Our riding buddy Branson is crushing it on fixed gear this season. On our recent flèche, Branson spun his way at 35 mph down Mount Mitchell and tackled a 3,000 foot climb from Rosman to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Respect!
Off the bike, Branson is a devoted dad and the creative talent behind the NC Randonneurs logo. In an e-mail Q&A, Branson said he's planning PBP on a fixed gear. Read on to find out how he trains and who inspires him.
1. Why fixed this season? What is the appeal for you?
Why fixed? Guess I fell under the same spell so many others have- it's simply a lot of fun! So quiet, so responsive, so efficient. That direct connection to the bike is a great feeling. It's like I'm part of the bike instead of being perched upon one.
2. When did you first ride a fixed gear?
Fall of 2008. I bought a 1983 Trek IS 400 touring frame and converted it to a fixed-gear/singlespeed for commuting. Survived a few crashes around the neighborhood before tentatively taking to the streets. Pretty soon I didn't want to ride anything else. In February 2009 I rode my first fixed brevet- Tony Goodnight's Harrisburg-Laurinburg-Harrisburg 300K.
3. Your form this season is fantastic, with the successful completion of a mountainous flèche and strong finishes on several brevets. Describe your training regimen this year...
Maybe commuting with a little boy in a trailer is the next big thing! He loves it too so it's a win all around. Other than that, I've just really upped the intensity of my rides- fewer, shorter, harder efforts.
4. Your goal is to do an SR series and PBP on fixed?
Yes. PBP has been the goal all along but I'm still not sure I can have fun riding it fixed. Until our flèche a couple of weekends ago I had never ridden more than 300K fixed. If the NCBC 600K feels good and I stay healthy, then it's on to PBP.
5. Your gearing?
Currently I'm riding 45x14 with a 45x16 on the flip side. I'm going up to a 46 for our NCBC 600K and if it works it'll stay there for PBP.
6. Which is tougher -- up or down?
For me- down is tougher! It's just very tricky to get the keister up out of the saddle to stretch when the bike's headed downhill and legs are thrashing.
7. Who do you draw inspiration from?
My wife and son, my parents, Jerry Branson Kimball, Adrian Hands, Charly Miller, Spencer Klaassen, Emily O'Brien, Jake Kassen, Kevin Kaiser.