Sunday, July 29, 2007

Stony TT: You shouldn't shift a Single Speed

I had a longer blog about the race but lost it just before publishing. Short version: I raced the Stony time trial today and took 4th in Expert 50+. I raced again in the SS class on the same bike, switching the crank to one with one chain ring and the rear wheel to one gear. I kept the derailleurs the way they were for chain tensioners.

The start to the race is downhill and once my SS race got under way I shifted while going down the hill. Bad idea when there are no other gears to shift to. I stopped and put the chain back on and was forced to chase the guy who started with me. He had a bigger gear which meant he could be faster on the flats.

It took a long time to finally bring him back, I would start to gain on the climbs but he would be gone again once over the top. He missed a turn which brought him back to right in front of me. I finally passed him when he bobbled in the singletrack but it wasn't too long before my chain came off allowing him back in front.

I caught back up and stayed in front until he told me to go by. I managed to put some time on him but was looking over my shoulder as we got to the double track. Over the last stream crossing you have to carry your bike and once I was aways on the other side I set the bike down and the chain came off again.

Out on the double track again I could see him back there but he didn't appear to be gaining as fast and I thought I could hold him off for the last mile and a half. Riding along the grass by the road I was picking off other riders until the chain slipped. Thinking I might be able to shift it back on I was riding along looking at the rear wheel when I was stopped dead by a wooden sign post that that was along the shoulder. Normally it is no problem as there is plenty of room on either side of it. It sure caught me by surprise and stopped me cold.

I lost a lot of time and allowed the other rider I had been fighting with to go by me and I was never able to catch back up. He finished 4th and I took 5th. I still had fun and might look at building a dedicated SS based on the frame I rode today. At least that should solve the chain issues.

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