Posted by: bikenfool | November 26, 2010

Broken and Broke

“Bad things happen in threes”…
Have you ever experienced the old adage “Bad things happen in threes”? Well I have and based on the last three mountain bike rides, I would agree with this superstition. 

I’m riding the S-Works Enduro on the outer loop at Trail of Tears. It’s a nice Fall day, the birds are chirping, the leaves are colorful and life is generally good. Having started at the main parking lot, I am now at the half point of my 12 mile loop. As I approach a tough up hill, I hear what sounds like a sling shot, then something ricocheting through the trees. Instantly the bike stops as my first though is, oh no, I broke my derailleur. Looking down, I see my chain bunched up on the ground like a snake about to strike. 


Ok, not a big deal as I have a chain tool in my pack. Ten minutes later, me and my greasy hands are back on the trail but as the chain had been broken once before, it now was too short and shifting has to be done carefully to avoid further damage. I limp back to the parking lot thinking, looks like it’s time for a new chain. Ugh…  

Broken Chain

Next week finds me riding at Trail of Tears again. Tim and I tear through the country side leaving a whirl wind of leaves in our wake as small animals dive for cover. The trail surface is blanketed with leaves making reading a line almost impossible and rocks, roots and other obstacles that once were easily discernable are now all but invisible.


The trail is tight, about handle bar width and winds along a ridgeline that slopes off steeply to the right. At a speed just shy of 10mph, things are happening quickly. In front of me a tree sticks out slightly into the trail and I adjust my line to avoid it, a task that is done dozens of times on any given ride but a task that would prove challenging this time. As my weight shifts and I turn the bars slightly, the front wheel begins to slide on an unseen rock covered in the deep leaves and before you can say knuckle head, I’m rolling down the trail like a bowing ball. With a deep thud followed by a sharp crack, the Enduro comes to rest against a good sized pine tree.


Dazed and confused, I slowly stagger to my feet to assess the situation. Tim looks at me, then says “If you wanted to take a break, you should have just asked.” Upon inspection, I find my rear hydraulic brake housing has been snapped in half. Pulling out a trusty zip tie, I secure the dangling part. Cautiously making my way back to the parking lot with limited brakes I think, looks like it’s time for a new rear brake set-up. Ugh…

As another week passes, Turkey Day is here and I meet up with Frank at the Trail of Tears main parking lot. It’s bright and early and were looking to crank out 12 miles before gorging later in the afternoon. Being that the Enduro was down for the count with a broken chain and brake housing, the S-Works Stumpy was called into active duty. It was a cold but nice morning and there were lots of other riders out and about. Here’s a picture of me chasing Frank…


Yeh, I know, you don’t see Frank. As usual he smoked me like a cheap cigar as the third event unfolded much like the the two before it. Nice day, good ride, about half way into a 12 miler at TOT, are you sensing a pattern here? Once again, while starting a climb, I down shift only hear a horrendous noise. Looking down, I find the chain had over shot the large cog and was wedged between the cog and the spokes.


Flipping the chain back on the cog, I walk the bike to the top of the hill to evaluate the situation. “No broken spokes, that’s great news” I said hopping back on the bike. Just then, I hear Frank say “Houston we have a problem”. It seems a section of the large cog had been sheer off. Looking around the trail Frank finds the missing piece. How the hell did this happen? The cogs are made out of titanium! It must be the FRS I’m taking is making make strong like bull. So, once again I find myself cautiously finishing my ride, this time with limited, skipping rears. Looks like it’s time for a new rear cassette. Ugh…    

Is it safe to go back out?
Ok, so I was hit hard by the old adage “Bad things happen in threes”.

  • XTR Chain = $35
  • Saint Brake Setup = $175
  • XTR Cassette = $125
  • Finally being done the “Bad things happen in threes” = Priceless


Maybe it’s a false sense of security but I ‘m feeling like I will have an uneventful ride this weekend. On the bright side, when my wife asks why I need to have three bikes, I actually have an answer that almost makes sense…

And yeh, there was a second “leaf” related crash…


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