Saturday, September 6, 2008

Singlespeed progress

Well, today was a bit of a milestone. I had my first real hill climb on the SS. The rides up till now have had little stuff, climbs that last a few minutes at a time, but today was a 45 minute, 1200' fireroad climb with a group of folks, all on geared bikes.

I was getting some odd looks when I showed up at the parking lot. SS? Here? This ride?

It was very interesting. This group is not a fast bunch of folks, but they are not amateurs either, just your basic weekend warriors. The climb is not really that hard, but is no picnic. On a good day, I would ride it in the middle ring, top cog on the FS, but I bet it sees granny ring time for most cyclists.

Today, I stood a lot. I found that I was easily faster than the group, even when I stood and pedaled very slowly, trying to be smooth and easy. If I was able to sit and get behind the gear, which did not happen very often, I was much, much faster than the group. Think about it. They are all in the granny ring. No one is even thinking about pushing a 32x20 gear, so man you can really cover some ground if you can keep it up. But it kinda all evened out as I did not have the fitness to keep the pace without stopping every so often to recover. So, they would catch up, I would remount and pass 'em all again and so on, all the way to the top. It is an odd situation. It feels fast and efficient, but it takes a lot of power to make it happen, upper body muscles, etc. On the other bike, I can shift down and recover. SS....well there is always walking.

I enjoyed the ride very much. On my FS, I would have stayed at the group pace and had a good ride, but not a great workout. But on the SS, I had a good ride and a very hard hour in the saddle. I like.

So now I am thinking about even more rides where I can ride the SS. One thing right now, it is obvious that my fitness is the main limiter to how far and how high I can go. Putting out that kind of wattage shortens how much this old man can do, ride length wise. I was pretty hammered at the top, I could have kept riding, but it would have required a Gu or two and a hope of an easier grade. The folks that do 100 mile days with lots of climbing on SS's continue to impress me. How do they do that? Props to them. Either way, I plan to ride this thing a lot over the fall/winter.

It is going to be an interesting journey.

1 comment:

Enel said...


Not to be a snob, but I rarely ride gears anymore unless the grades are unbelievably steep.