December 23, 2016

SS Voodoo

I've been wanting to add a singlespeed (SS) bike to my quiver ever since I saw how happy it made both Ray & Jeff on theirs. Ok, not really, those two are the poster children for angry singlespeeders, but I still wanted one!!

While I'm not going full nutjob and solely riding SS, there are plenty of local trails deemed 'SS friendly'. I do like the simplicity of the one gear setup and there's no doubt it will make me a stronger rider. There's nowhere to hide on a SS. Just pedal dammit.

So, when I got the Motobecane it became obvious, this was the time to convert the Voodoo over to SS mode. It didn't take much, remove all the shifty bits, get a SS chainring, thanks Ray, buy a SS cog (20T) and use up all of Jeff's spacers, Thanks Jeff!! The Voodoo instantly dropped 2lbs, down to a svelte 27 now.

Time for a test spin on Desert Classic.
It looks so barren. Hollow.
I was reminded quickly that I should pay attention to upcoming hills, momentum is your friend. I failed this basic concept a couple of times resulting in HAB on Desert Classic. Perfect. Overall, I really like how it handled. It'll just take a couple of rides to get used to it. Or perhaps I should just take it out on a long ride??
The unsettled weather gave Desert Classic trail a surreal feel.
Of course I opted to go out on a long ride. Brown's Ranch was the logical choice, but I also decided to link in the McDowell Regional Park for good measure.

Storm systems have been sweeping across the Valley of the Sun steadily the past few weeks. I knew the trails had received rain, but they tend to drain very well. There's a couple of spots to avoid, namely just north of Brown's Mtn. The route I took through Brown's Ranch was of the Hero dirt variety. The normally dry crushed granite over hardpack surface turned tacky wheel grabbing bliss.

I was about a dozen miles into the ride, cruising along the winding 136th St. Express trail, when I dipped into a slightly banked turn. I looked up and saw another rider rapidly approaching as he too had a similar approach. Unfortunately for both of us a Palo Verde tree had blocked our view of each other. Beneath our sunglasses was a look of 'oh shit!!' I jammed on my brakes and tried to turn, but I was already locked in position. We slowed just enough to prevent disaster, coming to a halt when our handlebars clanked. In all my years of mountain biking, 22+, I've never had that happen. Thankfully, neither one of us were injured and the bikes were ok!! Of course the Voodoo was fine, what else could possibly happen to that thing?
McDowell Mtns shrouded in low hanging clouds.
All the trails through here are practically made for singelspeeding.
Hours into the ride, the peak is still hidden.

I was about to make my scheduled break stop at the Nature Center when it started to lightly rain. It was great timing. Almost on cue the rain let up as I was ready to start pedaling once again.
Was not expecting to see this boulder covered in moss!!
The McDowell Mtns getting small after 500 twists & turns on Gooseneck trail.

Maverick trail was the only one with large puddles, mostly because it's one of the old moto converted trails.
60 miles on the singlespeed felt great. I'm looking forward to a steady dose of SS'ing to round out my riding.

Route flyover


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