Monday, January 9, 2012

Big Ride Sunday's Lesson - Be Prepared

I had big plans for Sunday's ride. I wanted to tag the Radio Tower on Relay Ridge from the Horseshoe parking lot, backtrack a bit, and then bomb down Trail 508 as my reward. However, 25 minutes into my ride my chain broke and my rear derailleur violently snapped back against itself and bent. WTF?

I needed a "repair stand" to properly address my drivetrain issues and this old fence worked nicely.

Obviously, this is where being prepared paid off and allowed me to salvage my ride. I needed the multi-tool, a SRAM Quick-link, and the two chemical hand warmers that were in my frame bag. Once I got the rear wheel off of the ground and could un-stick my bent derailleur, it was simply a matter of fixing the chain and carefully re-bending the rear derailleur back into place. The hand warmers were nice because handling metal when its 19F leads to cold hands. I probably spent 15 minutes making the repair but having the right stuff in my frame bag saved my ride.

Do you have:
- Tube (2.4"-2.7" or bigger)
- Pump
- Patches
- Multi-Tool
- SRAM Quick-link
- Tire lever
- Chemical Hand warmers

Did I mention the trails are as good as they get for snow biking right now?

As I gained elevation, I climbed into the frozen clouds

As I climbed higher and higher the visibility decreased and the day took on an eerie feeling. I knew I would make better time on the way back so I figured I could turn around at about the 3.5 hour mark and still complete my ride in 5 hours. This did not allow me enough time to tag the Radio Tower though. I had to turn around about two miles short. While backtracking to TR 508, I made a wrong turn in the thick fog that could have sent me waaaay down the backside of the mountain...but I caught myself in time. I was ripping down the trail in the frozen fog, thinking "This ROCKS...but this doesn't look familiar." I only descended about 1/2 mile the wrong way so no big deal.

The next time I attempt this ride I will start earlier and plan to be out longer.


Vito said...

We still have no snow. I ride a lot in northern Minnesota and always go prepared. When I ride here in the Twin Cities, my bags stay on the bike and friends give me crap about the stuff I carry.

Mark said...

This ride looks great - email me if your lookin for a partner. Gros Ventre valley was great Sun. - did 40+ miles climbing into the clouds as well, saw wildlife - bighorn sheep and Saurdude.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of extra parts that might be nice to have... how about a front disc brake?

Hamilton said...

I think Game & Fish is studying the diurnal activities of the Saurdude. Did you take good notes? Was the specimen foraging for fermented, hops-based sources of nutrition? Very interesting.

Tom said...

i find myself irresistibly drawn to the spot on the map that reads "best snowbike downhill on planet earth"