Thursday, June 14, 2012

Getting ready for race day - along with some challenges

Did I mention I was racing this weekend?

Oh, alright, I'm racing this weekend.  I'm doing the Chinook Olympic distance triathlon.  Somehow, the same distance race that was my giant goal at the end of last season has become a part of the journey in reaching an even bigger goal in a month and a half.

So, I've had some bike issues lately.  After a routine tune up (during which they changed the chain), my bike started shifting badly.  Then it started shifting worse.  I read some books, got some advice, watched some utube videos and tried to fix the front derailleur myself.  No luck.

I took it back to the bike shop, and even they couldn't get it adjusted for nice shifting.  So, they changed the chain again (back to a shimano, which is what I originally had, as opposed to a sram that they had put on).  She was shifting nicely, until my ride yesterday.

It was a challenging ride with serious headwinds as I rode away from town.  Of course, that meant some serious tail winds coming back.  I was hitting 50km/h (31mi/h) on flat roads.  I came down a hill, and almost came to a stop waiting for traffic to pass (I was turning left, back onto the highway).  Then I started pedalling again.  I shifted from my large chain ring to my small one.

And, my drive train SEIZED up on me.

I couldn't pedal at all, but fortunately had enough momentum to coast into the shoulder and come to a safe stop.  My memory picked up something that I had read at some point, and later googling confirmed it.

Chain suck.

Photo Source
My drive train is cleaner then this one, but it gives you a good idea what it looks like, though mine is a double chain ring, rather then a triple.
Basically, my chain had wrapped itself around the chain ring, rather then disengaging, and had jammed in the front derailleur.

My bike was stuck.

I was about 4 km from home.  Four very short kilometers if I was riding my bike.  Not even so bad if I had running shoes on.  But, in bike shoes, with the potential of walking my bike, that was potentially 4 very long kilometers.

I gently tried to pull the chain out.  No go.  I tried taking the rear wheel off.  I got it a bit off and then couldn't get it back on, or off further.  Crap.  I kept fiddling with it and then just tried to get the wheel back on.  Without the wheel on, it would be way tougher to even walk the bike.  Miraculously, the wheel popped back into place, and somehow, the chain also came free.  Relief!

I rode the bike back home and hoped all was well.  After picking my kids up from school and a playdate, I came home and googled it.  Along with some explanations why, I learned that it could cause damage.  I went down to check how my bike was shifting.  It shifted nicely into the large chain ring, but wouldn't shift back to the small one.  I looked down at the front derailleur.

The broken front derailleur.


My first thought was to fix it myself.  I called around to bunch of bike shops and nobody had the derailleur I needed in stock.  Really?  Shimano 105, clamp on, front derailleur.  Really?

Then I calmed down a bit.  I decided to take it back to the bike shop.  Even though I've had constant issues since my tune up, I decided to let them deal with it.  On the plus side, it means not paying for the part myself.   The downside is it's out of my control.

I was terrified I wouldn't get my bike back in time, but they have assured me it will be ready to ride.  I have a suspicion that they will have to use a different derailleur, but at this late in the game, whatever works, right?

So, with two days to race day, I have no road bike.  Now, on top of that, I also have a sick kid.  Throwing up sick.

I'm desperately hoping that I won't be riding my 15 year old hybrid, while getting sick on the side of the road, Saturday.


  1. Yikes!!!! Bummer on the bike issues! I sure hope they get it all taken care of and you have a drama free race on Saturday. I can't wait to read the race report becuase baring any issues you are going to rock this race!

  2. It always seems like issues always occur right before a race. If I could not get my road bike fixed I would be hard pressed to ride anything else. I guess I am spoiled with my bike. Well, good luck with your race.

  3. Fingers crossed that it all works out in time and you hit the start line healthy with your own bike. Good luck!!!!

  4. Eek! That's a lot of drama right before a race. Hope it all works out for you. For some reason I had it in mind that you were doing the Half with me.

  5. Oh my my my - fingers are crossed for your bike to come back to you in tip-top shape tomorrow. Wishing you a fantastic race on Saturday...and hope that Spud/Sweatpea are feeling better!

  6. Oh no!!! Sick kid AND no bike - that is rough!! I hope that you don't get sick, your kiddo gets better AND you get your bike back in time for the Chinook!

  7. Wow, that is stressful! Hoping your bike is fixed and in tip top shape for your race and you don't get the flu. Funny how an Oly, which is a pretty serious distance, doesn't seem so daunting now.

  8. Oh no!!! I hope your bike gets fixed up in time!!

  9. I got a little queasy reading this post and that was BEFORE you mentioned the sick kid. Yikes! Many prayers for you to the bike and health gods.