So I'm at it again...thinking. Thinking usually gets me in trouble, or at least into a quandary. I've been thinking about something different. I've been riding and racing on a 29er singlespeed since 2004. I did a slight departure in 2007 and raced a Gary Fisher Paragon 29er for a bit before coming down with some weird mystery illness that derailed my entire season. The thought keeps rattling around in my brain about jumping into the Old Man Expert class next season and leaving the singlespeed class to the youngsters.
It's not that I don't feel competitive, I do. I had a pretty good season and can point to what I did right and what I did wrong and how I got the results I got. I'm beginning to understand how I respond to training and I know how to make next season even better than this season. I'm just not sure what kind of bike I want to do it on.
I love my Niner One 9. It rocks. But I can remember the wicked long rides I could do right from home on a geared bike. Back when I had my Giant XTC SE1, I'd saddle up early in the morning and ride up over Ft. Lewis Mountain, and put 4 or 5 hours under my belt. It's hard to do that on the singlespeed. Not because of the distance, but because of the flatness. You run out of gear quickly when you only have one to choose from.
And yes, the picture you see is a bike with 26" wheels. And gears. And front and rear suspension. A fully suspended 26er would weigh in a bit lighter than a 29er hardtail. My biggest concern is that I've been on 29 inch wheels for so long that I don't know how difficult a transition to 26" wheels would be.
I have a whole lot more thinking to do. This type of bike could open up a whole new type of riding for me. Just think, the places that I have ridden in the past 5 years would be totally different on a bike with gears! Dragons Back? I could actually ride Dragon's Back, not push most of it. I could see some silly long rides taking place. From home to Ft. Lewis to the Cove and back. 50 and 60 milers could materialize real quick-like.
Oh, I hate the off-season. I have too much time to think about things.