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Thread: XTerra SS

  1. #1
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    XTerra SS

    Had this hot discussion with a friend who still thinks i'm mad since changing to SS riding.

    He says that no one can compete in an XTerra triathlon and survive the course after having ridden on a SS in the bike portion.

    I tell him he's still subject to the marketing blurb around geared bikes and that anyone who properly trains for it can do it. Being a SS'er, i added, just to flare him even more, that any fit SS'er would beat the hell of a lot of geared riders on the XTerra mtb course and still complete the whole thing.

    Now, let's hear those SS riders here that have competitive experience, beating geared riders on their SS's, even better, on an XTerra triathlon, to sustain my point.

    Any evidence?
    Simple, not easy.

  2. #2
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    I did an Xterra in Iowa and the top SS got a 6 pack of beer. I think there were only 2 or 3 out of around 100 riders. It can be done and mostly depends on the rider.

    I do not think SS is optimal as it seems during a triathlon you want to limit your red zone efforts and not burn too many matches and stay at a certain pace/rythm/HR and keep your legs fresh for the run. I am about the same speed on a geared bike as I am on a SS, but my legs are a lot more beat after riding SS.

    It depends on why you do triathlons. Is it because of the fun factor? Then the number of gears you choose doesn't matter. If it is to finish in as short of time as possible and be as competitive as you can then I think gears are the way to go.

    In my experience with Xterra, there are a lot of not very good mountain bikers. Some people are coming from road tri and don't have experience with mountain biking and some people are training for 3 sports and therefore do not specialize in any single one. I am about as middle of the road when it comes to mountain bike racing in my area and in the Xterra tri's I usually do about top third or so on the bike. Being 2nd to last out of the water and running somewhere around mid-pack doesn't help me though with overall placing.

  3. #3
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    A single speed is just a bike. It can be done.

  4. #4
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    Yet another SS pissing contest thread

  5. #5
    Ahhh the pain....
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    Just look at any race result....it's not like the SSers are finishing on average after the geared guys. The fact that two other events are included doesn't change it...if ya train on a SS and choose a gear that is reasonable for the course, then it should be just fine.
    There are some courses I've seen that will favor a geared rider to some extent...for example, one with LONG flat sections AND long sustained hills. The SSers will have to gear for the long hills and may then lose on the flats... The question then is whether they can make up the time on the hills...
    So, too many variables to say "across the board" if one is faster than the other...

  6. #6
    Harshing my mellow, man..
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    come on guys, just tell him what he wants to hear...
    umm, yeah, i did one of those thingies you were talking about....and on a singlespeed.....and i'll tell you what, i sure was faster than EVERYONE on geared bikes! by 30 minutes!! i did it and anyone can do it and singlespeeds are always faster than geared bikes no matter what.

  7. #7
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    Thanks to those who replied with insight, intelligence, and talked about personal experience. I do believe an XTerra triathlon can be finished on a SS, and in the process, beat many other geared cyclists. My friend thinks that once you ride a course on a SS you're beat to death and unable to walk afterwards, and i've been steadily showing him how wrong that concept is on our group rides. (He has the 30 gear mentality) On an XTerra course, as others have stated here, pacing, gear choice and course characteristics are important things to keep in mind for the SSer.

    I was a triathlete myself, in the 80's, for over 20 yrs. Quit because of running related injuries but kept riding. SS came soon after, due to being fed up with the marketing involved in pushing so much suspension, gears and gadgets in such a simple and rewarding means of having fun an exercise. In the process of becoming acquainted with SS, i discovered how efficient it is as a riding and fitness machine.

    I've seen local sprint off road triathlons being completed by SS'ers as well as sprint road triathlons being completed quite successfully in fixies. And the number of such riders keeps growing.

    I understand that, even as simple as it seems, SS riding is not easy, and is not for everyone, making it a specialty in the mtbking ranks. On a triathlon, specially XTerra style, SS riders ought to have a category by themselves, and this would make it easier to identify the SS'ers from the gearies, but this is another thread.

    To those converts-to-be and beginning SS'ers reading, don't get discouraged by the off-course remarks on the thread, SS is demanding, but rewarding and in the context of a triathlon, it can be done successfully.

    For those who cared to share, ride on.
    Simple, not easy.

  8. #8
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    You can race and definitely beat many geared riders. But to be competitive? No way a SS will win any race on a pro or elite level, no matter the terrain. (few anomalies like Whiskey 50 this year).

    I started riding SS to get away from all of that (competition). I ride just to ride, with races here and there just for fun.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by phsycle View Post
    You can race and definitely beat many geared riders. But to be competitive? No way a SS will win any race on a pro or elite level, no matter the terrain. (few anomalies like Whiskey 50 this year).

    I started riding SS to get away from all of that (competition). I ride just to ride, with races here and there just for fun.
    i will not bite your troll bait....

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cr45h View Post
    i will not bite your troll bait....
    Whatever. I wasn't trying to start anything. I'm a big proponent of SS and in fact, all of my 4 bikes in the garage are SS and I've got a Jones SS build in the works.

    But face reality. How many SS do you see on the Tour? World Cup? Again, have fun at your local races and national races in the SS category, but if you're wanting to be competitive on a pro or elite level, SS won't cut it.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by phsycle View Post
    Whatever. I wasn't trying to start anything. I'm a big proponent of SS and in fact, all of my 4 bikes in the garage are SS and I've got a Jones SS build in the works.

    But face reality. How many SS do you see on the Tour? World Cup? Again, have fun at your local races and national races in the SS category, but if you're wanting to be competitive on a pro or elite level, SS won't cut it.
    I'm also a strong proponent of SS among my peers, lending my bike to them so they can find out for themselves that it's not "impossible" to ride a SS and do other things (such as running afterwards) as well. Some have converted to SS altogether, with the accustomed praising of the new challenge.

    At least, i've convinced my recalcitrant friend to do a time trial, on a course of his choice, with him not shifting, on a gear of his predilection, against me on my SS. And i'll buy the vino fino at the end.
    Simple, not easy.

  12. #12
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    Good luck with the race. My neighbor actually talked me into doing the xterra next year. It's going to be the short version. Of course I'll be on my SS.

  13. #13
    Bro Mountainbiker
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    The main problem with riding a SS in a tri is that you destroy your legs.

    On the road, a lot of Triathletes run short cranks and spin a high cadence to keep their legs fresh for the run.

    Its definitely possible, but you may burn a few too many matches on the bike. But do it. Triathletes will not understand your SS mtn bike one bit. They will probably laugh at you. F em
    Raised in a Chicken-Coop by Chickens

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by phsycle View Post
    Good luck with the race. My neighbor actually talked me into doing the xterra next year. It's going to be the short version. Of course I'll be on my SS.
    I'll keep you'all posted. It won't happen until February, when my friend returns from work overseas.
    Let me know how your xterra went !
    Simple, not easy.

  15. #15
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    I personally think that having a division for SS in a tri is stupid. Next there would be a division for barefoot running or a division for wetsuit and where would it end. A SS division in mountain bike race I feel is already a little silly. Ride what you like to ride and compete with everyone on the same course. If you are racing something that you feel is putting you at a disadvantage and you need your own special division then don't race it. If it is not putting you at a disadvantage then it is just a bike. I personally think that age group divisions are stupid as well.

    If you are faster on a SS then great, good for you, race it and have fun. But as was mentioned before, the pros will be racing whatever will go the fastest and keep their legs the freshest for the run and you will not see any pros riding a SS. If it was beneficial for them then they would be running SS.

    A lot of Xterra courses have flat sections to and from the single track. It's on those sections that you can really put the hammer down with a geared bike and on a SS you would just have to tuck and coast.

    If you race a SS class and like the mass start of being around other SS then I understand that as you are going to all have the same flow more or less on a trail.

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