Friday, March 25, 2016

Ramming Speed Friday: Too Many Choices Edition


I beat the rain.  I had been meaning to drag the Simply Simple Bike to LexVegas for a lunchtime ride for a while now.  Not sure what has been keeping me away.  I mean, I don’t love Veep, but it satisfies the urges better than not riding.
Yesterday I pointed the fully rigid front circular portion of the SSB down the trails at Veterans Park and slammed down on the Eggbeaters.  VP was in fine condition, well packed, and smooth as silk.  And that was a good thing because the SSB is completely unsquishy now. 
Yeah, so, it did beat me up a little bit.  That’s okay.  What I traded in joint health I gained in speed and agility.  I’ve never felt so confident in big berms before.  It’s a completely different experience riding a flow trail on a rigid bike versus a front suspension equipped model (I cannot speak firsthand about the full suspension experience).
I haven’t uploaded my Strava track yet, but I imagine (I daydream a lot) that it was a fast ride.
I’m not in love with VP.  It’s convenient.  I’d rather ride at Skullbuster or CVP.  That’s just my druthers.  But I had missed my lunchtime gurgles in the wilds of southern Lexington-Fayette Urban Government.  Speaking of…did you know that the new Brannon Road project is going to wipe out the back forty at VP?  It’s all good.  After the road project is complete LFUCG mountain bikers will have new acreage to play with so it all balances out.
Tomorrow is the first 2016 Kentucky Point Series race at Cave Run.  I will be riding the single speed division if they let me switch.  Otherwise I’ll be riding the Cat 2 thirty mile ride on a single speed.

In other mountain biking news…SRAM has released a new twelve speed drivetrain.  Yes, you heard me right.  Now you can equip your knobbly tired bike with a 1x12 setup.  What’s next? Fourteen speed because thirteen is unlucky?
A couple of years ago I switched from tires to tubeless and last year from 3x9 gearing to 1x10.  I fretted because my lowest cog was 36 tooth.  Y’know what?  It took about three rides before I was convince that 1x10 was superior to 3x9 and 36t was fine for 99% of my riding. 
If I were going to make any change at this point in my life I might go to 2x10 or 2x11 (only because 11 speed is becoming normal.  If the bike I’m riding wouldn’t bear the switch then I would stick with 2x10.  That’s why I didn’t go ahead and grab an 11 speed cassette when I stripped the derailer off the bike last summer at the Mohican.  I wasn’t sure if it would work on my bike frame.  But Dave and I were pretty sure a 10 speed cassette would and it did.
I’m happy with my 1x10 setup and feel plenty fast and strong on the bike when I’m not whining about tight hamstrings. And having moved into the single speed realm has further reshaped the synapses in my brain to favor simplicity and uncomplicated riding.  So what, I have to push a little harder on the pedals?  I ride to be healthier and maintain a semblance of youth and strength.  Why not eliminate some of the crutches of mechanical advantage from the mix?
In a few years some youngster will ponder why we don’t add a second chainring up front?  Then some entrepreneurial competitor will innovate and add a third.  Before you know it we’ll have 48 speed mountain bikes.  The mountain bikers of the future will have forgotten the mistakes of the past and the cycle will repeat itself.
Oh well…

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