Monday, December 19, 2011

Mud, 2nd trashed derailleur of season & rides

(Photo credit: Melissa Kelly)

Saturday was the Afterglow CX race. It was odd to go to a Chicago CX race & not be doing registration. I had the luxury of sleeping in until after 7:30, when I was woken up by Christopher. = )

I did not get to do this race last year. I had gotten the doc's okay to be on the bike but not race CX yet; so, I rode at Palos. The course was great. Some climbs but sand, cornering, mud and fun.

I lined up and started like crap, which has been a trend this year. I was then starting to do quite good for me and was going back and forth with some ladies but kept making stupid falls in front of Kristina Young. After the second dumb crash/fall in the sand, Kristina ran into the back of me. Soon after, I realized that my rear derailleur was screwed up. If I tried going into easier gears, it started acting not happy and I knew I was in danger of a major mechanical. I kept contemplating switching to my pit bike but opted to mash the harder gears. A.) I figured the disc brakes had an advantage on the course. B.) My pit bike has bad toe overlap which would definitely be a disadvantage on that course. And, C.) Last time I rode the Trek, the brakes were barely working. Tom had adjusted them but I had not had a chance to ride it since then -- meaning, the brakes could be working perfectly OR the brakes could not be working at all.

I soon lost a few spots and finished 16th out of 20. Could I have beat a few other ladies? Possibly but not swapping was a good decision. After the race, I noticed that my bike had a lot less mud build up than ones without disc brakes. I also rode the Trek after the race -- the brakes still definitely needed tweaking so that would not have been good.

It was depressing to get the mechanical but great to start to feel like I was racing well again -- even if it was only for part of the race.

On a good note, Tom found a shop on the way home -- Kozy's -- that had the derailleur hanger. I was able to buy 2 so I have a spare. On a bad note, this is the second race this year that has killed a derailleur hanger on my bikes, with the other being the USGP when I had to run my bike for more than half a lap to come in at 40th place.

I didn't stick around to cheer so I could get to Kozy's. On Sunday, I had the prospect of not having to get up early to go to a CX race. I thought briefly about sleeping in but the chance to ride my mountain bike won out. I set the alarm for 7 a.m. (which was not terribly early, at least) so I could get in a ride at Palos before the trails thawed. It had been way too long since I was on my 29er. It was a mellow ride but a lot of fun. I also had perfect timing. On my last bit of single track, some mud was just beginning to stick to my tires.

The decision of the day is whether to sign up for Worlds. I found out this morning that the registration fees go up tonight.

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