Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ups and Downs

To celebrate my 24th month of consecutive 200k rides, I decided to ride the Brooklyn 200k, the same permanent I did last year for my first R12. This beautiful scenic ride is one of my favorite loops out of Olympia. The cloudy but dry morning promised a good ride with relatively warm temperatures. The sun even came out as we started our ride on the flat roads to Littlerock. We made good time out of town and I was looking forward to the gravel roads that were approaching. I was feeling strong and was excited to steam up the climbs.

About 3 miles from that climb, I heard a loud sound coming from my bike. I had just tuned up my bike and knew that nothing should be making this clunking sound coming from my bike. I stopped and started going down the check list of potential problems. First, the easy fixes: loose pump, loose water bottle cages, nope. Crankarms, bottom bracket, chainrings, chain, rear derailleur, cassette, rear hub, front hub. Nope. Was I hearing things? I got back on the bike and as soon as I put pressure on the pedals it started again, clunk, clunk, clunk with each turn of the pedals. This wasn't good. I stopped again for a closer look. In the back of my head I knew that the only problems left were really bad. After wiping away the dirt, I found the problem, and it was really bad. A clean crack through my frame on the drive-side chainstay. I quickly caught up to Rick and Don who were riding with me and showed them what the problem was. I borrowed Rick's cell phone and began the slow pedal back to cell reception. Keep in mind that we were about as far away from anywhere as you could get in western Washington.

The sun was shining and and the weather was warm. A perfect day to slowly pedal back to town. Just outside of Oakville I was able call Corey just before he went to work. As a fellow Randonneur (and friend and coworker) he dropped everything and saved the day.

A few days later I contacted Bianchi and they are shipping a new frame to me as the old one was covered under warranty. Just another thing to add to the checklist of crazy things that happen on brevets. This was my second DNF for 2 years and 40 events, both due to mechanical failures. The frame (a Volpe) had somewhere between 17,000-20,000 miles on it in the three years I've own the bike. Hopefully it will keep serving me well.

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