The Zona and I never quite got along. The fit wasn't quite right. The frame flexed some, and more than once I somehow torked my chain off during cross races. Not cool. After the cross season I had an opportunity to get a custom steel single speed, so the Zona and I parted ways. Long story short, the frame maker wasn't able to deliver the custom ride, and I was stuck wondering what my chosen single speed ride would be for the 2014 TransIowa. I could stop all this single speed sillyness and ride my geared cross bike, but I really didn't want to being that I had already committed to ride in the Single Speed division.
About a month ago I decided I would just make do with a conversion of my cross bike and put a Paul's Melvin on it to do the trick. It seemed like a simple concept. Last week at the Grumpy Grind, my simple conversion presented a flaw. My chain was somehow jumping. Be it alignment, position of the tensioner, or dirty roads messing with the chain, I don't know, but having technical issues with a single speed for an endurance ride was not an option in my mind. So I called upon an old friend, a Surly Cross Check.
I hated to be building up a frame at the last minute, but I knew it was one I could count on. I have ridden it the last two days, and man is it sweet. Carbon has its good qualities, as does aluminum, but there is something about the steel comfort of a Cross Check on gravel roads that just can't be mistaken. I see a lot of high quality bikes during cross season and on gravel grinds, and in my mind the Cross Check is the quiet kid in the back row that just does it's job and doesn't get nearly the credit it deserves. With a week to go until TransIowa, it feels good to be back with my old Cross Check friend. Hopefully it will lead me to the finish like it has in the past.
Now that I know what bike I'm riding, I can move on to worrying about something else, like the perfect gearing for a single speed that can conquer hills, wind, loose gravel, and over 300 miles. Hmmm.