The house lights go down and a spotlight hits the stage as the black velvet curtains sweep silently back.

Here's my new bike - a Lynskey.


It's titanium.


It's a beefy 29'er.


It has sliders.


The 2011 Lynskey Ridgeline-29 SL and it's going to be my entry point into hardtail single speed endurance racing.


Why hardtail and why single speed?

Racing 24hr Solo's is never, ever easy but in all the really long races I've done it's always been on some kind of full suspension bike. My current race bike, a 2010 Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper FSR, makes long hard courses easier with it's big full suspension ability - I like full suspension, especially as a 47yr old who's always treated his body like it's only 20yrs old. But now that I'm into my 5th year of 24hr Solo racing, with a respectable number of Solo's under my belt, I'm left questioning a race subject that I wanted answers to some time ago. The question stems from seeing Solo single speeders in all those races and wondering 'Could I do that?' or thinking 'Those guys are crazy, I wonder how hard it is?', I should have answered the question a while ago but maybe it took 5yrs of long racing to get to a point where I would want to seek out the answer to the single speed question.

I don't know what it takes to race a 24hr Solo competitively on a single speed but every time I'm out there ripping it up on my full suspension bike I look at the guys on the single speeds and wonder if their level of racing difficulty is somehow a small notch above mine. I know I've always shown a great deal of respect to the single speed Soloists and on the course I go out of my way to congratulate them on their level of racing. Are they really the Supermen of 24hr Solo's or is it simply just a different style of racing and it's all equally as hard. I don't know but it's time to get my own answer.

I don't know if I'll be able to gut out 24hrs on a hardtail and the single speed thing just adds more complexity to the new path forward. It's a pretty big question mark for me at this point, it's a big directional shift from a racing point of view. But I'm ok with that because it's gonna push my limits, make me question myself and expose me to new riding experiences - all good.

The frame won't be here until end-March so I have lots of time to cry myself to sleep at night wondering if my knees and back will be tough enough. A bonus to the frame being two months away is I get to obsess over which parts to put on the bike (because I currently have none and really don't know what to put on it) so that means loads of hours looking at weights, and features, and reliability, and robustness, and cost, and... stuff.

Of course Doreen thinks this is all a good idea, given that the frame was a present from her. So far the only guidelines I've been given are no piercings and no single speed tattoos. I don't expect either of those will happen... this year. ;-)

In closing, I just want to give a shout out to Mike Viertel at Lynskey who has been super easy to deal with, answering all my questions and making the whole process really smooth, thanks Mike!


John F said...

So as you were racing 24's and pushing your body to insane limits the thought occurred to you....

Could I make this even harder and more insane..?

Yes, yes I could!

Your insanity is inspirational Brother, no doubt about that.

Single speed racers: watch out you are about to be pushed.

Shaun Taylor said...

Inspirational insanity... my favourite kind of insanity. ;-)

Sarah said...

I did the 48hour singlespeed, and much of it rigid. I'm not that tough, as we've found out. You'll be fine. Yes. Your knees will hurt at first, but I'm glad you're drinking the kool-aid. I don't even want to ride my bike, if I can't ride my ss. The Ridgeline was my favorite frame. Congrats!! Good choice.

Shaun Taylor said...

You are tougher than most.

I'll be letting you know what the kool-aid tastes like.

Amber said...

Silly question... if it is a single speed, why is there a mount for a derailer? ;)

Shaun Taylor said...

Ahhhh, good eye Amber.

The beauty of this setup is I can ride it single speed and then when I realize I'm not tough enough I can wave my magic wand, throw a rear derailleur on and convert it to a geared bike.