Sunday, January 16, 2011

Triple D, Me and a Bike Chain.

Went to the prerace meeting last night. Lance Andre, and Matt Maxwell put on an amazing seminar about surviving overnight winter races. Packing butter and peanut butter for high calorie fuel, and taking along a small stove to melt ice and snow for water, among many other factors. These guys know their stuff with multiple experiences in all the big winter races, like Arrow Head, Susitna, Tuscobia, and on and on. Lance is now headed this year for Idititrod, which is invitational only, and 350 miles of extreme winter bicycling in Alaska.
So Birgit and I chatted around a bit, and had a few beers and a few pieces of pizza all in a good crowd.

Ok now for today. Triple D race. Last night at the Prerace meeting Lance made the comment that he didn't think a 'FatTire' was going to win the race. He said the snow is hard enough packed that a skinnie tire, a.k.a. Mountain Bike would probably travel faster. So a last minute decision was made by me last night to switch bikes from the FatBack to the Trek Hard Tail. I stayed up until midnight getting the needed bike parts on the HardTail and tuned.

In the morning before the race, I checked the outside temp and it was 9 F.  I placed chemical warmers on my water bottles and placed two insulated sleeves over each one. I put a can of pop in my back bag and planned on drinking that first before it froze. I dressed in multiple layers of wool and a wind breaker. I packed Pop Tarts and fruity bars, and even a Lil Debbie. I had duel sets of batteries for my front headlight and two blinkie lights for the rear. The route was 68 miles and with the snow, to finish, I would need to finish in the dark.

The race started on time, and we rode a non competitive pace out of town through city streets. Soon the trail changed, we were now on snow mobile trails, through wooded areas, corn fields, over creeks, winding hills, and sharp corners. Places the snow mobiles have a lot of fun on. The FatTire bikes ruled here, the snow was soft. I found myself pushing the bike up most hills, the 2.3 tires would spin out in the deeper snow. I was starting to sweat and removed my gloves, hat, and wind breakers. Only to put them all back on after a long downhill section. The ride was challenging staying on the bike. I had one goal to get to Heritage Trail. There the trail was frozen hard, and level, my lighter bike would travel well in those conditions.

I was skipping gears on hard grinds, and my derailleur was sticking. I thought must be getting frosted and ice bound. Some of the hills were killers, I was on the last climb of the route, then shIT happened. My pedal spun around fast and the bike stopped. I thought my chain rolled off my front gear. I looked down and I knew it was over. My chain snapped. This is a non supported race so there was no repair or replacement going to happen.

The housing on the chain cracked, I was on a flat out stall on a steep hill pushing hard not wanting to stall out. When you stop on a hill with loose snow, your done, you have to walk the whole hill to get back in the pedals again. Not sure how to avoid this type of failure in the future. Will move up a notch in chain quality if nothing else. 

I called Traci who was handling SAG, and told her I was out of the race, and would hunt down one of my boys for a ride. I was out in a farm field, I could see a road and started walking to it. Some riders were walking by that were behind me, here we have Grace and John, who are a lot of fun and this is their third year in Triple D. John is a veteran Iron Man competitor. They make neat movies of previous Triple D's. Grace was also interviewed by the local newspaper for the same article I am supposed to be in, but I am wondering when it is going to be in the newspaper. I thought maybe today. I thought wrong. 
They saw me walking the course backwards and said they were not going to allow me to quit. Then they saw my broken chain hanging off my crossbar and knew, like I knew, it was over.
My son Caleb happy to pick up his poor poor stranded father.
Knee is sore now, but didn't bother me during the race. Big day at the doctor's this Wed, hoping for improvement. My mind is still all revved up for riding. Thinking maybe put the parts back on the FatBack, and check out the race route tomorrow. Geeeeesh!!!!! just my nature I guess.
Thank you for visiting.


Harry Legge's Cycling Blog said...

Nothing you can do about that kind of mechanical. Nothing at all. Still plenty frustrating.
Fates weren't with you this year, bro.

dawn marie giegerich said...

Oh, poor boy. So much build-up, and then, poof. You will see the race again and you will do it.

tainterturtles said...

Wow what day, and HL's is right, mechanical stuff just happens and you can't do a darn thing about it!

Hey you tried right?

Catch up with you in one week.

Joboo said...

That sucks, not much you can do about the chain snapping like that.
So, my question to you....... Knowing that hindsight is 20/20.
Do you regret leaving the FatBack at home?
Wasn't riding in the snow the reason you pulled the trigger on your FatBike??

Hope all goes well with the knee later this week!!


Steve Fuller said...

A) Surprised you didn't ride the Fatback. Thought you'd be faster on the MTB?

B) While it would have been cold and difficult, a chain breaking tool and a quicklink would have gotten you on your way. Been there before with a broken chain tho. Hindsight is 20/20.

MrDaveyGie said...

Hi Joboo, good question, and yes, what o what was I thinking? Every inch of the 15 miles I rode in today would have been easier on the FatBack. I let the worry chatter at the PreRace meeting sway me. I kept waiting to get on level ground where I thought I could start grinding and picking up the pace. I never got there.
I hope I can get out tomorrow on the "FAT" and see how she handles on the course.

MrDaveyGie said...

Yeap Steve, you know the irony here, I have that repair set up, but lost my multi-tool on a recent ride, that bounced out of my bag and haven't replaced yet. I only packed a couple of allen wrenches, a tire pump, and a patch kit today.

Craig said...

Suckage, when I didn't see you out on Heritage I was wondering if your knee was acting up.

Ironically, I think the first three spots went to fat tire bikes (may have even went deeper than that).

Dan O said...

Bummer on the broken chain. As you already know, a chain tool would have got you moving again.

There's always more races ahead. Nice write up...

Trevor Woodford said...

Sorry to read how your broken chain brought your race to an early end.

The main thing is you started and you couldn't do anything about a mechanical failure.

Good posting.

Courtney said...

that sucks :(

Steph said...

Bummer, still - nice job though!
You'll get to complete more of these in the future :)

mrbill said...

I hate "Mechanicals"

Anonymous said...

Yes first three spots wheat to fat bikes but forth and a bunch of others went to skinny. The route was pretty balanced this year. It was more determined by the legs diving the bike.
but dave I did say, "eventhough a skinny will overall be faster, im still rinding fat, just because its so, much more fun."

MrDaveyGie said...

Yes, Lance I am so ashamed. That was the 2nd biggest mistake I have ever made in my life. The
'FAT' who has never let me down. I ditched the 'FaT' for a skinnie,

Mauricio Babilonia said...

Dave, it was a pleasure to finally meet you in person. Sorry we didn't get a chance to talk a little more.

What a drag about your mechanical. Kept looking for you out there and ended up figuring it must be something like that.

And as for picking a skinny, that was my logic for my first two Triple D a regular mountain bike and hope the snow was hard enough to outrun or even just hang with the fat bikes. Lesson for me has been that given good components (which it looks like your bike has) and the right tire pressure, fatties can run with the skinnies even though they're heavier.

Hope to see you out there next year...

MrDaveyGie said...

Thanks Michael, yes I was glad to meet you. I didn't realize that was you sitting next to me and Birgit and the prerace meeting so glad you said hello later. Congrats again on a great race finsh. Yes, I don't know what I was thinking. Just the snowmobile trails alone would have been worth the 'Fat' ride. I wanted to get out today and ride the race route but we got a slippery blizzard going on.