Sunday, March 7, 2010

Five Percent

All ready to go for the 400 KM brevet. The forecast all week called for rain, but as the day approached, the time the rain was going to hit kept getting pushed back. At least we would start on dry roads!

4:00AM, depart Santee. After a bit of wandering through Santee and El Cajon, we were on Olde Highway 80 heading to Alpine. And the road starts to go up.

A turn to go under Interstate 8, and now we are on Alpine Road. Parallel to I-8. A short descent, and now we are climbing again. And will be for the next 30 plus miles. Peaking at 6,000 feet. A short flat section, so I go into a bigger gear, and another. One more. Okay. Now we are climbing again. Downshift. Click….Funny noise. Harder to pedal. Click the shifter. Nothing. Damn. The rear derailleur cable broke. When that happens it throws you into your smallest cog. For me that’s a 12. No way can I climb 6,000 feet over 30 miles in a 34x12. This was going to be a good challenge doing most of it in my 34x27. It’s only 5:30 AM. No bike shop open for another 3 ½ to 4 hours. That would put me past the time cut-offs. My day is over. 14 miles out of a scheduled 250 plus. I did barely over 5 percent of the ride.

Words can’t describe my disappointment. I felt like a little kid when their parents tell him “no.” I take great care to make sure my bike is ready for an event. I keep it tuned, I always inspect it, especially the condition of the tires. I just didn’t think about the cables. I took the bike to my shop, which took them all of five minutes to fix, and I learned based on the mileage I am riding, I should replace my rear derailleur cable ever other month.

The real bad luck is if this happened with a long straight or downhill section, I could have kept going, at least to where there was a bike shop, and gotten it fixed. No way is this hill slug climbing Mount Laguna in his 12 cog.

Okay, time to bounce back. The PCH randonneurs have their 400KM next weekend. I signed up. I want my 400KM!

It started to rain about 4:00, I feel for the riders still on the course. It is a cold rain, and after all the climbing they did early, the cold is going to bite. They are also getting a head wind through areas we would get tailwinds in normal weather.

My friend Keith, a very strong rider, was out in front of the field took a DNF about 300KM into the ride. He punctured while doing about 35 MPH. Luckily he kept the rubber down, but damaged his sidewall. Cold, wet, and a bad tire he called it a day.

If you are going to have something that happens that causes a DNF would you want it to happen early, or late?


  1. late . . . because its not the finish as much as it is the ride.

  2. I think it depends on your goals. An early DNF gave you the ability to do it again next weekend. A late DNF you might not have had the legs to attempt it.

  3. Sorry about your cable breaking. But, at least your legs are still fresh and ready.
    Oh, I rode yesterday in the ugly rain Oceanside to National City. First ride on the bike since last Saturday when I hurt my knee just before Sage Rd and never stopped and got worse. I had to DNF at Wildomar control. So, about 50% of the ride. I'm planning on riding the 400K in SF on 3/27.

    Good luck,

  4. Sorry to hear you had to DNF too. That's at least five DNF's I know of from the 400KM. Looking forward to seeing the official results. Poor weather seems to up the degree of difficulty. The body hurts more, you need more calories, so more folks bonk, more chance of a crash, more debris so more flats, hidden potholes so more bike damage. And just a silly maintainence issue for me. Live, learn, get better! Hope your knee heals timely!