|There might just be some climbing in this race...|
I pre-rode the course on Sunday, which is the first time in 4 years I've ever pre-anything the Five-O. Having grown up in Spearfish, I have ridden all those trails and didn't think I needed to or more importantly, wanted to. All that changed this year and I not only felt like I should pre-ride, I wanted to flog my sorry ass on this course. Not only would pre-riding it give me an idea of how next Sunday will go, but I also wanted to see how I would fare riding a hardtail on the course. The climbs would be good, but would I be able to keep the pace up on the descents? Would the pros outweigh the cons?
Well, I decidedly cannot descend the same on my Stumpy 29'er HT as I can on my full-squish 5" travel Moots Cinco. But, I think that the effort I expend on the climbs is no where near lost on my descents, so I am coming out ahead. I am planning for my best Five-O yet, which isn't saying a lot as my 3 other efforts have been, well, let's just say I finished. And NO mechanical issues this year.
Which leads me into stubbornness. All cyclists, well all cyclists that tinker with their bikes, have this phenomenal trait. If we want something to work, we are going to go to great lengths to make it work. Wanna use Shimano shifters with Sram derailleurs? There are adapters to make this work. A 5" travel fork on a bike designed for 3"? You can do it, you bike will steer like a wheelbarrow, but you can and you will. Case in point, tires for my 29'er. When Knobby Nick told me he had some Schwalbe Racing Ralphs for sale, I jumped on it. A fast rolling 2.4" tire is just what I needed to take the edge off for the race. I slapped 'em on the Stumpy and immediately noticed there was about a pubic hair's clearance between the rear tire and the front derailleur. And it all should have ended right there. But NO, I had to get a different front derailleur, return it and get yet another different front derailleur which has about a 7 pube clearance, futz with it adjusting it and readjusting and readjusting it to get the right clearance between the granny gear and the shift mechanism. Yep that should do it I thought and I was victorious. Don't take no for an answer.
And it did until about 4 miles into our 43 mile ride Sunday I broke a spoke and every time I shifted into the granny ring the tire would drag on the inner plates of the front derailleur. When it first happened I thought about the ways I could fix the problem so I could run the tires. Really? What a stupid ass I am. Finally my logical part of my brain whipped the emotional part of my brain's ass on the Ballpark climb, which is about 30 miles into the ride and the longest portion of granny gear riding, at least for my sorry ass. Having that drag on each pedal stroke gave me seizure inducing flashbacks to last year's Five-O debacle with the dragging lock ring. There was NO CHANCE IN HELL that I was going to endure that shit again. So the RR is coming off the back of the bike and the old tire is going on. Even if I break another spoke, it won't be rubbing on the derailleur.
Of course, maybe I should leave it on there. If it is on there I have an excuse...reason...ahem, um, well you know, in case I have a bad race.