Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Brief History of my Finding Love on the SS

I know, it is really just some filler until North Carolina, but it seems fitting. I have been riding for about 20 years now; more competitively for the last 5 or so. I will get right to the point; the last "full time" 26er I had was my beloved Fuel 100 dualie. I loved that bike. I put quite a few miles on it, but never won a race on it, came as close as 7th, but that was it. I can remember, and most of this was due to my fitness level at the time, just being tired and inefficient when riding hard or for long periods of time. The bike felt great and fit me well, but there was something that always bugged me, and I could never figure it out. I can remember one day at Patapsco with my friend Mike and a guy passing us on a SS like we were standing still. The only thing I could think of was that guy was a freak of nature.

I guess it was fall of 2006 and I was volunteering at the Seagull Century and I remember seeing a guy on a Raleigh MT700 that he converted to ss. We got to talking and he let me take it for a ride. I thought it was cool, but really didnt see what the benefit was. It ran out to fast and climbing out of the saddle seemed to hard. Never gave it much thought after that and continued to always being befuddled with my Fuel.

Spring of 2007 I was browsing around ebay and came across a new Redline Flight Monocog 26er frameset. The price was right at 100 clams, so I bought it. Funny thing was I remember not being real excited at first when it came. I threw on some parts and rode it a few times around the neighborhood and that was that.

I thought this would be good bike to use as a training tool. I remember taking the SS out on the trails for the first time on a night ride to see what it-and more importantly-I was capable of. I thought to myself this thing is hard to ride! These climbs are killing me! What I didnt realize at the time was that I was riding sections faster than I ever did on my Fuel. The pain was from using leg muscles in a way I never had before. I was hooked.

I started riding it more, but alas, the 26er SS was not meant to be. In the store was a shiny new Haro Mary SS 29er in Carolina Blue...GORGEOUS! It didnt take long for me to sell the Redline and the Fuel to make room for my new love. I was a little nervous at first, I mean what was I to do without gears? This would be the one bike.

My first ride, as it is forever known as "The Liberator", not that Liberator, gutter mind! Anyway, I was forever changed; both mind and body after that ride. I mean I felt like Superman. I climbed better then I had ever climbed before. Some training still needed to be done, but this was the way to go. I never thought, ever that I would be riding a SS full time...ever.

Well, it has been almost 6 years since I first threw a leg over that Redline and I havent lost that love. I am 44 and I have been getting stronger every year since. I dont shave seconds off of race times, but minutes. I know at some point that it will plateau and my legs and knees are not going to handle the constant stress that the SS places upon them, but I intend to ride the wave until it takes me under.

So if you have never given the SS a thought, switch your thought patterns and get one. Build a cheap one and have fun with it-even a 26er if you have too. Just be aware that you will also become Singlespeed Moron like myself-enjoy!