The alarm went off at 5:30am today and instantly I said "I'm not going, I'm too tired." Eddie said "OK, I don't care either way." Then I thought of the SORBA forum post Mark D. made yesterday taking bets on whether Eddie and I were going to make it to the 8am ride in Dalton, GA. That is the ONLY reason I got out of bed this morning to ride at 8am...to prove to Mark D. that we CAN ride before 10am! :)
I probably should have just stayed in bed, though.
We arrived at the Trade Center at 8:00 am sharp. Laurie almost fell over when she saw us, and we even got a few cheers and claps. Just for the record, we beat Mark D. there! Anyway, it was 20 degrees in the parking lot as we dressed and loaded all the bikes on the shuttles. Several people were doing the 34 mile ride and a few (smart ones) were doing the 17 miler. About 3/4 way to East Armuchee Rd (the dropoff point) the trailer that was holding all our bikes broke. Luckily they caught it in time and improvised by moving 6 or 7 bikes into the back of one of the several pick-up trucks. Phew.
Once we reached E. Armuchee it was really really cold. Someone asked what gear I was running on the singlespeed and I said I had no idea. It was either 32x18 or 32x20 but I hoped it was the 20T. Upon further inspection Brandon and Matty told me it was, in fact, an 18T. Crap. This ride was going to be hard enough and at that point it just got even harder. They tried to talk me into doing the 17 mile ride with them but I had never done the 34 route and had my mind set on it.
I should have listened to them.
Eddie and I decided to take off and have the rest of the group catch us...except we didn't know where we were going. We ended up taking a wrong turn less than 5 minutes into the ride and were headed on the Pinhoti trail to Rome instead of the Pinhoti trail to Snake Creek Gap. OOPS. Luckily Eddie realized the mistake pretty quickly because I sure would have never known...Unfortunately, though, the entire 34 mile group was now in front of us. It only took us about 30 minutes to catch them, though. Laurie was having shifting issues so the rest of the group was waiting up. We rode with the group for awhile after that. The trail was in KILLER shape. ROCKS ROCKS ROCKS covered by TONS OF LEAVES. Soooooo fun. This is, hands down, the best trail in Georgia. After reaching Snake Creek Gap we started climbing again. By now, my old tendonitis (from 24 hours of hell at Conyers) was bothering me AGAIN. I wonder if this will ever go away?? I was cringing a little bit on the steep climbs and had to resort to using mainly my rear brake on the descents only because my left wrist was hurting pretty bad.
My bottom bracket bearings are also on the verge of death (again) so I was crossing my fingers that it held together for the whole 34 miles. Then, all of a sudden, I was crossing a creek and everything stopped...cranks, wheels..stopped. Luckily I didn't crash and then all of a sudden I was rolling again. About 4 or 5 minutes later I was out of the saddle climbing a steep section of doubletrack when I started flying over my handlebars with my knee hitting my handlebar hard in the process. My chain broke. WHO BREAKS A CHAIN ON A SINGLESPEED????!!! I was not happy. Everyone was gone and I had no idea what I was going to do so I started run/walking with my bike. Finally I found Eddie and he took two links out of the chain and hooked it all back up...except now I could barely turn the cranks the chain was so tight. I started walking again until the SAG stop. For some reason, instead of bumming a ride back to the Trade Center there I decided to keep going and ride as much as I could, walk the rest.
Bad idea. I couldn't stop pedaling otherwise I couldn't get pedaling again. Ratcheting was difficult, also, which stunk since I was getting to the real techy parts of the trail. At this point I felt like I was pushing a 30x15 gear it was so hard. I would just coast the descents, what few of them there were, but my left wrist still hurt really bad. At one point I hit a wall and got really frustrated..just then Ginny from NWGA SORBA appeared and told us there was a better way back to a FS road where we could pick up a ride. nice!!! We had to backtrack a bit but finally found the steep, sketchy singletrack to Stover Creek. She warned us that we wouldn't be able to see the rocks and nasty drops under all the leaves but I didn't care. I just wanted to go downhill and find a warm ride home. We got to the end and Steve and Philip were waiting for us..the truck was warm and they even had a beer for me! Thank you!! We still got at least 4 hours of riding, about 30 miles, and found some new trails so all was not lost.
I think that unless I (by this I mean, Eddie) can turn my SS into a geared bike I may do the first Snake Creek Gap TT in January. But, if not, there is NO WAY I'm racing it on the singlespeed. I'd rather stay in FL for a few more days!