Saturday, March 08, 2008

A Cyclingnews article I read recently got me to thinking about training to race single speed mountain bikes exclusively. It had this to say (among other things):

Critics dismiss the application of a fixed-gear trainer to improvement of road bike technique as analogous to practicing on an ostrich as preparation for riding a racehorse. Ideological opponents of the fixie advocate a purist approach. To get good at riding a road bike, ride it.

I don't necessarily agree with the above statement but there may be something to it. Why would I ride a racehorse in preparation for riding an ostrich (or a Magical Unicorn as the case may be)? At one point I asked a highly regarded Cycling coach about "special needs" of single speeders. He told me that he'd put a SSer on basically the same program as any other mountain biker, the only alteration would be to the cadence and force workouts were done at.
Of course I have only had the option of riding my Fixed Gear (not to be confused with sweet fixie) for months now. Maybe I am just trying to kid myself that I am doing the right thing by spinning and grinding my way around the suburbs of Boston day after day. I won't know the answer until I hit the first couple races. The joke will either be on me or the kids sitting indoors, chasing their tails, watching their power meters.
After a month or so of riding the same gear I decided to mix it up, got myself a Surly "Dingle Cog". It's a 17/19t. This way I can do my force and muscular endurance stuff in the 44 X 17t then throw it up on the 19t and either recover on a short ride or go do hills and get a good aerobic workout. Spinning the 44 X 19 at 22 mph (120 RPMs) will make you suck some wind for sure as well.
The Ultrafit article I linked to a while back illustrated the huge discrepancy in power output between geared on non-geared riders at various cadences. So why shouldn't you try to emulate the requirements of riding an SS MTB as much as possible in training? Sure you can try to fake big gear hill climbs on your road bike, then try to force yourself to spin at close to 120 RPM's for long durations, but y'know what? You're not really gonna do it, at least not to the extreme riding a fixed gear will force you to.
In other news, I signed up for this:
Haven't raced my bike that early since I did Sea Otter. Yikes.

1 comment:

Retro grouch said...

You need a warm up you should start with this.