Sunday, August 23, 2009

DNF or DFL... I chose DNF.

About 5 miles into the Quantico Cranky Monkey race today, I was presented with a situation - to DNF (did not finish) or work my bum off from DFL (dead frickin' last) to whereever I could get to. On a converted singlespeed. I chose DNF. It was my first DNF, actually, and I was pretty bummed, but there wasn't a good way around it.

Apparently when we put my chain back together this week, something was amiss, and this mean phantom shifting and chain dropping for the first few miles. After all the women had passed me while I was fixing said dropped chain (about 6 times - this should have been a clue), I thought I had the derailleur cables adjusted and went for it. Stood up a climb and boom - shattering noises from the back of the bike... uh oh. The inevitable chain break was here. Oh, except it took with it my Sram XO derailleur, which got pulled into the rear wheel. As they say, when carbon fails, it fails catastrophically.
IMG_1017 by VinylFox.

I successfully had my bike part way apart to convert it to single speed by the time the sweeps came through. With no quick link, it wasn't going to be fast to do this, and I was already far back from where I needed to be. Having won the previous two races in the series, I needed 3rd today to take the series and had little chance of dropping below 2nd in the series regardless of what I did. 15 miles of hilly-ness with a converted single speed (yeah, I've never done that before and it was an okay conversion, but not perfect - chain tension was a little loose). So I DNF'd - telling the sweeps with the radios to be sure that they knew it was a mechanical not an injury time out. Shea was sure to be confused and worried when I didn't come through on the first lap.

I finished the chain break/repair and went backwards on the course to get to the nearest fireroad outta there. Got a good clue who was doing well and saw the woman's leader (Simona) who would take the series with a strong finish. She was surprised and seemed genuinely disappointed about my bad luck.

Back to the car and no Shea to be found. I texted him - "At the car. Mechanical dnf" - not one I want to have to send often. Chatted with a few teammates on the way in, finding out that the only other LSVer in the sport race had crashed out with a bent front wheel (I had seen him fixing the flat).

It's too bad that I had to learn this one the hard way... when your bike isn't shifting right, it could be the derailleurs (checked those, a lot) or the chain (yeah, waited till it broke all the expensive parts to figure that one out). Weird to be at the race without having really raced - had my body and brain all set up for the pain and I'm still feeling a bit antsy. I'm also tired from yesterday's cyclocross clinic (watch for my thoughts on that this week), so recovering with beer and couch time instead of a good cyclocross-specific run sprints work out or something productive like that.

As for the series, Shea won today, taking the beginner under 34 series. I wound up 2nd overall and scored a nice gift certificate, then a consolation prize of winning an iPod in a raffle. Doesn't quite make up for the pricey bike parts...
IMG_1012 by VinylFox.

1 comment:

  1. And yes, Shea (and Sarah, too) was definitely confused and concerned when you didn't come through on the first lap. My quote of the day, when seeing a slowish woman come by: "Dude, there's no way Becky is behind HER." I know this wasn't how you wanted to finish the series, but kudos to you on taking it all in stride and keeping your game face. Hearing Jim call your name for that Kelly green ipod was a timely consolation!