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Saturday, June 20, 2020

Stop The Madness

For four wonderful years, I blissfully rode my geared Black Mountain Cycles MonsterCross for thousands of miles on many long, remote road rides and races. Then, for some inexplicable reason, I converted it to single speed for the 2018 Gold Rush Gravel Grinder. A Single Speed Gold Rush.

Good. I got that out of my system and switched back to gears.

Black Mountain Cycles MonsterCross after its 75 month/25,000 mile tune up in June 2020.

Hold your horses. Guitar Ted announces a single speed only race on the storied gravel roads of central Iowa in March 2019. Really? OK. I'm not about to miss that. Back to single speed for the C.O.G. 100. A Fine Mess. And, since I'm at it, let's go for the first attempt of the 210 mile Mother Lode single speed. Arrogance At The Mother Lode.

How did this happen? This is nuts. I thought I beat this single speed addiction back in 2014 with that sweet geared Black Mountain Cycles MonsterCross.

But it doesn't stop. I continue to ride single speed throughout the 2019-2020 winter to prepare for the 150 mile Buffalo Bill Rough Rider Gravel Grinder. And then it's single speed throughout the 2020 Black Hills Gravel Series to date and the 110 mile route of the Gold Rush Gravel Grinder. Not A Virtual Ride.

Black Mountain Cycles MonsterCross, set up single speed at Trailshead Lodge, O'Neil Pass, South Dakota,
the 70 mile checkpoint of the 110 mile route of the 2020 Gold Rush Gravel Grinder.

Enough already. Long, remote rides on rough roads are tough enough with gears.

Here's a novel concept for 2020. Stop the madness. Check the emotion. Control the ego. Engage the intellect.

Get your gears back on.

So, I rebuild the Shimano 105 hubs and buff the H Plus Son Archetype rims on my geared wheel set. I then install a new set of 40 mm Schwalbe G-One Bite tires. As I start on gears, a closer look at the rest of the bike stops me cold. This bike needs much more work.

One long afternoon last week, I take most everything apart, clean everything, inspect everything, switch out the Salsa Cow Chipper handle bars for Salsa Cow Bells, wrap new bar tape, install front and rear derailers, and replace the brake pads, brake cables, brake housing, shift cables, shift housing, chain, and cassette.

The result? Coasting down our driveway, before even shifting gears, I smile ear to ear. Yes. This is how this bike is meant to be. Smooth. Comfortable. Familiar. It's like slipping into sneakers and stepping up to the free throw line. The difference is not the addition of gears, but the change of tires. I finally replaced those awful Teravail Cannonballs, which have to be the harshest tires I've ridden since racing 21 mm slicks at 130 psi years ago. Thank you, Schwalbe for your G-Ones!

Refreshed Black Mountain Cycles MonsterCross, set up geared for all day riding on rough remote roads.
Now adorned with custom color top tube bag and frame bag from DirtBags Bikepacking.

Now with gears, maybe I can actually ride gravel more with others. And maybe I can ride a few overnight or longer light bikepacking trips this summer. And maybe I can keep gears on this bike for awhile. Maybe.

For an earlier post about the Black Mountain Cycles MonsterCross bike, go to A Road Bike By Black Mountain Cycles. For my 2016 series of posts about its 30 month, 12,000 mile overhaul, go to It's Time - Overhaul (part 1)Frame & Fork (part 2)Wheels & Tires (part 3)Drivetrain (part 4)Brakes & Shifters (part 5)Controls (part 6)On The Road Again (part 7).

Black Mountain Cycles MonsterCross after its 30 month, 12,000 mile overhaul in 2016.

Why, Annie Lennox (1992).

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