Sunday, October 09, 2005

Rats! Or possibly "I'm da man" or maybe what a narrow escape!

I broke a chain on my bicycle today at the triathlon.

In 20+ years of competitive riding this was the first time I've ever broken a chain.

I was upset because I had trained hard and the teammate who swam had set a personal record and beat everybody else out of the water by (no fake) 10 minutes. I was slamming up the first hill of the bicycle portion at pace that surprised me. My chain snapped at the top of the first hill about 10 minutes into the 40 kilometer ride.

One of the rules of triathlon, as far as I can tell is that you are responsible for your own equipment. There is not a mechanic in a van to do emergency repairs. I was not carrying a chain tool. So, my goose was cooked and my team could not finish.

I was really upset. I picked my bicycle up and threw it across the road. I looked very hard for a dog to kick and, not finding one available, began yelling at a photographer and demanding that he stop taking pictures of me.

After about three minutes of venting I walked across the road, picked up my bike and coasted back down the hill to the start area and was forced to abandon the race.

There are several reasons why the chain would snap like that.

It could be that I have simply become strong enough to break it with the force of my pedal strokes. (Fat chance)

It could be that the chain was defective

It could be that the chain was installed improperly

Though it was probably my bike's immune system rejecting the new chain. I ride an Italian bicycle (Battaglin) that has Italian Components (Campagnolo) I had just installed a Shimano (Japanese) chain.

Yeah, that's it, blame it on the bike!

Breaking a chain could have been a a good thing. There was a horrific accident on the course caused by an inexperienced rider getting a plastic bag caught in his wheel while riding as fast as he could down a hill. This guy caused a huge problem and several people were injured one quite seriously and several very high dollar bicycles were destroyed.

I am not a good hill climber. I am a good descender. It comes with age. You learn how to ride. You learn how to handle your bike and you learn to stay within your limits. I set my bike up to descend well and be moderately fast on the flats. I grind up the hills. If I'd been in this race I would have possibly been one of the riders coming down the hill at 70 -100 kph. It might have been me in the hospital with a broken neck.

Maybe I've had a narrow escape.

I still wish I'd finished the race. I might have won.

Until next time
The Frustrated Triathlete

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