Anybody race on a SS?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Anybody race on a SS?

    With the recent addition of MN to the NICA, my high school made a team! I'm super stoked they made one. This means that I'll be racing. I have a few times, but nothing major.

    Anyways, I happen to be looking into buying a SS 29er. I found a used Jamis Dragon One 29er for a good deal locally.

    Do you guys race on your SS? Do you see many other people do it? Will If drag my team down by riding a SS in races? I also have been riding for 4 years, so I'm in pretty good biking shape.

  2. #2
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    I do with good results. If you are a fast rider than you will race fast even on a SS. You may be a tad slower than you otherwise would be on a geared bike but its probably a few seconds per lap depending on the terrain.

    I do see a few others doing it. They are all speeds from slow to pretty fast. Im positive the slow ones aren't slow because of their single gear ratio though...

    Hope this helps.

    And congrats! Find a college with collegiate racing also. Itll make your life better.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by singletrack-sam View Post
    With the recent addition of MN to the NICA, my high school made a team! I'm super stoked they made one. This means that I'll be racing. I have a few times, but nothing major.

    Anyways, I happen to be looking into buying a SS 29er. I found a used Jamis Dragon One 29er for a good deal locally.
    .
    Hate to break it to you, but SS is not allowed in NICA races. Don't know what your budget is, but if you like single speeding find a bike that will go both ways. Salsa El Mariachi 2 maybe.

    Be patient. Once things get rolling with the league there will be shops that will provide a good discount to high school racers.

  4. #4
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    What kinda crap is that???
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  5. #5
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    And yes, lot's of single speeders also race. My son races in the CO league and enjoys riding and racing his single speed in the local races as well. He's got a santa cruz chameleon which works great as a ss and a geared bike.

  6. #6
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    First race on the SS will be Sunday for this slow fat guy.

  7. #7
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    SS FTW - sh*t on all of them!
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  8. #8
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    The no SS rule is to save/protect your joints that are in development during your teenage years. There is no arguing that a SS can be rough on your knees.

    Jamis used to sell a deralleur hanger with the Dragon SS frames. I've always liked that bike and if you can get a hanger for it, then go for it. Make sure there are cable stops for the derailleur housing.

  9. #9
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    No Single Speed racing in H.S. but any kid can sign up for a local race on a S.S. that's stupid! Ski Racing / Snowboarding is hard on the knees also... Dumb!

    Another reason I'm not a fan of NICA. I like the basis of getting kids racing, and run a Jr MTB group myself, but after looking into the NICA have determined there is too many hoops and red tape to go through. Especially living in WI where the WORS series is huge, and the regular MNMTB series is not far behind.

    My advise is to get out and ride as much as you can on whatever you have fun riding on. Afterall we are all doing this for the fun of it! Rock on!

  10. #10
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    Just use a dingle and call your bike a 2 speed.
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  11. #11
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    I race ss up here in New England. I don't win races, but I'm not losing any either. I excel at the tight and twisty, and do well on the hills. Anytime there is a large chunk of dirt road or double track, I start getting dropped. Racing ss is a bigger mental game because you have to read the terrain better to plan passing, and know when to lay it on hard to drop possible future passers.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    Just use a dingle and call your bike a 2 speed.
    The rules state that you need 5 cogs in the back and have a limitation on gear inches - much like junior road races.

    You can run 5 cogs on just about any cassette style singlespeed hub, so as long as you can get a derailleur hanger on that jamis, you'll just need a rear shifter, a compatable rear derailleur and a compatable cassette and some type of chain guide. That will should give you enough to meet the bike standards and afford you some flexibility if you want to switch to singlspeed down the road.

    Assuming that you have a decent local shop, they should be able to help you out with converting the bike to a 1x5 or 1x6 setup. Assuming that you can put a hanger on the frame... if you cant do that, then you're dead in the water for the scholastic series... you won't be allowed to compete.

    For any other races, however, you certainly can race a singlespeed. It's far less of a handicap than most realize. Personally, I think I'm faster in most situations on my SS than I am on my geared bike. As such, I race my SS almost exclusively.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loudpawlz View Post
    Hate to break it to you, but SS is not allowed in NICA races. Don't know what your budget is, but if you like single speeding find a bike that will go both ways. Salsa El Mariachi 2 maybe.

    Be patient. Once things get rolling with the league there will be shops that will provide a good discount to high school racers.
    Well that's really disappointing to hear. Luckily, 2 local shops sponsor it and give discounts. Including Penn Cycle, which sol the first Trek. Well at least now I can get a decent geared 29er with the discount.

    Thank you for the replies, everyone!

  14. #14
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    Yaaaa! and always fun to pass people going uphill.

  15. #15
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    I started racing SS this year and while I've always competed in an SS specific class, I pass plenty of geared racers on course.

    Another frame option is the Niner SIR9 - comes with an RD hanger & EBB so you can easily switch.

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    I have an el mariachi that i just built up and its a lot of fun. So much fun that I might have to sell my gf rig that isnt seeing much riding time.

  17. #17
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    I've been riding/racing SS since I started mountain biking in '09.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by blum585 View Post
    Another reason I'm not a fan of NICA. I like the basis of getting kids racing, and run a Jr MTB group myself, but after looking into the NICA have determined there is too many hoops and red tape to go through. Especially living in WI where the WORS series is huge, and the regular MNMTB series is not far behind.
    What hoops and red tape are you referring to?

  19. #19
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    This recent thread in the XC Racing Forum on SS Racing should be of interest to you if you are considering racing SS:
    http://forums.mtbr.com/xc-racing-tra...st-789337.html


    (as for me, I've been racing SS exclusively since 2008. first in SS Sport class, then SS Expert class, now in my local Pro Open classes)
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  20. #20
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    Yes people race on single speeds all the time. All I really have left are single speeds anymore.

    From what I've found is that I'm faster on the rolling hills on the SS. If it gets really steep the SS makes you work, but your still faster. Depending upon the downhill sections you can still be competitive. For flat terrain is where I feel the single speed falls apart.

  21. #21
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    I've been uphill race with SS.

    What I hate there's always flat and descend before the non-stop climb which makes me on the last when start - I mean I am the in the last position real last. Although it's fun to pass those slow mo geared riders, but still hate to ride behind those tiny geared which kill my legs because lack of momentum.

    And the good thing there's always people who finish later than me.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loudpawlz View Post
    What hoops and red tape are you referring to?
    You can do all of this: Start a League – NICA
    Team Starter Kit – NICA

    http://www.nationalmtb.org/blog/wp-c...ss2.16.121.pdf (Page 12 is probably the toughest hurdle - $10,000 for startup...)

    OR you can take kids here: Wisconsin Off Road Series | America's largest state MTB race series where the Jr Racing is already strong (In Wisconsin).

    Again, I fully believe in the vision and basis around the NICA, in certain locations it's much needed and welcomed. As a USSA Lic Alpine Coach / Official I am well versed in what it takes to run an athletic program.

    The ultimate goal should be to get kids off the couch and riding trails! You know - real life videogame type stuff!

    Regarding the original post of SS not being allowed - I don't get it, with gears kids can pick harder ratio's (and many do pick hard ratio's cause of the perception of being faster).

    At anyrate get out - enjoy with trails while pedaling - it's awesome! - Quote from a kid last night while leading the Jr Group Ride "The name of the un named trail we just rode should be called AWESOMENESS" Great Stuff for sure!

  23. #23
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    Is there usually SS classes in all mtb races? I would love to race and see where I stand competition wise?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brooks424 View Post
    Is there usually SS classes in all mtb races? I would love to race and see where I stand competition wise?
    I've raced in both ss only and sport classes. As long as there isn't too much flat open road, I do ok in both classes. As I said earlier, the long open areas kill me on my ss.

    I have found that there are some seriously fast riders in the ss open classes. I've raced guys that push gear ratios so big that my legs seize up just thinking about it.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brooks424 View Post
    Is there usually SS classes in all mtb races? I would love to race and see where I stand competition wise?
    Then just get in there with everyone else and don't bother about whether there's a specific SS class.
    After all, it's just times that count.

  26. #26
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    Yeah you wouldn't have to ask for a SS class, you can race with the sport or expert class, whichever you wanted to. In TN the SS normally start and run in conjunction with the sport and clydesdale classes.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loudpawlz View Post
    SS is not allowed in NICA races
    There must be another reason than to protect the knees because that rule cannot achieve that goal. An SS bike can have lower than a geared bikes's lowest gear, and a person may not shift on a geared bike. Good morning America! Please wake up already!

    And there is no arguing that there is no science on whether high-gear biking is bad for a developing knee. Is sport in general bad for developing knees?

    Ali

  28. #28
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    The start is EVERYTHING! Gear selection is critical.

    This is my first season racing (2 races so far) and I have been riding the SS against geared riders in CAT 3.

    I had a very positive experience in my first race and did pretty well (6th out of 22). The course was about 8 miles and was designed very well, spreading out the riders at the start with some wide hairpin turns and then dumping us into single track. The SS was rocket fast off the line, I went moto style sideways around the traffic at the first hairpin and I was in first place for about 2 miles until I hit a long 2 mile flat section. I spun out (32/18 Gearing) and was passed pretty heavily. Made up ground decending and climbing but ended up 6th. SS was only a slight disadvantage on the flats.

    My second race was terrible. The course start was basically a sprint of about 40 riders to the Single track without much to spread out the pack. I geared for the Salt Flats this time (32/15) to make sure I wouldn't get smoked on the flats. I pre-rode the course and averaged 2 minutes faster than the winning time last year. The course started very cramped and I got caught up behind some very slow guys. I ended up having to climb a nasty hill too slowly at the start and wasn't able to pass easily due to not having enough horsepower to turn the 32/15. A couple of times the 5 or 6 guys ahead of me in my group couldn't clear a couple of techy sections and I literally had to dismount and run my bike past them off the trail because they wouldn't get the heck over. By the time I got past the traffic I was probably a mile behind the leaders. I was so blown out from climbing in too tall of a gear It took the rest of the lap to get my mojo back. I rode at the edge of out of control for the next 3 miles and right when I thought I might be catching the lead group I flatted. SS was a disadvantage if you get a bad start and get caught in traffic.

    I learned a valuable SS Race Lesson. Starting position is everything! Beat the slowpokes to the single track under all circumstances!
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by blum585 View Post
    No Single Speed racing in H.S. but any kid can sign up for a local race on a S.S. that's stupid!
    By the same logic, why require helmets in races since any kid can go to the local DJs and do backflip barspins without a helment? It comes down to this: Race officials worry about the things they can control, and not about the things they canít. They control who enters their races and what equipment they use, they canít control what other race organizers may choose to allow.

    For what itís worth, when I was coming up in road racing, there were gear limits for age group contestants as well. Most of the stronger kids could easily grind a larger gear than was allowed by the rules, but were forced to sit and spin. The same rationale was given, to save the knees during developmental years. I personally have no expertise in this area and canít say whether this is folklore or based on medical evidence.

    I mean seriously, are there statistics kept for knee injuries during age group races with and without gear limits? Are studies being done where kids who race with big gears are followed through their life to see if they have knee problems five or ten years later compared to those who are limited by the rules?

    I guess who get my drift: Iím sympathetic to your view that the rules may not be good ones, but Iím also sympathetic to the race officials who are trying to do their best with the knowledge, science, or folklore they possess.
    Last edited by raganwald; 06-01-2012 at 09:11 AM.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2FewDaysOnTrail View Post
    I learned a valuable SS Race Lesson. Starting position is everything! Beat the slowpokes to the single track under all circumstances!
    In Ontario we have a dedicated SS class and we also allow SSers to race against geared riders. The SSers race in their own wave, so they donít need to sprint for the singletrack against the entire field, just against their fellow SSers. Iíve raced my SS against the gearheads, but Iím just about the only one. All the strong SSers race against each other, and if you can podium in SS in Ontario, you can podium in your age group as well.

    The problem, as youíve discovered, is that SS really isnít compatible with gears on single track. If you get stuck on a hill behind someone sitting in the spin cycle, you are losing major valuable time. If youíre in a pack going through rolling terrain, the gearies block you from using your momentum properly on the downhills and you canít pop up and over the uphill on the other side. I think you know this already, you sound like you have more experience than I do.

    The point Iím clumsily trying to make is that in our races, most of the SSers can post faster lap times racing against other SSers than racing against geared riders and race with less frustration.

    Win or lose, it simply isnít as fun to race against geared bikes as it is to race against other single speeds, where you are matched against riders who have a much more similar style. Iím not saying you arenít having fun or canít have fun, just that itís even more fun to race against people who arenít cramping your style.

  31. #31
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    We have SS class but its afternoon races, but you can race a SS in any catergory here as long as you fit in age ways. I need to race mornings so i race in age catergory.
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    I am 100% convinced that on any given day the best person will win - With or Without Gears. Are there disadvantages to being on S.S. You Bet - but the best will still win.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by raganwald View Post

    Win or lose, it simply isnít as fun to race against geared bikes as it is to race against other single speeds, where you are matched against riders who have a much more similar style. Iím not saying you arenít having fun or canít have fun, just that itís even more fun to race against people who arenít cramping your style.
    I make my own fun when I end up stuck behind gearies. I try to hit log rides, difficult lines, and/or rock lines that'll keep my speed in check, and the fun factor high. I know this doesn't help me win, but I'm a midpack racer anyways. I have fun, and it gets those around me excited too.

    Quote Originally Posted by blum585 View Post
    I am 100% convinced that on any given day the best person will win - With or Without Gears. Are there disadvantages to being on S.S. You Bet - but the best will still win.
    This. 100%.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by dubthang View Post
    I make my own fun when I end up stuck behind gearies. I try to hit log rides, difficult lines, and/or rock lines that'll keep my speed in check, and the fun factor high. I know this doesn't help me win, but I'm a midpack racer anyways. I have fun, and it gets those around me excited too.
    I get plenty of opportunity to do that on group rides, as the gearies outnumber the <strike>chosen ones</strike> SSers by a huge margion in my neck of the woods. My home trails have a lot of technical, steep climbs with switchbacks, and momentum is a must for doing well. Iím learning to climb them any ways.

    That being said, from my experience racing I think Iíd rather race against SSers than gearies. I ride those difficult lines in any event, but being stuck behind gearies takes away the parts of riding a SS I really enjoy, the flow and momentum. So yeah, those things are fun, but also yeah, itís even more fun to do those things and to rock the flow.

    Quote Originally Posted by blum585 View Post
    Are there disadvantages to being on S.S. You Bet - but the best will still win.
    No, a SS is not as fast as a geared bike. And no, a rigid is not as fast as front suspension. A geared bike with suspension forks will beat a rigid single speed on any course worth riding. Furthermore, the difference may be small at low levels of competition, but at elite levels the riders are close enough in ability that the best rider on a SS will lose to the second-best rider on gears every time.

    But honestly, thatís not a relevant debate. No serious racer stops to think, ďShould I ride rigid SS or suspension geared, which is faster?Ē They know the answer. Suspension, geared is faster.

    Whether itís faster enough to switch, well, I say race the bike you enjoy riding and let the chips fall where they may. SS is not so slow that youíre off the back, so itís fast enough to have a good time. But no way itís fast enough not to matter. You will not see a SSer on the podium in London. SSers in Ontario are competitive with the age group riders but not the elite riders. But theyíre having too much fun to care whether they could go 1km/hr faster on average with gears and suspension.

  35. #35
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    dbl post
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  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by pisiket View Post
    There must be another reason than to protect the knees because that rule cannot achieve that goal. An SS bike can have lower than a geared bikes's lowest gear, and a person may not shift on a geared bike. Good morning America! Please wake up already!

    And there is no arguing that there is no science on whether high-gear biking is bad for a developing knee. Is sport in general bad for developing knees?

    Ali
    I suspect it has more to do with time of the events and having multiple categories separated by time makes the events much longer.
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  37. #37
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    In 2009 I raced my SS in the Cat1 40+ age group. It went well. I found I had a fast start (yet I can't sprint for $hit). Singletrack was never an issue against the geared riders. Actually there were no real issues; I always was able to pass when I needed to.

    The only time I regretted it was at Mt Snow where I was passed on the last fireroad to the finish because Stu was able to put it in the big ring. But then again maybe if I hadn't done a 45 minute pre-ride lap I would have had a larger advantage going into the finish, so you never know. Woulda, coulda, shoulda...

  38. #38
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    When you are racing Cat 1 on a SS there is not "beating geared riders to the singletrack by all means" Its pretty much spin your legs around like a hamster while you effortlessly get dropped on the road. Then your in the back and have to pick your way through all the slower cat 1s.

    I love racing my SS in the SS class. But you are totally not an even playing field in fast geared categories. Some trails are exceptions like ones with no long straight downhills, flats or roads. But in my experience races usually have at least one flat straightaway near the staging/ finish.
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  39. #39
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    This is my first season racing, but I've been racing my SS in the beginner Cat and placed 3rd in my first race and 2nd in the next. I really have been enjoying slaying the geared guys on the climbs, but it's really frustrating when I get bogged down behind them and cannot pass. It totally destroys my cadence and momentum.

    In my last race I was in 3rd until the final climb to the finish line when I was able to make a heroic pass. I was talking to the guy after the race and he couldn't believe he got taken down by a SS.

  40. #40
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    Sounds like you are in need of an upgrade.
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  41. #41
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    singletrack-sam,

    I do not know if you went and bought the Dragon One 29er ss but Jamis used to sell a removable derailleur hanger for the ss frame with the track ends. Here is Jamis phone number if you are interested about the hanger 201-768-9050

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2002maniac View Post
    This is my first season racing, but I've been racing in the beginner Cat and placed 3rd in my first race and 2nd in the next. I really have been enjoying slaying the geared guys on the climbs, but it's really frustrating when I get bogged down behind them and cannot pass. It totally destroys my cadence and momentum.

    In my last race I was in 3rd until the final climb to the finish line when I was able to make a heroic pass. I was talking to the guy after the race and he couldn't believe he got taken down by a SS.
    The nice thing about racing SS in the beginner class is that without derailleurs and shifters, thereís plenty of room to hang your sandbags on the bike ;-)

    In all seriousness, it doesnít sound like youíre in the right category. Consider upgrading for your own sake: If youíre in a class where you have to struggle to make the podium, you will improve more.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheepo5669 View Post
    When you are racing Cat 1 on a SS there is no "beating geared riders to the singletrack by all means" Its pretty much spin your legs around like a hamster while you effortlessly get dropped on the road. Then your in the back and have to pick your way through all the slower cat 1s.

    .
    Not in my experience..... it is indeed quite possible to beat the Cat 1 geared riders to the singletrack. Maybe not everytime, or everyone everytime, but in my experience it is possible to at least stay with the front group of 3 or 4 or 5.
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  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrone Shoelaces View Post
    Not in my experience..... it is indeed quite possible to beat the Cat 1 geared riders to the singletrack. Maybe not everytime, or everyone everytime, but in my experience it is possible to at least stay with the front group of 3 or 4 or 5.
    I'd have to agree; when I raced my age group I had a pretty good track record in getting the holeshot.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrone Shoelaces View Post
    Not in my experience..... it is indeed quite possible to beat the Cat 1 geared riders to the singletrack. Maybe not everytime, or everyone everytime, but in my experience it is possible to at least stay with the front group of 3 or 4 or 5.
    Itís not for me to say what Sheepo5669 meant, but I can tell you how I interpreted it. I read his words as saying that somewhere on most courses there is a section of flat, fast doubletrack where we SSers are going to get passed with ease by strong riders with gears.

    Of course we can get the first hole shot, we may even have a slight advantage. But can we keep it lap after lap on any course featuring a significant mix of terrain?

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