February 4, 2013
Jason Miles sent us this little ditty about his (very successful) Strathpuffer experience:
I’m pretty sure that ever since I’ve been riding bikes offroad properly (as in, since I first got into cycling as an adult after ten years or so of being anything but athletic), I’ve had a singlespeed. Normally the whole thing would have been thrown together for a few quid and through the winter it’d be brilliant. I’d leave it covered in crap and it’d still work.
I’ve never, ever been a ‘career’ singlespeeder though. I know there’s a proper scene and all that but I’ve never found the things fast or practical enough to take really seriously. Always in the wrong gear, y’see.
Anyway, I’ve also always considered winter to be a time to try something different and to relax a bit. Maybe even to approach something that I’d normally take quite seriously (perhaps a bit too seriously at times) such as a 24 hour solo race and do it in a way I’d not consider if it was a 24 hour race in the summer.
So, for the second year in a row, I was racing in the solo category of the Strathpuffer on a singlespeed. This time with a rigid fork. I’m not going into much detail here but the Strathpuffer has a number of features that mean it’s pretty rough on bikes so in some respects a singlespeed can be an advantage. No frozen gears, no massive drivetrain bill when you get home, that sort of thing. After 13 hours or so of being stood up when climbing and not being able to bail out into an easier gear though, the advantages have been long-forgotten and it’s pain and discomfort all the way.
Still, all that suffering was forgotten at the end and it was nice to win the overall solo category.
The full story of the pain and stupidity can be found on his blog here.
And you can re-live some of the pain on our forum thread here.
The Strathpuffer website is here: http://www.strathpuffer.co.uk/home