Race a single speed and the first thing you learn is there is nowhere to hide. When you start to weaken you can't drop a couple gears and spin. You can't walk either. This admits defeat; you didn't choose a single to admit defeat. You're exhausted. Your vision starting to go, and you have started hallucinating? But that beautiful dominatrix gives you a wink, gently grabs hold of your balls [or other genitalia depending on your sex] and whispers faster. There is only one solution: Balls to the wall, keep pushing that gear.
While I have been racing my single speed in the geared expert class in the local cup series and I have learned a lot about myself. Usually I am in pain, but when I finish the race I still feel strong. This didn't happen the last race I did. It was a 50 km enduro, about 10-20km longer than the usual races. On the road I usually ride three times that distance. However, a bunch of shit happened leaving me in less than perfect form and I can’t explain how much I wanted to quit near the end of the race. I was convinced I could’t make the climb. I could barely continue riding on the flat. There was no fucking way my legs were going to push me up that last 2km climb. What the hell am I going to do when I can’t even see the ground properly anymore? All I could do was ride by braille.
Despite this I lied to myself about my condition, and found the strength to keep pushing no matter how much it hurt. No matter that I could not feel anything. In the I made it and somehow got a medal out of the whole fiasco.
Like so many things it is all in your mind, perception defines reality. If you will it, it will happen. By riding a single speed you chose to “disadvantage” yourself. You have now removed the ability to use your equipment as an excuse. I find many people are quick to blame equipment for poor results. This is far too easy a solution. If those ultra light thin tubes keep pinching and costing you the win, shut the fucking hell up and put in some heavier tubes. Is that World Cup SID like riding a wet noodle, put on a stiffer, heavier fork for you pompous ass. These excuses simple don't fly with a single speed; if you fail it was because you let yourself down. You chose the game and you lost, it is as simple as that. It’s the ultimate judgment and many people can’t handle that kind of introspection.
How is your mettle? Mine’s fine. Master says faster… Yes master