Thursday, January 29, 2009

Bitter Sweet Fixies

he past couple times my buddy Andy and I tried to get together for a ride the weather thwarted our plans. Acid rain, thunder snow, wind which smelled vaguely of old people who haven't bathed recently. This past Sunday we managed to get it together. Andy is a morning person, I only wake up before 9AM when it is absolutely necessary (when they were programming me to be a Super-Assassin, they accidentally programmed me to never wake up before 9Am. I'm pretty sure someone got fired over that one.) he was flexible, agreeing to a 10:30 (or so) start time.

Non-racing energy food

It was not warm out, sub twenty degrees anyway, I would have been happy with 2.5 hours on the bike. My desire to impress my ride buddy with the roads down around my way caused me to lead us farther and farther from home. We rode until it was too late for a College town. By the time we did get back to the house we had to "settle" for Tex-Mex, waffle fries, and beer(s) at the place down the road. My people are accustomed to suffering.

Andy up on Nagog Hill

I made a video of a 37MPH (Abominable Snow Man knows what cadence) descent out in Carlisle on 225. Andy was running a 42 X17, me - a 44 X 17. And you thought the way I commute is dangerous. If either of us crashed at that moment it wouldn't have been dissimilar from a gerbil falling into a running blender, the blender operator, in a panic grabbing the blender and throwing it into a washing machine on spin cycle, but the washing machine isn't full of water, it's full of gasoline...and the gerbil is smoking (oh my god, now you are testing my belief suspending abilities) the whole shebang detonates causing serious discomfort to the gerbil, who then sues the blender operator for attempted furry-weird-little man slaughter, the court case drags on for years and is eventually made into a whacky child-friendly court drama like Bee Movie.

I realized that this was actually shot during our second fastest decent (around 34MPH). Be forewarned, Girl Talk or DJ Danger Mouse I am not, my so called "Mash Up" of Men at Work's "Overkill" and Motorhead's "Overkill" is nothing short of egregiously horrible. Lemmy's wart is spinning in its grave along with Colin Hay's career.

We wound up doing 55 miles in 3.5 hours. That's a long (not too fast) day on a fixed gear, especially riding on completely destroyed new England roads. When you're riding around in this weather you want to keep it honest. Every second has to count before your toes and fingers go numb and you need to B-line it for home and recovery cocoa. You go out on the fixed gear, you know that you were pedaling the whole time. And that's the way, ow-argh, ow-argh I like it ow-argh, ow-argh.

I'm running two brakes on the fixed gear these days. It helps save my energy for going forward and will allow me to take on bigger hills later in the season without dying


James said...

44x17 is a really good gear for down hill. Not so much for up. I was running a 42x16 which I think is a little bit larger then the 44x17. I loved that gear. Now I'm running a 17. I don't know why but it feels slugish. And it doesn't really make a huge differnce going up hill. I might try a 44. 3.5 hours on a fix, amazing!

todddowns said...

I thought I was running 46/19 on my Bianchi... turns out it was a 17 - as in 72~ish inch gear. No wonder I hated College Ave so much! I found an old (errm... really old) 43t GT BMX chainring (whoever would have thought I, of all people, would have that lying around. 43/17 is much more civilized.

Okay. Got that out of my system.

Andy said...

Good times. The real story was the freezing temps! My face took three days to thaw...and my junk is another story. Good job holding the helmet steady while turning up the gerbil.. "in a panic grabbing the blender and throwing it into a washing machine on spin cycle, but the washing machine isn't full of water, it's full of gasoline..." - Classic. Anyone who's ever been on a fixie blazing downhill looking for a long run-out can relate perfectly. Good description!