Love Valley Roubaix

Posted: March 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

Love Valley is a 50 mile long race with big climbs on a course that is a mix of gravel and pavement. It’s a great course where Road, Cyclocross, Mountain Bikes, and single speeds test themselves in the NC mountains.
Love Valley

Riding an event like this on a single speed is always interesting. The “perfect” gear for any race is influenced by the course, the rider, weather, fitness level, competition, etc. The Love Valley race decision also included a lot of guess work. Looking at an elevation profile and talking with others can only go so far. Deciding what to ride without actually visiting the area is never perfect.

Using the elevation profile and rider reports for prior years I knew the steep parts were indeed VERY steep. I also knew that there were some fast sections plus with a lot of road riders. In the week prior to the race I was on the fence between using a 36/17 vs. 36/16. I also considered using a 15 or 18. I needed a gear to apply effective power on steep climbs and also let me motor along on flats and rolling sections. Part of the fun of single speed is knowing that all gears are trade offs. In the end I decided to race 36/16 and feel it was a good choice.

Most of the field of racers were riding road bikes, gravel bikes, or cyclocross bikes. I was on my 29er with lightweight Thunder Burt tires but they were still 2.25″ front and 2.1″ rear. Tire choice was a big issue throughout the race I saw people on road bikes blow out tires on the gravel bits.

The start of the race was very FAST. I always get nervous with big groups so I spun like mad to stay with the lead part of the pack. Once the group thinned out into smaller clusters of five to six riders I was more comfortable and eventually found a couple groups that I sorta stayed with. On single speed I would go ahead on the climbs. People would often catch me on the descents and flat sections. It was great fun; I always enjoy mixing it up with the geared riders.

Love Valley Podium

Love Valley Single Speed Podium

The club racing scene in North Carolina is alive and well. Low key events like Love Valley and block busters like the Six Hours of warrior creek are loads of fun. Riding bikes is not just for pros and really the “racing” does not have to be something to stress out about.

Often a race is just a good chance to enjoy the weather and ride with others on a course that is different from what you normally do.

Adrenaline Rush

Posted: March 19, 2015 in Uncategorized

Jericho 7 Films created this awesome video to show the experience of riding a Farnsworth 29er. I especially like how the kits from Rouler Sportswear help identify the team as a unit.

Thanks to Mert Dunne and his band ELEVENEVEN for the great music! (Mert was my 2012 Double Dare partner.)

Rhymes with Orange

Posted: March 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

Corey attacks terrain and likes to ride with no fear.

Last year he broke his carbon frame and needed a new mountain bike.

His new Farnsworth frame is Reynolds 853 steel. It’s the color of STRAVA plus and he has the legs match. Look for him on the local leader boards soon.

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Farnsworth #23
Head Tube Angle 69.5
Seat Tube Angle 73.5
Head Tube Length 4.1″
Seat Tube (C-T) 17.7″
Top Tube (effective) 24.1″
Chain stay length 16.9″
Bottom Bracket Drop 2.4″

Go Heels!

Posted: March 14, 2015 in Uncategorized

Mike’s bike in Carolina Blue with white logos.

Configured as trail oriented single speed with 2.35″ front and rear tires plus a suspension fork for trail riding. This bike has cable guides and a hanger on the dropout so later in the season Mike can set up a 1x style drive train.

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The frame spec is as follows:

Farnsworth #22
Head Tube Angle 69.5
Seat Tube Angle 73.5
Head Tube Length 4.1″
Seat Tube (C-T) 17.3″
Top Tube (effective) 23.5″
Chain stay length 16.9″
Bottom Bracket Drop 2.4″
Components
Brakes XT
Crank Race Face Turbine, 30 tooth
Drive Endless 16 tooth
Wheels Stan’s 330 / Crest
Tires Vredestein Bob Cat 2.35″
Seat Phenom
Post Ritchey Comp.
Bars Race Face Turbine
Stem TRUVATIV AKA
Grips Ergon

Snow….

Posted: February 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

The older I get, the less I like snow……it looks cool and all but I am ready for it to melt……. then again I am not big fan of mud……when it is 102 degrees in July….. I will post something grumpy about how I don’t like the heat.

The photo is from John who is not old enough to be grumpy about snow.

Snow

Photos of bikes in the heat of summer don’t look as cool.

Single Speed Gearing

Posted: January 30, 2015 in Uncategorized

One of the challenges in single speeding is picking your gear.

I made the following chart to help me pick my gearing.
Gear Chart

The “perfect” gear for a course can give you an advantage. The wrong gear can be frustrating. Gear choice adjusts time spend walking vs. pedaling, mashing, spinning, and coasting. On a single speed “perfect” is all about finding the balance. With the chart, I can find my gear ratio then look at the ratio table to see the speed that the gear produces at cadences from 120 to 40 RPM.

On a 29er with a 2.25″ tire the bike moves 0.00142 miles each time the rear wheel makes one full revolution. This means that the math for speed is simply 0.00142 * Ratio * Cadence * 60.

For example, a 32/16 gear is a 2.0 ratio. With a 2.0 ratio, one revolution of the cranks produces two revolutions of the rear wheel. This means that pedaling 80 RPM will cause the bike to travel at 13.7 MPH. The 2.0 ratio works well on gravel roads. A ratio of around 1.8 works well for a fit rider on hilly single track. A 2.4 ratio (or more) is good for pavement with 20 MPH at 100 RPM.

The ratio for a 32/16 is exactly the same as a 28/14 or a 36/18 but they ride differently. Rings and cogs impact drive train performance. Small cogs have problems holding the chain as it is bounced and torqued. In general the best cog size for off road is 16 tooth or larger. An 18 tooth cog will hold the chain far better vs. a 14 tooth cog so the 36/18 will perform better then the 28/14. I try keep the rear cog as 17 tooth or larger when riding off road.

The gear I use most often is a 1.78 ratio with a 32/18. For races, I switch gearing based on the race course. Last weekend I ran a 2.0 ratio because it was a smooth fast course with a lot of gravel roads.

My next race is the Beaver Dan and New Light challenge. The race has two trails with a short fast road segment to connect them. The key to the race will be the single track segments. With a lower gear, I can ride the single track segments faster but it will leave me under geared for the road segments. Picking a gear for this race is going is a fun challenge. I think something around a 1.8 or 1.89 ratio is the way to go for my current fitness level. This gear will be slow on the road section but will be fast on the single track.

Storm Endurance January Marathon

Posted: January 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

The Storm Endurance January Marathon this past weekend was a great low key training race in Sanford, NC.

This was my first year at the event but I look forward to doing it again next year. It’s an unusual format with a 42 mile course that starts with six miles of twisty single track followed by 28 miles that mix paved and gravel roads for an endurance loop. For the final six miles the race goes back back on the single track.

Thomas Boylan and I were able to tie for the win in the single speed category and finished 3rd/4th overall. We both race on my Farnsworth Bicycles team with additional sponsorship from Industry Nine, Endless Bike Company, Paragon Machine Works, Torrenti Cycles, Reynolds, Crank Arm Brewing, Rouler Sportswear.

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I got a reasonably good start and entered the trail within the top ten. Tom was ahead of me but got stuck behind some trail traffic that allowed me to catch up. Once Tom got around he took off and was the second rider overall for the first single track segment. I managed to stay close enough to get on the road in around 6th and form up with a group of four riders.

On the road, Tom was ahead with one other rider working hard but my group of four had the strength of numbers as we rotated to save effort in the wind. Eventually we caught Tom and the other rider to form a strong pack of six riders with a smooth rotation.

My right cleat got very loose. This was not a problem on the road but I knew that I would have to stop before we got on the single track to tighten the bolts or risk loosing the cleat and/or crashing. I felt VERY good so I decided to keep going and make my pit stop after the road section and before the single track.

My legs were good so I decided to lift the pace. With three miles to go, I went out solo to gain time. Eventually two riders came across the gap and we put over a minute on the others from our little group.

When we reached the single track I was leading the race but decided that stopping to tighten the cleat was still the smart move. The cleat was in bad shape and I simply would not be able to ride without fixing it. The repair took around a minute and when I got going again I was 6th overall.

With an effort, I caught up to Tom. We passed two riders and pushed each other to finished as a tie for the single speed win and 3rd/4th overall. It was a great race, I always enjoy riding with Tom.

Also, thanks goes out to James Stranix for helping with the post race photos.