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Holding your own against geared racers?

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Holding your own against geared racers?

Old 09-20-11, 12:00 PM
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Holding your own against geared racers?

Anyone else race singlespeed in a standard race bracket against mostly geared riders?
What advantages and disadvantages do you find yourself saddled with against them?
How well do you typically finish?

I'm curious because I started racing CX this year as a Cat-4 35+ and I'm usually 1 of only 3 or 4 guys in the field (60+ per race) without derailleurs. For a first year CX racer with no previous experience in any type of bike racing I'm not disappointed with where I'm placing, but I've noticed some distinct strengths and weaknesses of being the singlespeed guy in a geared field:
Strengths:
- No dropped chains. Even on the worst of bouncy, bumpy courses running too much pressure in my tires and hitting ruts like I get paid to try and break my rims, I haven't dropped my chain.
- No gear jam-ups, skipped/missed shifts. Well, duh; no shifting == none missed.
- No snagged components. I've seen guys get rear derailleurs snagged on sticks and even tall grass on some of the real jungle-cross courses.
Drawbacks:
- Spinning out my gearing on flat sections. Getting passed on the downhills or outsprinted by geared riders in the final 20 yards just sucks.

That's about it that I've seen for drawbacks. How about anyone else? I got outsprinted on the finish stretch this weekend by some geared guys, and I've been passed on long flat straight sections before. I find that I can often power out of corners better than the geared guys, but that's likely to be a product of the Cat-4s and guys hitting the corners in really low gears. Between hammering out of the corners and being quick over the barricades and remounts I manage to stay in the top 25% (but I'm averaging about 2 minutes off the leader's time.) Not really in position to challenge the podium guys, but not bottom of the heap, either.
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Old 09-20-11, 12:05 PM
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I love SSCX

However, I think CX is really the only type of racing where an SS can keep up. There are a lot of factors (as you mentioned) in CX that actually give SS some benefit in during a race. Doesn't really apply anywhere else :\

That said, good job keeping it up with the geared guys.
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Old 09-20-11, 03:18 PM
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Once you get to higher cats, or larger races the disadvantages will start to shine even more. Not saying dont do it, but at some point you may want to get some gears, or race only in the SS group.

The other big drawback that you missed is being able to build gearings after a barrier or a corner.
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Old 09-20-11, 03:23 PM
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how about an IGH? as simple as SS (1 more cable) and moar gears...is it something normal in CX?

ps: I don't know **** about this sport
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Old 09-20-11, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by 8bits
how about an IGH? as simple as SS (1 more cable) and moar gears...is it something normal in CX?

ps: I don't know **** about this sport
I have yet to see anyone do this after racing CX for the last 4 seasons, might be an interesting experiment, unsure of longterm durability on an IGH considering how much abuse CX puts on equip. Like others have mentioned you just won't see anyone from CAT 3 and up get results racing SS against geared 2X10 or 1X10 racers. My buddy did podium as a CAT 4 on a SS at Gloucester GP last year ... FWIW there tends to be more and more straight SS categories at many of my races. I don't own a SS CX rig so I don't do them. Good luck keep Crossin'! HUP!!
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Old 09-20-11, 03:41 PM
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For instance ....

.be&t=1m18s
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Old 09-20-11, 05:40 PM
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thank god for the internet and that joey is ok
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Old 09-20-11, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by CliftonGK1
Drawbacks:
- Spinning out my gearing on flat sections. Getting passed on the downhills or outsprinted by geared riders in the final 20 yards just sucks.
You hit this one right on the head. Being undergeared is the major disadvantage when racing SS against the gearies. Its really too bad that there are not more SS subcategories in racing.

I used to race mountain bikes in a series that had a separate SS category (this was before the days of the cat 1,2,3 in mountain bike racing...). This categorty didnt have any beginner/sport/expert/pro deliniations, but at least all us SSers were could compete against each other.

Sometimes it just depends on the course too. There were some courses where I was very glad to have gears as there were extended fast flat sections and downhills. Others were perfectly suited to SS bikes because they were very up and down with few flats, and the downhills were technical enough that there wasn't need to build up a lot of speed.

If you get super buff you can push a bigger gear and not spin out as fast too!

But as stated above, racing SS rocks. I'd love to try SSCX someday.
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Old 09-20-11, 11:03 PM
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There's a SS race in the entire MFG Cyclocross series, but it would be a waste of my $10 to enter since I'd probably have 3/4 of the Hodala lap me on the second time around. SS isn't a categorized race, so it's a 1/2 through 4 free-for-all.

For now, being upper mid-pack Cat-4 is a comfortable place. As comfortable as destroying yourself for 35 minutes can be, at least.
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Old 09-20-11, 11:11 PM
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Clifton: what ratio are you running? And what are your courses like?
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Old 09-20-11, 11:26 PM
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Cyclocross and MTB racing is one thing. There you have a chance. But for road racing SS just can't cut it, unless there are no hills whatsoever. I've tried keeping up with the fast group rides on a single speed and just can't do it, that's with 53/17 gearing. You need some serious gear when the pack is cruising at 30+ mph. Probably 53/15 or 14. I haven't tried that yet, I'm really not strong enough to push that kind of gearing all the time.
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Old 09-20-11, 11:33 PM
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after ziptieing my shifters and running one speed for starcrossed, i don't want to race geared CX.

which sucks, because my cross bike is ****ing rad as hell.

any other kind of racing? **** that i'll take gears please.
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Old 09-21-11, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by caloso
Clifton: what ratio are you running? And what are your courses like?
I have different setups for different courses. Big Finn Hill Park was dry, flat, and had lots of long straight-aways so I put on a 42/18. LD/CX had a tight course with a very technical spiral, and the Rapha/Focus GP was wet (but sadly not as muddy as I anticipated) so I was using a 38/18 for both of those. Quicker power out of the technical corners on the tight course, and more oomph through the mud on the sloppy course. I could have gone with the 42/18 for Starcrossed (dry, flat, lots of straights) and a 40/18 for the Rapha/Focus GP (same course, just a little on the damp side, no deep mud to contend with.)
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Old 09-21-11, 11:54 AM
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Yeah, I race fixed geared, on the track! (48x15 - 50x15 is typical)

For a road race - it is the sprint in the end that would kill ya, even if the race was flat.
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Old 09-21-11, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by CliftonGK1
I have different setups for different courses. Big Finn Hill Park was dry, flat, and had lots of long straight-aways so I put on a 42/18. LD/CX had a tight course with a very technical spiral, and the Rapha/Focus GP was wet (but sadly not as muddy as I anticipated) so I was using a 38/18 for both of those. Quicker power out of the technical corners on the tight course, and more oomph through the mud on the sloppy course. I could have gone with the 42/18 for Starcrossed (dry, flat, lots of straights) and a 40/18 for the Rapha/Focus GP (same course, just a little on the damp side, no deep mud to contend with.)
With 700x32 tires 42x18 is 63 gear inches. 38x18 is 57gi and 40x18 is 60gi. They are all too low. Try 42x16, 70.9gi, or 44x16, 74.3, or 46x16, 77.6gi.
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Old 09-21-11, 07:24 PM
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it depends on the course, but err on the high side if youve got placing in mind.
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Old 09-21-11, 07:43 PM
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Jooeeeeyyyyyyy

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ha ha ha ha ha

Are you alright?

I think Joey's alright.
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Old 09-21-11, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by GeoKrpan
With 700x32 tires 42x18 is 63 gear inches. 38x18 is 57gi and 40x18 is 60gi. They are all too low. Try 42x16, 70.9gi, or 44x16, 74.3, or 46x16, 77.6gi.
I run 42x16 on my FG commuter. I love it for around town, but it seems too much for me on soft dirt or thick grass. I'm going to try 43x19 (61 gi.) on Saturday and see how that goes.
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Old 09-21-11, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso
I run 42x16 on my FG commuter. I love it for around town, but it seems too much for me on soft dirt or thick grass. I'm going to try 43x19 (61 gi.) on Saturday and see how that goes.
My SSCX came stock with 63gi and it was way slow. I went up to 83gi and it is awesome. Of course, I'm out of the saddle a lot and sometimes I have to get off and run, just like cyclocross!
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Old 09-22-11, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by GeoKrpan
With 700x32 tires 42x18 is 63 gear inches. 38x18 is 57gi and 40x18 is 60gi. They are all too low. Try 42x16, 70.9gi, or 44x16, 74.3, or 46x16, 77.6gi.
Last time I checked I wasn't Adam Craig, so I'm pretty sure I'll stick with normal human being gear ratios. It's getting into rainy season and the mud is going to get ugly.

On my commuter I use a 44/17 (70gi) and that's fairly comfortable for the hills I contend with on the pavement. I don't relish the thought of trying to stomp that sort of gearing (or taller) through a few inches of goopy mud.
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Old 09-22-11, 08:36 AM
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I'm doubling up races this weekend. I'm running the SS in the C's race (cat 4) and my geared bike in Master's B (cat 3). This course is flat and dry with a BMX pump track added for fun. Should be a good time. Here is a video from a couple of years ago.

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Old 09-22-11, 11:18 AM
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strange ... how does one do a cat 4 and a cat 3 race?
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Old 09-22-11, 11:25 AM
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Our Cat 4 (we call them C's) is full of people who should Cat up. The lead groups are about the same speed. I'm doing the C's on my SS to increase my racing time for the day and the races are 3 hours apart so there is recovery time.
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Old 09-22-11, 11:53 AM
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It wasn't a question of the idea of doubling up but more to the point of are these not sanctioned events? ... usually Cat 3's can't race Cat 4 ... Sandbaggers are expected USA Cycling change the the CX categorization fro A- B - C to P-1-2-3-4 3 years ago. Although some events will still refer to the days races by letter
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Old 09-22-11, 12:48 PM
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Our local races are not UCI sanctioned. Honestly, with my post baby fitness I belong in the lower cat.
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