Left work early to meet Lou, Basso and Pig for some cross practice. Evidently I didn't leave early enough as I got a call on the way that they were done and heading home. Must be nice to be able to leave work at 3 on a nice day to go ride. Some day I might be able to do that. I almost turned around, but decided to head down for at least a lap of Denman's since the weather was nice and rain is in the forecast for later in the week. Hopped on the SingleCross and bumped into Rick Blackford just inside of the entrance. We made forward loop through Denman's, across Dirty Express, two laps of Hillside and a run through Rollercoaster before Rick had to head for home. On the way through we saw Nathan, Emily and Cam all out for some late fall single track action, and Maria finishing up a late afternoon ride on her road bike. A lot of other people were out, either running or riding, with quite a few kids out for rides with their parents. Good to see that people are enjoying the trails.
After parting ways with Rick, I headed back along Dirty Express and took a backwards lap through Denman's before it got too dark to see. I ran this lap on the drops instead of the hoods, and it felt a thousand times better better. Brake modulation was much better and the bike just handled like it was on rails. I'm starting to see the light on this drop bar for off-roading stuff that Guitar Ted has been proselytizing about for the past few days. Not sure how I'd make drops work on the geared KM without using bar ends, and I'm not sure that bar ends would be XC race friendly for the amount of gear changing that I do. Drop bar 29er single speed MTB in my future maybe? Regrding gearing on the Singlecross, the 42x18 was OK for Denman's and too steep for Hillside (I'm not manly like that Kent Carlson guy yet). I think a 39 front ring would have made Hillside easier to climb, and allowed me to be quicker out of the corners in Denman's. That 2:1 ratio seems to be what most of the single speeders run around here. I have a feeling that I'm going to have a collection of rings and chains for the Singlecross soon. A 46x18 would be nice for fall road rides as well as commuting. I run a 46x17 on my road only single speed now.
Tomorrow is Renegade Cross practice at Witmer Park. This will be the first one of them I have hit this year. I thought it might be a good idea before entering SpookyCross this weekend.