In my pursuit of the elusive n, I converted my old 'cross bike which was currently my old winter training bike into a singlespeed 'cross rig late last fall. I've had a singlespeed mountain bike in the stable for over 10 years now, and a fixed gear bike for almost 20 years, so I was already familiar with the joy and childhood bike riding fun that a singlespeed brings. You don't have to think about shifting, the ride is much quieter, and maintenance is reduced. However, I had yet to race a singlespeed bike, let alone a singlespeed 'cross bike. SSCX seemed like a perfect way to get a little more out of a 'cross race day and to have some serious fun on a bike. It did not fail to deliver!
I raced my first SSCX on a fairly cold day, and the snow started to fall during the Elite Race, my first event of the day. I finished up, quickly scooted to my car to switch bikes and get someone to remove my top number to reveal my SSCX number. And before I knew it we were off. The snow continued to fall, and the fun level continued to rise. As the old adage goes, ask as singlespeed racer about their gear choice and most will tell you it was wrong for at least part of the time. On this particular course, the granny gear climb was the most blatant offender, but it just meant a little more "running."
Although I don't foresee SSCX become my primary race of the day, there will certainly be many more events for me in the future. Locally it's great that the SSCX typically follows the Elite Race, so I can get there at a reasonable hour, get a few laps on the course, race with the "big" boys, then have more fun on my singlespeed. Gets me pumped just thinking about it!
Some of the low-key events, which, let's face it, describes most of the SSCX races, allow geared bikes to zip tie their shift levers making it impossible to shift. This allows you to give it a shot before committing to converting a bike or buying a new one.
This is an informative article written up by the folks at Quality Bicycle Products. It explains singlespeed and gets into gear choices. Check it out here:
(Copy and paste this into your browser. For some reason I can't hyperlink this in Weebly.)
Enjoy and hope to see you riding and racing one gear soon!
Coach B.L. is the head coach at BJL Coaching and an avid racer and cycling enthusiast himself.