Two weekends ago a crashed out pretty bad on my cyclocross bike: Right off the start line and into a pile up. I dented my top tube on my thin-wall aluminum Cannondale frame, frayed rear shift cable, and busted my rear shift lever. This last Saturday I finally started to fix the dang thing for Sunday's race when I finally realized the extent of the damage.
I called up the folks at cyclesmith and I converted my bike to a single speed. Before the crash, this was my last bike to still have gears. But gears grind, bend, and eventually break before anything else does on a bike and so the single speed is a natural progression (regression).
In a cyclocross race gears confer only a slight advantage and this year the Utah cyclocross series has a single speed category that runs with the B male category. The single speed fields are about 10 people and the B men run about 40. The leaders of the SS category are usually in the top 10 of the B category (I got 6th overall last Sunday).
To make the single speed I bought some lightweight non-shift break levers and a Surly singlelator. The Surly singleator works to keep the chain tension on the rear cog. Rather than fiddle with jingus spring system I just used a good ol Voile ski strap to keep the chain tension. It works well and its bright orange! Ben also helped me out with a 18-tooth BMX rear cog: Muchas Gracias Ben!
I'm running a pretty tall gear: 48 chainring X 18 cog X 700c wheel X 32mm tire giving me ~72 gear inches. This seems to be a good choice for the flat winding courses of Wheeler farm that don't have too many hairpin accelerations.