|Charlie Farrow struggles against the wind and hills of T.I.v10. Image by W. Kilburg|
Last week I picked the series back up with a discussion of Rules #7 & #8, which can be seen here. This week I will discuss Rule #10 which reads as follows.....
10: All singlespeed/fixie category racers must start and finish on the same gear. So, that means don't stick 10 assorted freewheels/track cogs in your bag. You CAN run a flip-flop hub, but both gears (freewheel & cog) must have the same number of teeth.
One would assume that a "single speed" means just that- one cog to rule them all and in the Darkness bind them.... Oh! Wait a minute..... Anyway, you know, it is assumed that you cannot switch your gear ratio as a single speeder, right? Well, let me tell ya......
See, ya got yer flip flop hubs and yer dinglespeeds, and yes- some even pack the tools to swap out cogs in the field. We were getting questions during the lead up to the first Trans Iowa about "what was a single speed?" What was our definition? Jeff wrote the rule to address that.
|Fixed finisher Jay Barre- Only the third one ever in ten years.|
I don't have any hard numbers for fixed gear attempts, but I feel pretty sure that since V3 there has been at least one rider in the field that has taken the start on a fixed gear machine. Maybe there were guys in V2 running fixed? I'd like to know.....Updated: I remember now! One of the LaLonde brothers attempted T.I.V2 on a fixie and was running up front in the event until the mud and rain just became too much for everyone.
Anyway, the very first fixed gear finisher and the very first guy I was ever aware of that attempted a Trans Iowa on a fixie was Ken Yokanovich. His bike even had panniers! Then I know that in V4 Eric Brunt was on a Steamroller but had to stop since he didn't make the cut off for CP#1. V5 saw Ben Shockey pull off a fixed gear finish, which was pretty amazing due to the tough course that year.
That was it. There were fixed gear attempts, but no one even got close until last Spring when Jay Barre pulled off an incredible, highly unlikely finish in what I have said is probably the toughest Trans Iowa ever. How he managed to survive the hills, winds, storms, and mud to reach the end was unfathomable to me. But....he did.
The "freewheelin'" single speeders have always fared well at Trans Iowa. Almost every edition has seen a single speed rider in the top five and a single speed rider has finished Trans Iowa in second place three times out of the ten run. One of these days a single speed rider will win it all.