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What's the most climbing you've done on a fixed gear randonnee?

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What's the most climbing you've done on a fixed gear randonnee?

Old 07-29-19, 05:12 PM
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groovestew
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What's the most climbing you've done on a fixed gear randonnee?

For the fixed-gear long distance riders out there, what's the most amount of climbing you've done on a 200? I'm looking at doing a randonnee this weekend with 2100 meters of climbing (6800 feet) and wondering if that's absolutely nuts to consider with a fixed gear.

Here's the RWGPS route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/15432428

Yeah, I know that the answer is "it depends", but I'm curious what others have done. I don't think I would attempt it without being okay with a DNF, and for better or worse, I will have a bail-out option.
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Old 07-29-19, 06:56 PM
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I don't ride fixed gear, but I know some randonneurs that do, and they wouldn't hesitate to ride that course fixed. To me it looks like the worst part is the return, although that hump in the middle doesn't look like a lot of fun either.
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Old 07-29-19, 08:01 PM
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It can certainly be done, but there's a 2 mile stretch on the steep part of the Icefields Parkway that will be super hard. I'd bring a bike with gears personally. Probably pretty low ones.

Paul Rozelle’s 24-hour, pre-PBP, fixed-gear, Mont Ventoux ride
Get Over It: How to Climb on a Fixed-Gear Bicycle
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Old 07-30-19, 12:07 AM
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How about a double century?

Not my accomplishment, but this years California Triple Crown Stage Race had one rider do the Central Coast Double (15k’ish), Terrible Two (17k’ish), and Alta Alpina (20k) fixed.

I did the rides geared, and that was hard enough.
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Old 07-30-19, 12:43 AM
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Consider a flip-flip wheel and bringing three cogs and a lightweight chainwhip/ Say a 42 x 13, 17 and 23. Start on the 17. Flip at mile 92 to the 23. Unscrew the 23 at the turnaround and screw on the 17. 3 or 4 stops for gear changes in 200 km (?). The turnaround may be a stop anyway.

I am not a randoneur rider but have ridden 130 miles fixed in a day several times. 98 miles with 9800' (158 km with ~3000 m) riding up and down both entrances to Crater Lake and around. (Did that with a 42 x 12, 17 and 23.) I'm headed back to Crater Lake in 2 months and hope to do it on the same bike though now I have a 24 (and am 66; 7 years older). My knees simply won't allow me to do those climbs on my old, one cog. My equally old crotch really doesn't want to do those descents either. But I love riding fixed. So I ride fixed like the early bike racers did; with the ritual of stopping and changing gears. (Oh, when I say flip-flip wheel., that means fixed on both sides as opposed to a flip-flop with a freewheel on one side.)

Ben
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Old 07-30-19, 09:01 AM
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Thanks guys, especially @79pmooney for the specific advice on the gears. You've pretty much answered a question I hadn't asked yet. I don't have a proper flip-flip hub, just a flip-flop with a freewheel, but that might still be a nice bailout on the descents.
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Old 07-30-19, 10:52 AM
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I have a Strava link to a ride I did last June, a week after riding a 1200 km that was also pretty hilly. This doesn't seem to work, but maybe someone more adept at linkology can figure it out.

https://www.strava.com/activities/16...3e4554bd89ce73

But whatever. Here is the RWGPS link to the same route:

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/22292809

I rode this on a 1964 JRJ track bike set up with two brakes. If I recall correctly, I have that bike geared at around 69 or 70 inches. I walked twice; once pretty early on, I will guess at the 9 km mark; I just wasn't warmed up yet, and wanted to walk. I heard another rider scoff, as he went by. I think that was a friend of mine scoffing merely for my amusement, and indeed I thought was pretty funny at the time. I walked again at the 180 km mark, a nasty steep hill with a lot of potholes. I walked the nasty part of that, then started pedaling again. I thought this was an excellent ride for the fixie, lots of good hard climbs, and a lot of relaxing easy descents. A lot more fun than a flat route in southern New Jersey.

As to your route, the number of feet of climbing does not strike me as worrisome. But I'm not sure I like the profile. This might be a job for a flip-flop hub, use a low fixed gear for the first half, a higher freewheel for the second. My bike had that option, but I've never bothered to flip the wheel around on a ride. On your ride, I might do that, though.

At any rate, no, it's not crazy. But it might not be a good idea. I do "not a good idea" stuff all the time, no worries.
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Old 07-30-19, 11:17 AM
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I couldn't get your strava link to display, but you can see the link now.

That's a pretty impressive ride just after a 1200k, I'm sure the climb out of el dread was fun.

I have laughed at Guy on the Old Mine climb when he was trying to get up it on a fixed gear. But I have demonstrated conclusively that walking is almost as fast as riding on that hill.
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Old 07-30-19, 11:28 AM
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I'm not afraid of walking...Back in April I rode up Haleakala (on a proper road bike, and yes, I spent lots of time in the lowest gear) and did a fair amount of walking at the higher elevations.

My current setup is 72 GI (46X17) which I'm thinking is a bit high for me on this route. I have a 42T chainring somewhere in my parts bin that I think I'll install, and have the 17T freewheel available in case the spinning on the descents gets out of control.
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Old 07-30-19, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I couldn't get your strava link to display, but you can see the link now.

That's a pretty impressive ride just after a 1200k, I'm sure the climb out of el dread was fun.

I have laughed at Guy on the Old Mine climb when he was trying to get up it on a fixed gear. But I have demonstrated conclusively that walking is almost as fast as riding on that hill.
Ah, did you fix it? Seems to work now. Thanks!

Yup, Old Mine, AKA "Walker's Hill."
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Old 07-30-19, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I couldn't get your strava link to display, but you can see the link now.

That's a pretty impressive ride just after a 1200k, I'm sure the climb out of el dread was fun.

I have laughed at Guy on the Old Mine climb when he was trying to get up it on a fixed gear. But I have demonstrated conclusively that walking is almost as fast as riding on that hill.
Ah, did you fix it? Seems to work now. Thanks!

Yup, Old Mine, AKA "Walker's Hill."

Originally Posted by groovestew View Post
I'm not afraid of walking...Back in April I rode up Haleakala (on a proper road bike, and yes, I spent lots of time in the lowest gear) and did a fair amount of walking at the higher elevations.

My current setup is 72 GI (46X17) which I'm thinking is a bit high for me on this route. I have a 42T chainring somewhere in my parts bin that I think I'll install, and have the 17T freewheel available in case the spinning on the descents gets out of control.
The 42-17 would probably work fine, but I think the 46-17 will be okay as well. The climb won't be too bad. For the descent you'll want a higher gear, or a freewheel, or maybe both.
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Old 07-30-19, 03:32 PM
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I rode a a 200 miler here in New Hampshire twice a couple of years ago, both times fixed gear, 50x17. Around 9000-10000 feet of climbing. I rode it after not having ridden any 75+ mile days in over 15 months. I was the first two of 6 back to back weeks of riding a 200 miler....4 of them using basically the same route.

The secret to riding a, anything, ride is to be in shape first. If you can ride it multispeed without any trouble, riding it fixed gear is easy. The only reason my first day ever riding fixed wasn't a fixed gear century was due to a 24 hour bug that hit me and for one of the very rare times I could not stay warm while riding. I ended up with 75 miles my first day riding fixed gear. I went on a couple of weeks later and had my first 100+ mile fixed gear ride being a 150 mile ride. A month a half later the weather broke, for one of the nicest stretches I have ever seen around here, and I ended up riding 21 consecutive back to back 100 mile days. It could have 33 back to back days but I had to force myself off the bike so I could get some other things taken care before leaving for a 8400 mile bike trip.
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Old 07-31-19, 03:13 PM
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I have done 400k with 16k of climbing as one day of a 1000K or 1200K several times. If the grades aren't steep and the descents aren't long, it's not significantly harder than a geared bike. Looking at the GPS track, I would expect to walk about a quarter mile around mile 59.
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Old 08-01-19, 10:40 AM
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Thanks everyone. I found reading this thread to be educational as well, seeing how some fixed riders find a flat long distance ride to be "harder" than a hilly one. I've done one fixed 200 in the past, a fairly flat one with about 100 consecutive kilometers (60 miles) on the bald, flat prairie, and oh my, that was miserable.

Also, I discovered my spare 42T chain ring was actually a 40T, which is really too small, so I'll stick with the 46T.

I'll update next week with how I did.
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Old 08-01-19, 07:50 PM
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Yes, I find a flat course becomes unbearable after a while. Hour after hour at the same cadence, no coasting ever, only way to get out of the saddle is to hold the brakes and pedal standing up. I'd much rather have some hills.
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Old 08-02-19, 06:22 AM
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that's why I thought the return trip might be worse. From here it looks like a really long downhill, so you'll be glued to the saddle for 45 miles. A flip flop with a freewheel on one side might be a blessing.
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Old 08-06-19, 09:25 AM
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Well, that's done. Finished in just under 9:30. I did have to walk for about a kilometer total at the steepest section near the midpoint. I would ride until my heart rate got too high, then walk for a bit, then ride, etc. The last 5 km before the turnaround was a steady 3-5% grade combined with a stiff headwind, probably the most miserable part of the ride. On the way back, the difficulty was mainly a matter of keeping my speed in check on the downhill sections which got old really fast. I never seriously entertained the idea of flipping my wheel to the freewheel side, but I know the ride would have been a lot more enjoyable if I had. But you don't do a fixed long distance ride for enjoyment, right? It's all about the challenge. Not one I think I'll repeat (which is what I said last time I did a fixed 200).

The next day, my cycling buddy and I had driven to another area of the Canadian Rockies, and I rented a hard-tail mountain bike (the shop was all out of full-suspension) with a 3X8 drivetrain. In order to get to the local trails, I had to ride up a 130m (425') hill on a paved road with grades exceeding 10%. Even in low gear, I struggled up that stupid hill. I guess it was a good reminder that steep hills are tough, whether you're spinning or grinding.
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Old 08-06-19, 07:57 PM
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thanks for reporting back. I'm sure randonnesia will set in and you'll do some other fixed ride
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Old 08-07-19, 06:00 PM
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I do a lot of fixed-gear riding, but have never ridden a brevet fixed. You've inspired me to give it a try on a 200k before the end of the season.
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Old 08-08-19, 08:34 AM
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It's worth doing at least once, if only to figure out why you'll never do it again
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Old 08-08-19, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by groovestew View Post
It's worth doing at least once, if only to figure out why you'll never do it again
I'm planning to strategically pick a ride that's a little more FG-friendly
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Old 09-29-19, 07:44 AM
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I rode my first fixed 200k a few weeks ago. It only had 3747 feet of climbing according to RWGPS. My left pinky finger went numb which doesn't happen on shorter rides, but I'd need to figure out how to get that corrected before I attempt a longer distance. Other than that it wasn't too bad.
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Old 09-30-19, 09:23 AM
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Congrats @kingston! I clicked on your RWGPS link, and saw the route went past some old stomping grounds of mine. I lived for a year in Vernon Hills in the early 80's. Now, I was only 8 years old at the time, so I don't remember much about the area; I imagine it has has changed a lot since then.
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Old 10-03-19, 07:42 PM
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I rode a 400k last Saturday with our fearless leader who rides a fixed gear. Somewhere around 9-10,000 feet of climb. He has been all over the world, did PBP this year. Planning to do a 600k with him in a week. Legend.
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