Yesterday was my first official pre-commute greenway junk mile ride of the "season." I know it's time to start doing these rides when I wake up randomly at 4:00AM with much excite in anticipation of getting up at 5:30AM for a ride. I try to fall back asleep, but my eyes are open every fifteen minutes checking the clock.
Seven minute breakfast, coffee, morning constitutional, more coffee, my second ever glass of Rocket Red (more about that later), kit up and out the door.
Anyhoo, I grabbed my Misfit Meatplow and finally had a chance to put one of my half-assed theories to a true test.
I converted the bike to a fixed gear late last year and took off the brakes. Since then, I've used it for shits and giggles and just getting around when I didn't feel like riding my tarck bike, but I was more or less thinking about this time of year.
Riding a fixed gear for training makes sense... to me. My legs are always moving, accelerating, braking, trying to keep up. Just moving in circles as long as the bike is in forward motion. I'm also more mentally engaged in the activity at hand. No coasting along and looking at the sights. 38 X 18 pushing a 29 X 2.2 tire down the road or gravel or what have you.
So, it was odd that I was listening to this episode of the JRA podcast on Mountain Bike Radio. One of the listener questions was about training for single speed racing, and the answer was "ride with gears." Cross bike, road bike, mountain bike. Just something with gears. Meh.
I'm not saying I don't agree. It's just that I can't care enough about racing or fitness to ride a bike I hate. I also started to wonder if there's anyone else out there riding a fixed brakeless mountain bike in an effort to earn some sort of fitness for our particular non-sport known as single speed mountain bike racing.
I guess it doesn't matter. It floats my boat, and I feel like I'm ticking all the boxes. Intervals, high cadence, low cadence... moving blood to my legs and creating enough lactic acid to make them feel dead later.
Compared to last year's junk mile rides on the same exact bike but with brakes and a free hub, this just feels more like home to me. I don't think I'm starting a new trend, but if you're bored with your training regimen...
cheap and available through Quality Bicycle Products, so 99.999% chance you can pick one up at your local bike shop. Of course, you gotta have a real single speed mountain bike. Frames with a prehensile tail holding a cog or roller that keeps tension on your chain need not apply... unless you have a death wish.
I think it's a great thing to do, but what do I know? I also think that having a dead end job isn't so bad as long as I get to wear shorts to work.