders in front of me pull a small 30-40' gap on a climbs that way I don't push to hard. Then I just reel them in by being smoother through the corners and minimized use of brakes on the descents. If I have someone behind me they tend to get impatient as I let a gap open then pull away leaving then to catch back up on the next climb.

    At the start of the 3rd lap the three riders pulling me eased up because no one wanted to pull so again I took my turn at the front. There's a small swoopy section leading into an asphalt downhill then you have the first climb again and I took a peek back a saw I had opened up a 50' gap so I thought if I could stay at the front on the climb I could continue to pull away in the first few miles of tight trails. That train of though lasted about a minute when two of riders came flying passed me on the asphalt and the third quick to follow on the climb. For the remainder of the third lap it was another game of squeeze past the lapped riders with minimal contact. As the last rider I always said thanks and good job or keep it up was we went past.

    Starting the 4th and final lap there was some words exchanged by my fellow riders since I guess they all know each other, then the white kitted rider who was hanging in third most the time started laying down the power. I slipped into second and spun my ass off down the flat levee. At the end of the levee the guy at point eased up as he approached the narrow single track swoop section so I attacked and opened up another 50' gap. This time I purposely eased up on the short asphalt section and got in the draft after they all sprinted back up to me, I again dove past on the brakes to lead up the climb this time. My initial speed through the first corners gave my a little breathing room so I pedaled hard knowing if I didn't break the group now I was doomed to finish at the rear of this group so it was all or nothing. Despite my best effort the white rider still got me before the top but we had broken away from the red and blue riders. To my surprise the white rider who I thought was the weakest in the bike control department after following him the whole 3rd lap was suddenly a whole new rider keeping much more corner speed and hammering between turns at each opportunity. The pace was fast enough that I had no desire to force a pass so I just hung on and monitored the 100' gap behind us. It only took about 5 mins for the red and blue riders to catch back up. Then we caught a slower rider in a rocky downhill section with multiple line but only one is mainly used. The white rider got stuck and I was able to get by both riders using the high line. I now led the group through the next section where it opens up to some flatter open area but then returns to narrow single track with a quick but steep climb where passing is next to impossible. I made sure to keep the lead heading into the climb and when I labored to get up the hill with my tall gearing I could hear the riders behind me bunch up and try to figure out a way to squeeze past. There was nothing they could do so I led into the next downhill area opening a small gap that was quick consumed as we all start pedaling the next section. The next climb had two lines so two of the riders didn't waste any time and shot past me as quick as they could. With only a couple miles to go our group got hung on with a slower rider when they forget which way was left and the sudden loss of speed left me struggling to regain speed so I was passed by the 4th rider and the three riders left me on the short climb. I worked hard in the next section to close the gap to make sure I was in the draft for the final sprint. In the final 1/4 mile the course goes from a down grade to an easy positive grade and as soon as we made that transition everyone stood up and started sprinting. I tried to go with the other 3 riders but my quads spasmed in protest threatening to cramp so I just eased up and cruised to the finish.

    I won the expert single speed class by a little over 11 mins and the three riders I was battling with were the top three in the 40-49 class. The only riders ahead of our group of 4 was the first three pros which meant we finished in front of 5 pro riders. I think the race would have played out very different had more of the fast High school league riders showed up and pushed the pace faster at the beginning so I'm thankful they were all at home resting for their main event next week. I suspect if I want to hang with the podium finishing pros I'll need that 34-15 gearing and some stronger legs to make use of it on he flats.

    Overall I'm very pleased with my improvements over the weekend and I'll try and keep this momentum going into my next race in two weeks.

    Here's me leading on the 4th lapIs a SS Truly XC worhthy for overall results-39980dda-db9d-4f4f-b51c-9e48346d0539_zpsxghoo1te.jpg

    And here a good shot of the red, white, and blue ridersIs a SS Truly XC worhthy for overall results-b4a9c7e4-6838-4729-8baf-297d11a45cd2_zpsnl3qqe9j.jpg

  25. #25
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    Is a SS Truly XC worhthy for overall results

    Nice work. I may be able to make the next one and maybe i'll race SS and we can work together a bit. Like i said earlier, drafting on all those long flat bits is the key to doing well there on a SS. I haven't raced SS there in over year so I doubt I can currently push the gear i used to out there..but maybe that's ok anyway.

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