Sunday, June 24, 2012

A 50 Miler Gone Awry

Having got training oriented business out of the way in Saturday's time-trial, Sunday was going to be a fun day. Dave and Isaac planned a long FOMBA/Bear Brook trail ride. The deal was, I didn't think I was up for it Saturday evening. I told Dave I was out.  My wife has a few relatives over, and this has been messing my sleep up. I think I got less than three hours Friday night. I hit the sack early Saturday night, actually got more than a few hours sleep and felt remarkably better Sunday morning. Dave pinged me a final time to see if I'd reconsider joining them, so I caved in against better judgement. It was going to be too nice of a day to do a lame-ass recovery ride, and a long ride meant less time dealing with inlaws...

We did the usual, big-ring around Massabesic Lake at pretty crazy speeds, then Isaac's secret back way to Bear Brook. We entered on Podunk Rd this time to ride the I-trail from Hall Mountain. That is where the ride went awry. Isaac attempted to chop a log with his rear derailleur. Goodbye rear indexing. The chain and derailleur appeared to be spared, but the hanger sheared clean off. We were over 20 miles from the cars.

Secret way to BB has this gem in it. About 30% grade.
Dave was too far back to see my magic lines to the top.

Single, but fail.

We fussed a good while to get a singlespeed combination to work. Has anybody ever gotten this to work? I never have. Ramped cassettes will not hold a chain, even a tight chain, on a cog. Especially on a full-suspension bike where chain tension is a function of swing-arm position. We got something going that had potential. The good news was we passed Isaac's folks house just as we entered Bear Brook, so he didn't have far to go to call and wait for help. The bad news, we later learned, the chain jumped up to a very tight cog, and maybe with suspension motion adding extra force, sheared the small chain ring completely off the crank. Word is the crank is scrap now. I haven't seen the crank, but maybe there's a chance the bolt remnants can be extracted.

Scenery along Trail 15 heading back.

Dave and I continued on, hitting the campground to top off water. We hit all the good stuff, like Hemlock, Bear Brook, Alp d'Huez and Bear Hill before taking Trail 15 back to FOMBA land. I ate profusely during the ride. I'm learning more and more this is connected with my cramping tendencies in long, fast-paced rides. Dropping down to the Wahoo course around Tower Hill Pond, I had a flashback to the Watershed Wahoo race days. For a moment, I thought I was in the final lap, hammering at speeds of 20+mph around the course. Dave pretty much pegged what was going on in my head and hung on by a thread. It was a great way to finish off a 52 mile, 4.5 hour ride.


JB said...

I once got a singlespeed going pretty good by jamming twigs in the cassette to keep the chain from riding up. The chain would still drop down a cog occasionally and then ride back up, but it never went past the twigs.

Granted, this was a road bike and by "going pretty good" I mean that it worked well enough so that I could ride back instead of calling for help.

Mookie said...

Full suspension pretty much kills any chance of single speed jury rigging working on the trail.