Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sunday Morning Ride: Brown Canyon, Singlespeed

Took the Rat Ride on a tour of Brown Canyon this morning. The ride from town on pavement was interesting. As a kid, I always rode proper, utilitarian bikes with gears, never a Stingray, Banana Bike or BMX, so I don't have any muscle memory to call upon. Nonetheless, I quickly learned the spin-coast rhythm of the shiftless. And I discovered something interesting: I covered the 8-1/2 miles from driveway to trailhead in about the usual time, but with less perceived effort.

My climb from the mailboxes  to the gate was an adequate 8:23. The smaller wheels and lower frame threw off some well-rehearsed moves, and the gearing (33:16) was a little stiff in a couple of the steeper spots. The final ramp to the gate (the inside turn) slowed me to a near-stall.

At the gate, I was greeted by Lucy, a brown canine cyclone. Her pet mountain biker, Nick, was taking a breather nearby. The duo let me go on ahead, then caught up and passed in the fast section about a half mile shy of Brown Canyon Ranch. Never saw them again--they were flying!

On the chattery passages of the trail, I was aware of how solid the bike felt and how quiet it was. The absence of the jangle of the chain slapping the stay, and the confidence that the chain could not jump off the chainwheel seemed to free up some mental processing cycles that I used to good advantage in picking lines on the trickier parts.

On the pavement heading home, I got to sample the BMX lifestyle again, but downhill this time. Had to suppress a little impatience, as I'm accustomed to making 20-25 mph on the way back to the barn. But  kick-and-coast has its compensations: the commute home turned into a relaxing cooldown after the trail.

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