So I’ve been wavering a bit on what bike to ride this weekend (the fixed gear Surly Steamroller or my Cannondale pseudo-ranonneuse). Then I saw the Trans-Iowa photos and results:
This fella, Ken Yokanovich, was the first ever fixed gear finisher of the 300+ mile race. His post race comments (from the MTBR forums) have motivated me to ride the Surly:
In the past, I’ve been morbidly curious as to what it is like to do something like this. Now I know. I questioned, speculated, and agonized over what to bring, what to ride, gearing, etc. In the end, I stuffed a change of clothes in one of my bags and headed for the starting line with my bike. I went from commuting to work on Thursday to “racing” the TransIowa on Saturday without a change. (People laughed at just how dirty my chain is on my bike… Yes… It really is that dirty almost all the time.)
I showed up with no contingency plan for not finishing other than a map of Iowa stuck down in one of my bags. Should something catastrophic have happened, I suppose I could have called, but when I left home to participate… it was clear that my wife gave me one of those looks like: “good luck buddy, you’re on your own.” Everything came together and I finished.
As for riding it fixed… well… that’s just what I am comfortable riding. It also offered a small degree of motivation to the idea of finishing too. I rode 42×19. My maximum speed was 29 early in the morning on Saturday. That works out to be a cadence of 160. I unclipped my feet on one descent sometime mid-morning on Saturday. When I got to the bottom, I felt guilty like I had cheated and that thought bugged me the rest of the event… So, I never did it again. Based on my calculations, I moved my legs around more than 368,000 times.