The thing about races, even races that you know really well, is that things rarely go the way you think they will.
My brother and I got up to Wilmington Saturday morning so that we could do the pre-ride with Rebecca Rush and Dave Weins. Its a great time to ride with a couple of pros who are really just very cool people. We unpacked our bikes from the rack at Whiteface and kitted up. I put on my orange FC jersey and zipped it up. This doesn’t feel right. Why is the bottom of this not fitting me right? Crap that’s Coreen’s jersey. Good thing I packed two jersey’s. Into the Neapolitan, race day, FC jersey.
I did a little bit of spinning to warm the legs some. Up a hill. Down shift into the little chain ring…….. Down shift into the little chain ring……..DOWNSHIFT INTO THE LITTLE CHAIN RING….. WTF????
My bike, which had been working just fine when I left home, was not shifting down into the little chain ring. Crap. Well here come Rebecca and Dave. No time to worry now. Off we went onto the course pre-ride. We do the opening 4 or so miles of the course, then the return 7 miles. It contains most of the start and most of the single track for the race (and the most technical single track on the course) so its nice to see both of those before the race.
This event introduced me in just a tiny way to the world of Elden (aka Fatty) Nelson. I had a comment on here a couple of days ago from a guy in PA named Chris who was going to race Wilmington. He found me at the pre-ride and we introduced ourselves to each other. Kind of cool. Then during the pre-ride another rider came up to me and asked if I was Doug. He said he read this little corner of the internet too. Wow, I am not just writing things down that no one sees. There are at least two people who read this 😉
When we hit the singletrack I tried once again to down shift my front ring. Nothing. Dave (my brother, not the other Dave) asked what was up. Ugh. No time to worry now. We were out riding with friends.
Later I was behind Rebecca on the singletrack.
“Hey Rebecca, I’m a sponsored rider now.”
“Yeah, Elden is paying me $5 to wear the FC kit!”
The last part of the pre ride was a little 1/4 mile section of single track that is a technical piece of work. It is in the woods and heavily rooted. That’s where I hooked my handlebar last year and tried to break my ribs. I got through that section nicely. Even around the guy who endo’d in front of me going down some root steps. I am really pleased with how my bike handling is coming along.
I had a picture snapped with me and Rebecca for my sponsor to use in promotional material.
“Did Elden really send you $5?”
“I told him to donate it to WBR.”
If you ever have a chance to ride with either Dave or Rebecca DO IT! They are great fun. I think they like riding with other people too.
The good news from the pre-ride was that my neck held up OK. The massage and other treatments seamed to help a lot. Drop the worry down on that a couple of notches.
Now it was time to see what was up with my bike. I put it up on the bike rack and inspected it. The front derailleur was clean and moving freely. It just wasn’t shifting. I did decided to try the limit switch to see if I could get it to go down. OK, that worked. Now back up to the big ring. The chain when right past the ring and off. Crap. I did a little more adjusting on the limit switch. But could not get it to work properly.
“Dave we have to go to the bike shop. I cannot fix this.”
So off we went to Placid Planet. One of the bike shops in town. I had taken my other bike there last year before this race and the guys there remembered me.
“You were riding that Ti Basso last year right?”
“Yeah, my son is using it now.”
“Leave your bike. We will take care of it.”
So with my bike in the hospital, we went and walked around Lake Placid. I needed Sport Beans. They are my cramp solution. And I always cramp at some point. Then cheese from Temptations, the cheese shop (they know me and Noah personally!).
At 5pm I walked over to the bike shop.
“Doug, we are struggling with what to charge you for this. There is a problem.” (Oh boy!) “The cage on your front derailleur was all bent up. We do not have a compatible replacement. So we straightened it out as best as we could. Its way better than it was. We can get it to switch from the big ring to the little ring reliably. But you can only go from the little to the big when you are in 1 or 2 specific gears in the back. If you are in a bigger ring in the back it will not go up. If you are in too small of a ring in the back it shifts past the ring in the front and binds in the cranks. We have it set for what we think is the best we can do. I am sorry. I wish I had a replacement.”
“Just appreciate that you guys worked on it. I will make do. Thanks for the help.”
As near as I can tell, my bike must have rotated on the rack (the bikes are held by the top tube on my rack) while we were driving up and banged into Dave’s pedal. There are scratch marks on the crank consistent with that. Like I say it was in perfect condition when we left home.
I biked around a little bit and got used to my new reality.