A few minutes ago, endurance cyclist and Hillsboro resident John Spurgeon — whose story I shared on Monday — surged into Atlantic City New Jersey and became the first person to ever complete the grueling Race Across America on a singlespeed.
The story on the front page of the RAAM website simply says, “Single Speed History: He freaking did it!!!!!!!!”
Riding on frames built by Portlanders Ira Ryan and Sacha White, Spurgeon completed 3042 miles in 12 days with an average speed of 10.5 miles per hour.
Facing a possibility of not making the cutoff in the final days, Spurgeon went without sleep and rode all night to ensure his historic feat.
Even though he was surely exhausted from his cross-country journey, he actually picked up his pace through his final time station and averaged 16 mph for the final 20 miles.
His supporters are overjoyed, and with good reason. Spurgeon’s unprecedented accomplishment will make him a legend and he has earned a spot in the history books.
Way to go John!
That is amazing. Congrats John!
My Hero! One day I wish to ride that race but I\’ve a lot of miles to pile on to get to his bad-ass level.
I\’m hoping he\’s saying to himself \”Darn, I should have done it fixed, so that I can follow his progress next year :-).
Awesome feat! Way to go!
I ride a single speed everyday but John\’s accomplishment of finishing makes my jaw drop and my legs hurt just thinking about it.
WOW…10.5mph is my top speed on my Dutch single speed…and thats not all night long. John Congrats!
Not to be overly ANALytical, but the math seems a little strange. Maybe my definition of day is wrong. 3042miles/10.5mph/24hourinaday = 12.07 days. Am I to assume he rode for 12 days without sleeping or eating or that his \”real\” average speed was more like 16-18 mph. This leaves 8 or 10 hours for sleeping, resting, or eating.
there is a class of riding (randonneuring for one) where your speed is miles/total elapsed time. On bike time, while nice, doesn\’t count. You\’ve got to complete the course in the time limit. So yeah, one will stop and eat and all, but the clock is still ticking.
Impressive and inspiring.
Now that is a special kind of crazy. Truly amazing!
John just called to say he is rested and heading down for the awards banquet. He feels good and says his legs feel stronger now than they did at day #2. He looks forward to a good sleep tonight and doing something not bike related tomorrow with his family in Atlantic City. He should be back in Portland in about 10 days since they are driving the van back and taking a family vacation. John wants to thank all his supporters who followed his progress these last 12 days race. John is hanging the idea out that maybe he will do it again next year on a fixie (now that would be crazy?). He said that coming in under the time deadline was amazing and met all his goals, the success against some of the other accomplished riders was an unexpected outcome.
i got goosebumps when i heard about john finishing. true grit, john. way to kill it!
Well, tell us newbies:
What is the difference twixt a single speed and a fixie?
I like to climb mountains and I know some people think mountain climbers are nuts. I understand why other people like to climb mountains, BUT I would not even consider riding a single speed bike ANYWHERE. So, when it comes to riding single speed bikes, I\’m like those folks that think mountain climbers are crazy loonies.
What\’s the attraction of the single speed? (Besides not much to break.) I need gears for hills.
BRAVO JOHN BRAVO!!!!
don\’t know squat:
All fixed gears are single speeds, but not all single speeds are fixed gears….
The Race Across America is a notably insane race in that most participants generally only sleep about 2 hours per night. The clock never stops running and the goal is to simply get across the continent in the absolute shortest time possible, period.
don\’t know squat:
In more detail, a single speed simply means that a bike only has one gear, and technically can be fixed or have a freewheel, but generally \”single speed\” refers to a single speed bicycle with a freewheel instead of a single speed fixed gear.
Having a freewheel means that you can coast. You can pedal and then stop pedalling, and the wheels keep moving but the pedals don\’t move. This is the sort of behaviour you are used to.
Having a fixed gear means that when the wheels move, the pedals move. The advantage to this is that it does not allow you to coast, which some people say makes you a better cyclist, and it allows you to brake or make the back wheel go backwards by pushing backwards on the pedals. This makes it possible to do neat things like trackstands, where you stop and balance the bike upright with your feet on the pedals. I don\’t really understand how people do this, and it\’s pretty magical to watch.
dont know squat, #13
As the man who founded the Tour de France said….
\”Isn\’t it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailleur?
We are getting soft…. As for me, give me a fixed gear!\”
— Henri Desgrange, in L\’Auto-Velo, 1902
CONGRATS!! You deserve a book deal for this crazy as bleep feat!
BillD, good quote! but i (& especially my knees) rather like those derailleur artifice-thingies…
Sturmey Archer made a 3-speed fixed, but they are RARE.
The deal with fixed is to select a gear low enough to get up hills, but not so low that you can\’t spin it down hills. With a flip-flop hub you have some options either gearing wise, or fixed/free. John addressed this issue by using two bikes, if I had an Ira Ryan AND a Vanilla I would do the same thing.
I find gears to be a nuisance, unless it is some brand new indexed setup, and even then it has to be perfectly adjusted.
A fixed gear bike climbs really nice, and you can control the speed of the bike instantly by regulating your cadence. You tend to be a bit slower down hills with fixed but you are usually faster up most hills.
rock on dude- im-pressive
Thanks for all the support! For the record, I did sleep about 90 minutes every night plus several cat naps during the day. I don\’t know how the rumor got started that I might do RAAM on a fixie some day. Did I say something? I just don\’t remember. In any event, I do NOT plan to do RAAM on a fixed gear – EVER! Single speed really isn\’t that bad, though. I think finishing with only one gear would be pretty doable. Maybe I\’ll do more racing and less socializing next time. Or not.