Surrey Off Road Cycling Enthusiasts - ride, build, learn, preserve.

Junkyard Dog Chronicles

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April 2006

Saturday morning was not the best conditions for a mountain bike race unless you like to play in the mud. It was absolutely pouring at the start of the race, but fortunately it eased off to heavy rain near the end

The Junkyard Dog (JYD) race starts out with a short uphill and then you do a few kilometers on the pavement before getting into the trails. They do this to add a little distance and to spread the riders out because passing is difficult on the single track

A mass start is always interesting but uphill adds a new dimension with people not being in the right gear, or not being able to keep up. I got bumped around a little at the start, but the real excitement starts on the road. Mountain bikers are not roadies! We were flying down a hill into a 90-degree corner in the rain on knobby tires with people who have no idea how to hold their line. Dave Richardson said he got pushed out so far that his wheels were grinding on a curb. I saw lots of sliding around and near misses, but miraculously, no crashes.

I was having a blast, and everything was going perfect on my first lap. The only hold-up I had was getting stuck behind a young woman that I couldn't get past. Two years ago in the JYD I banged bars with a woman that I was passing and she went down fairly hard. I felt so bad that I am overly cautious passing now, unless they are guys I figure are in my age group, then it’s all’s fair. She kept saying go now, but it was always at an impossible place to pass so it took me a while. After I got by her I was able to pass several other people without any problems. I was riding everything and my bike was working flawlessly I was having a great day

I came up to start my second loop and who was there to cheer me on, my good friend Dave Richardson. Dave's race was over, but more on that later. He was soaking wet and freezing and he asked me where the car keys were. I stopped so he could get them out of my camelback while everyone I had passed went streaming by. The end result was I got stuck behind the same woman, and had to try and pass her again for several minutes. I think she thought I was stalking her.

My race was a joy in spite of the mud and rain. The event was really well organized and the volunteers on the course were great. My only incident was a small crash that didn't hurt, but gave me some really cool streaks of blood that

 

oozed through the mud on my legs .At my age that’s as close to hard core as I want to get.

I had some good racing with a couple of guys on the course and I had a ton of fun. I even won my age group, and yes there was more than just me, there was another guy, and no his bike didn’t break. The best thing about riding a mountain bike is that it makes you feel like a kid, no matter how old you are

Dave was waiting at the finish for me but he wasn't as pumped up as I was. It is fair to say his day didn't go well

As he told it to me, he got a good start and his legs felt strong. He was doing very well on the road section and was in front of his brother Doug and leading most of the expert men. The course makes a sharp turn from the pavement to start of the off road section and that's where things started to go badly. As Dave explained it his road bike would have made the turn, but apparently his mountain bike didn't. Dave found himself sliding down the pavement, but luckily he was wearing protective Lycra. His bike was saved any paint damage because the only other thing on the road than his leg was his machined from billet XO ($$!) derailleur. He has the lightest one around now after the modification.

Dave being Dave, he was back on his bike in second and giving chase to anyone who passed him. He was back in the hunt, and still ahead of anyone in his class when fate dealt the second cruel blow.

He said for some strange reason his foot came unclipped from the pedal. He was trying desperately to get clipped in again but it wasn't working. He looked down to discover that his bike was short one crank arm!

Now Dave is a man of science who is used to remaining calm in situations of life and death. He dealt with this situation as you would expect from the calm compassionate healer that we know and love.

He realized that having a disabled bike on the course would be a hindrance to his fellow competitors, so he raised it above his head and threw it 30 feet into the bush. He then backtracked to find his "Team Issue" FSA carbon fiber crank, picked it up and threw it as far as he could in the other direction while speculating that it had an unnaturally close relationship with its mother.

I gather once Dave had regained his composure he realized that he was going to need both the bike and the crank arm. The bike, being bright green and relatively heavy (in spite of the ground down derailleur and missing crank) had only flown a comparatively short distance and was easy to find. The Crank arm on the other hand was another matter. Even with the eggbeater pedal attached it had proven to be quite aerodynamic, and had covered a considerable distance. But in the end he was able to find the "! #$+*! piece of @$$%".

 

He has decided to paint orange stripes on them for future post hissy fit recovery.

We have also found a more appropriate use for the crank arm. It makes a lovely centerpiece for the post race dinner, and it stayed on the table all night without failure!

Pat Murphy, Master Sport racer extraordinaire

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