I think I get it...
It has taken a while but I think I get the fixie thing.
I built up a singlespeed Centurion in March and instantly fell in love. I wanted to try fixed eventually but decided I would save for a 'true' fixed gear and ride it for a while. I rode it through the summer, probably putting more miles on it than my Lemond Tete De Course. I did a few metrics and my first singlespeed century in August. I've even talked a few of our local riders into going singlespeed and there are now about 5-6 guys riding singlespeed where I was alone earlier in the year.
I finally got my true fixie, a Lemond Fillmore in late Sept. I did a rather hilly century as a singlepeed the weekend after I got it and loved it. I tried it fixed but I just never got why everyone liked it so much. I live in a place where everything is a steep roller and it was hard getting used to the downhills (I'll definitely stick with brakes). I had almost decided that I was going to stay as singlespeed all the time.
Then last weekend I was in downtown Lynchburg and decided to try fixed again. Something clicked and I was really enjoying it. I'm sure the more moderate hills helped. It was setup as 44/16 which I thought was a little big around here so I ordered an 18 cog at the LBS.
I decided to try to do my normal training loop fixed earlier this week and see how it went. I really enjoyed the ride. I found a rhythm and really liked the feeling on the few rare flats and the climbs. I made the decision to leave the 16 on the rear and try a group ride yesterday morning. I really enjoyed the ride and was starting to really like this fixie stuff.
Today was our LBS's local fall metric century. I decided to take the plunge and go for it fixed and and since the shop was closed and I didn't have a lockring wrench I was stuck with the 16. I took off with the pack and was dropped after about 5 miles but I gradually reeled a few of them back in. I hit a few climbs that made me consider switching to the 18 freewheel side but I didnt' bail. I finished 5th out of about 20 riders doing the metric in about 3.5 hours. I REALLY enjoyed it, the feeling of being connected to the drivetrain and the smoothness of it all is just awesome. I think I'll stay with the fixed setup.
I may not be able to walk tomorrow since the muscles used are a bit different than ss, but I'm happy. Thanks for all of the encouragement of you fixed gear riders. I'm heading for the sofa and a beer