About face

I love my Siren SS.  The bike feels as good and natural as anything I’ve ever ridden.  Bike and rider blur on this steed.

 Yet, racing it in a geared class is a losing proposition.  If there’s one thing I learned racing TransRockies on a SS, it’s that going with one gear is a major disadvantage.  It was fun and honestly we didn’t walk much more than those near us but when it came to flats and descents we got waxed.  Soooo waxed.  We could climb with the lead teams no problem, but riding with faster open men teams was not an option on the flats.  Pat Doyle even tried to pull us into the draft of a fast train a few times but it was not happening at 200 rpm.

 Never say never – like when I said I’d never need gears on the Siren so buzzed one of the big ring arms off the XTR crank – but I’ll never race a SS in a geared class again.  That’s stupid.  We have a phrase for that:  “taking a knife to a gunfight.”  That’s what we did at TR and we got shot ;)

There was an enormous amusement factor.  Like day 2, when we were passed by the entire field on a 20k downhill tailwind paved section.  We literally got to see everyone on course that day as the leaders came hiking back down from that missed turn in the avalanche chute…on the first climb we clawed back through the back half of the field.  It was as if they were standing still.  One guy says quietly to his partner “we just got passed by a dude on a single speed”, then LW rolls up and says “it get’s better!”  There were a lot of moments like that days 1 and 2.  Drew Bragg, announcer extraordanaire, was astonished day 4 when we came in ahead of the Luna team and only 5 min down on the leaders.  At the awards he called up the Luna team saying they must have had a mechanical to finish behind a SS team, LOL.  Earlier in the day someone asked Katerina Nash how her day went and she grunted “we got beat by the single speeders.” 

Amusing for sure.

What doesn’t settle so well is putting a number plate on and showing up with a limiting bike.  So we are gonna fix that.  VT125 doesn’t quite fit the bill, Payson Stampede does, and doubles as a preview of next years 24 nationals course.

We’ll have plenty of competition.  And this time around, gears.

9 replies on “About face”

  1. Gears AND already looking ahead to the 2009 24 Hour Nationals! Yeah baby Yeah! I have been patiently waiting for a post like this from you two ever since I saw the look in Lynda’s eyes at Park City when she told me she could have gone much faster on the gearie.

  2. Good for you guys. You tried something new and learned its strengths, weaknesses and fun factor. Now you can use your singlespeeds to clean up when there’s a singlespeed class, and your gears to clean up when there isn’t.

    I guess I’m just one of those people that doesn’t understand others who marry themselves to a single (ha!) piece of equipment even in the face of obvious disadvantages. I mean, I love my 4″ tires, but I’m not about to enter any road races with them.

  3. It’s not about cool aid, it’s about why you do it.

    If you race to win then I quite agree that riding single speed against gearies is a disadvantage. If you enter races to challenge yourself then there’s plenty of challenge and satisfaction to be found in riding SS as you’ve documented well. If you do both then the former is going to take precedence. For many of us as strange as it sounds, racing isn’t about winning

    Happy you tried it, happy you liked it.

  4. Martin – I get all that. What I don’t get is referring to geared riders as “the folks that fear.” That’s crazy cool-aid talk, straight up, undiluted.

    Damn, I’ve been down this road already with the 29er crowd. What is it with the MTB fringe anyway?

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