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Back from geardom(3 posts)

Back from geardomTig
Dec 16, 2002 6:58 AM
I almost feel like I'm at an AA meeting having to confess about riding a derailleured bike a few times last week! LOL Yes, I admit I temporarily converted to the Dark Side, but have happily returned to the fixed gear Force. I used my Merckx with (gasp) 18 speeds the previous Sunday to ride the mighty, monstrous Baytown Bridge and for this Saturday's ride.

Actually, I love riding anything that is fun and gets me out on the road or trail. That's what its all about anyway. I've been experiencing some minor knee pain where the inner quad's tendon runs across the kneecap and needed some easy gear choices to give it a break. It didn't seem to help much though. The previous week's 167 miles on fixed gear must have been the culprit.

Riding the fixed gear felt wonderful yesterday. It was that familiar, solid feeling that comes with the direct connection we love so much. Kinda' like a homecoming, even though I haven't been riding it more than 6 weeks now! Part of the ride in a nice tailwind allowed me to experience the challenge of spinning at 130 RPM for over 10 minutes. I learned to smooth the pedal stroke by pushing my feet forward over the top of each revolution, and to slightly "pinch" or pressure my feet and lower legs inward toward the cranks. Strange, but it worked.

It's nice to be back home!
I still don't get how it works, but it does!LC
Dec 16, 2002 10:58 AM
I tried my leg buster hill yesterday on the 40x17 SS for the first time. You know, the one most people ride by saying "oh hell no I am not going up that!" I normally would do the hill on my geared bike in 39x27 or 39x25 if I really wanted to suffer and when I tried it in 39x23 once I swore I would never do that again. Well I started up the hill in 40x17 thinking I would just do it part way to see how it feels, and next thing I know I make it to the top! My heart rate was maxed, but my legs did not feel too bad and I did not even have problems keeping the pedals turning over smoothly. Pretty impressive gain for a short time.

Even yesterday on my team training ride I had my geared rain bike. I was climbing hills in my big ring, while everyone else was reaching for the smallest gear they had. The people with only 39x23 were actually bitching that they did not have a low enough gear :) My body position and pedaling technique is much more efficient from my SS riding, more than I ever had no matter how many hill repeats I did on the geared bike. The same people that not long ago would blow me away on the hills, now I have to wait on at the top of every hill for them!
Amazing, eh?Tig
Dec 16, 2002 2:10 PM
The advantage from forcing our bodies to adapt to using one speed is greater than I ever imagined. Who needs weights in winter? This is more fun and is cycling specific. I'm sure there are limits, but I'll keep on enjoying the rapid improvement fixed gear riding for now.

Although looking at me you'd think I should be a climber, but I've always lacked the leg strength. I can blame being able to bail out with a granny gear for that, as well as not living in the hills. Bridges are my hills when riding close to home. I've been a pitiful climber the last 2 years since I returned to road riding. Now, after only 6 weeks of mostly fixed gear riding, I've seen some dramatic improvements. No, I'm still not a climber, but I like the direction I'm going.

Speed work at high cadence is showing improvement on the other end of the power band as well. Maybe I shouldn't be giving out this performance-increasing tip (fixed riding) in case my competitors for next year's masters racing are reading this forum!