Singlespeeding: triumphs and tragedies, highs and lows, gears and emotion- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Singlespeeding: triumphs and tragedies, highs and lows, gears and emotion

    I am starting this thread because Jack Burns mentioned it, and I believe it is a fantastic idea. Here is where we can post the hills weíve beaten, and the ones that have beaten us. Itís to post about the thrills, spills, and flat tires from mashing too hard. So, tell us about your SS experiences!

    There is a trail local to me that features about 2 miles of steady climbing followed by a short, violent technical climb up over a ridge that is absolutely littered with volcanic basalt. It took me five attempts to finally develop the strength and skill to negotiate that climb, but the rush when I succeeded was indescribable.
    Salsa Timberjack SS
    -Gears give me headaches

  2. #2
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    This is a great idea. I thought I have cleared some nasty climbs, but a while back, a guy posted an insanely rocky and steep one that he had cleared successfully. The photo was brilliant, I hope he sees this and shares his photo here.

  3. #3
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    technical to bowling alley

    Quote Originally Posted by Sage of the Sage View Post
    There is a trail local to me that features about 2 miles of steady climbing followed by a short, violent technical climb up over a ridge that is absolutely littered with volcanic basalt. It took me five attempts to finally develop the strength and skill to negotiate that climb, but the rush when I succeeded was indescribable.
    I would but here in santa cruz any technical climb is sanitized There used to be around 10 spots that required technical skills and lots of practice. The johnny come lately crowd just came and removed the "root" "rocks" , " shaved dirt off" or "cut trees"

    now most of these areas are bowling alleys.................

  4. #4
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    Earlier this week I wanted to see where an offshoot to path I regularly ride goes. Turns out it's a steep uphill, lots of small loose rocks (I think it might be a utility access) and it just outlasted my legs. I got a little over halfway I'd guess before I had to dismount, walked a section and then got back on and rode the rest. It will be a personal challenge to ride the whole thing now. Pretty sure I could clean it fairly easily with my geared bike, but that's probably cheating.

  5. #5
    Life's a Garden, dig it!
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    I find mini-triumphs on virtually every ride. Lots of technical sections on my trails that make every ride a challenge in some way. Lately, I've enjoyed rides where I will do an entire ride without stopping or unclipping for any reason whatsoever. As you guys know, you have to look for opportunities to rest in the middle of a climb in order press and gain momentum for other areas.
    "And crawling on the planet's face, some insects called, The Human Race..."

  6. #6
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    In Pictures

    Can you really trust what people are saying about their achievements on a forum?

    Well, if it's about single speeds, I am going to go full suspension, and unlock my skepticism, and drop it down into the big gear of the imagination.

    So let me share a little here about what I did last weekend which was a whole lot a of highs and lows, in one gear.

    To be told, a flat tire, a crash, and doing my longest single speed ride yet. Highs and lows, a few.

    At this time last Saturday I was riding SS in the Wente 8 hours near Willits, Northern California.

    I'm no racer. Yes I have raced, in the past. That's passed. On your left!

    My wife wanted to race, on a geared bike, and in solidarity, I signed up too.

    Despite the fact that racing is expensive, breaks things, causes injury and death, turns polite people into violent boorish heathens, and causes misery, I was excited.

    Yeah I rode SS, but my bike was a Dingle. That an equipment inspection would disqualify me needn't have been the worry I had as I fell to sleep the night before.

    The race has a dirt road mass start by a lovely small lake. There are a lot of other SS riders here.

    I hear one SS in the mass with an old Gravity Dropper post, rapidly activating it upwards and sitting down on it, over and over again, a Weinstein ass masturbator move. You can hear the dropper spring inside the dry seat mast scraping.

    Pshaw, no dropper needed on this course. Rode it one lap last evening. Silky smooth, good to the last drop.

    But pretty cool set-up! Thumbs up.

    Me, meh, I'm rolling on 1995 Dean titanium 26" hard tail with vee brake rear, and a steel used Origin8 Scout fork. A high moment.

    I'm out here to rip off old scabs. A low moment.

    The field dominated by 29" beautiful carbon fiber full suspension bikes with one chainring. Oh my. Also, scores of lovely betties. The scenery was fantastic. A high moment.

    Feeling high and mighty on my lowly vintage 26'er, the start rolls off with elbows touching.

    Yep, there's a gravel grinder road climb and the SS has me rising like bubbles from a scuba diver through the geared riders.

    The climbs tops off at the steepest part of the whole ride, which I clean for the first four laps, and then turns into dismpint obligation or cramp after that.

    Then I become a trail feature as my descent is slower than the rest, and I feel like a log in a river for a while.

    The ride is so effing crowded for the first lap, nothing matters it seems. We are in our way as we are under way.

    I look down to check the GPS, and the elastic bands I used are as flaccid as Bob's Hope's putter, and the deal rotated and dangles. I take it off as I ride, and stick it in my pocket. So much for ****in' Strava. This was a low moment.

    Despite being oh so cool, my hands are gripping the bars like I driving a woodscrew down. My finger tips go numb.

    I ruminate about handlebar grips like on these forums. I see rolls of text, and photos of grips in my imagination. How strange to live in a world with an internet, even when I'm not connected.

    It happens on the fourth lap. Railing along somewhere my overinflated front tire pops on a very sharp softball sized rock sticking out of the trail shaped identically to "The Gah Damned Rock of Gibraltar".

    Definitely a low point.

    Sealant spews in Sam Peckinpah slow motion spirals from the puncture orifice. Losing blood like a burst artery.

    Spin the tire down, pool the sealant, get off, and pump. Excrement words!

    It pumps up nice and firm, and then all of a sudden, a loud rush of air for the hole. I have to ride it soft, or fix it.

    I ride it soft, like at 10-14 psi, stop to pump it up a few times each lap, until lap 6, where I stop to add more Stan's from a small bottle in my pocket.

    This causes me to lose a lot time, and muzzles my ride a bit. Oh well. I chock it up to being the arse who has to ride full rigid, and should be happy to get away with this, riding as rear tire that heroically hangs in there without a single fault.

    It just swells my arse even bigger.

    With nothing but my own gel-sack balls for suspension, I sit down and back a lot to baby the mushy front tire, and get into a good groove of riding, and steerign from the rear like I'm piloting a canoe with a tiny clamped on outboard motor.

    Eight hours don't seem long. That's what she said anyway.

    I make 8 laps, and it's over. No Strava. But these laps are really close to a 10 mile and a 1000' of climbing. Actually more.

    So I figure I did 70 miles and over 8k of climbing feet. I should research what it really is.

    I've done 10k climbing on SS before, but not over 70 miles in one go before. This probably makes for a new personal record. Depending on GPS results I think 8 laps might be over 10k. Anyway, the Wente course is not really a hilly one, and that's why it's great for single speed.

    I want to do it again next year of I can. I hate how expensive it is. If you do 2 days of trail work with Bike Monkey, the organizing agent, you can get half off the entry fee. I might see if I can sign up for the December trail work weekend.

    I have a new front wheel I want to build into a 26+ tubeless affair that might enhance the ride.

    But I also have a 29er in the works. And of course, the prospect of an ultralight carbon fiber 27+ single speed has never ever left the corners of my imagination either.

    Okay, I crashed.

    Here's what happened.

    I heard something hitting my right chain stay as I pedaled along on a trail ledge by a creek. I looked down, and saw that I was dragging a stick and some foliage. The stick was in my chainring.

    I looked up at the trail, okay, still riding.

    I looked down, and then up, and oh shit I am aimed to go off the trail. I see a gaping gulch, and next thing I know I am trying to gap a ditch.

    I don't know how, as this maneuver is external to my skill, I execute what can only be called a "Can-Can", by unclipping and throwing my left left over the top tube, and unclipping the right, to kick up as well, and land feet together first on the other side of the gulch, and then pogo down to stick a landing, like an Olympic gymnast, arms raised, next to bike, in the bottom of a brook.

    That was a lucky dismount!

    This bike was fine too. It just lodged there like an upright pony.

    The hardest part was getting out. That crash is the best part of my race.

    There's more to the story. But I'm done. It's time to get ready for another ride right now.










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  7. #7
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    I once showed up to a ride, with my rigid SS, under the impression we were doing an out and back. It ended up being a 20ish mile ride on a local rocky DH trail that we shuttled.

  8. #8
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    Also raced Wente 8hr too. The big thing for me is I just started SS mtb @ end of Feb this year and started SS racing as well (Jumped into it 2 feet first!!) done a few so far. Itís an awesome and inspiring experience. Excited to explore and grow more!!!

  9. #9
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    Bleh. Hit a really techy trail today, had to walk like, 600-700 yards of it. Couldnít maintain any momentum at all, and kept getting bounced off the trail. Garbage.
    Salsa Timberjack SS
    -Gears give me headaches

  10. #10
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    Cleaned a local grade today that is brutal with only one gear. Itís paved, but also half a mile of 10-15% incline. Itís an excellent place to build endurance, and after my 3 year hiatus from the bike, I couldnít ride it. After a couple weeks of training, itís mine. Now I just gotta work on riding it faster...
    Salsa Timberjack SS
    -Gears give me headaches

  11. #11
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    Right now I'm almost at the end of a SS solstice ride. It's a high point because the last two eves my wife decided to take her SS. How cool is that?

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Burns View Post
    Right now I'm almost at the end of a SS solstice ride. It's a high point because the last two eves my wife decided to take her SS. How cool is that?

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    Excellent!
    Salsa Timberjack SS
    -Gears give me headaches

  13. #13
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    Highs and lows from yesterdayís ride. Highs? Cleaned a couple of technical climbs that have been giving me grief. Lows? Flat tire from a rim strike and a smoked front hub. I suspect hubshell failure...
    Salsa Timberjack SS
    -Gears give me headaches

  14. #14
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    I did my first singlespeed cyclocross race yesterday. It was a huge field in my grade (C-grade) so a bit hard to judge but I think I did a little better than I usually do when racing geared (38/82). I had so much fun though and cleared all of the tech and steep sections which was awesome.

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  15. #15
    Armature speller
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    What gearing?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by NordieBoy View Post
    What gearing?
    34x18. It was a pretty hilly course. Gear felt right. Ran out of legs in last lap or two.

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  17. #17
    Stubby-legged
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    Hmmmm, I wonder how I would do on my moonlander this weekend.
    25k hilly race in the Maine mountains.
    have to strip off some gear-parts.

  18. #18
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    Spent last week in Gunnison and Crested Butte with my family. My 13yr old son and I rode 401 - he on his sweet Santa Cruz Highball and me on my trusty Monocog 32x19.
    We got dropped off at Copper Creek TH, rode up the road to the 401, back down to Copper Creek, then up/down/up/down to where we were staying on the Mountain.
    Specatacular ride, very proud of my son who was coming off being sick the week prior, and proud of myself.
    However, I was so beat up from the ride, I ordered a Santa Cruz Blur for my old bones two days after returning to Boulder. This is the first time I can recall ever telling myslef that I need to get gears, much less suspension. Such an awesome ride.

  19. #19
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    I climbed the grade out of the canyon on Monday morning at a previously unbelievable pace. Itís about 500 feet of elevation gain in less than half a mile, and I maintained a climbing cadence of ~60rpm over the whole climb. Nearly puked at the top, but it was unbelievably exhilarating to make the climb at that pace...

    Gearing was 30/18 on 27.5+ tires, and the climb felt goooood.
    Salsa Timberjack SS
    -Gears give me headaches

  20. #20
    The perfessor
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    - my first SS was a steel KHS Solo One, loved it because it was also my first 29er.....one of the first times I ever rode it, the old "Billy goat" of my local trail system was there with his SS and he asked me to ride along with him, so I did; I was able to hang on (just barely) the entire ride without having to push up any of the hills, despite not using a ratio that better suited my needs..............Singlespeeding: triumphs and tragedies, highs and lows, gears and emotion-khs-solo-one-se.jpg

    - since then, I've built my current SS from spare parts and a Motobecane Ti Fly 29er frame and love it to death; I loaned it to my training partner and he liked it so much, he just had me build a new SS for him......my bike has managed all the hills I've tried so far but I just know the Pinhoti trail system (North GA) is finally going to "chew me up and spit me out" when I take the bike there.............Singlespeeding: triumphs and tragedies, highs and lows, gears and emotion-imag0529.jpg
    Rigid 29er Ti SS
    KHS Solo One SE 29er
    29er SC Tallboy AL
    Paketa Magnesium Road Bike

  21. #21
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    Pinhoti... I'd never heard of it until your post, and for some reason that name kept going through my head all weekend as I was riding.

    That and Heintooga Round Bottom Road.

    I love trail names and stuff like that which are so intriguing.

    Pinhoti, Heintooga, awesome names for a bike too. Language is beautiful.

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