Fast forward 2 miles: my bike went crazy. Even though we thought the adjustment Chris made earlier would work, it wasn't meant to be. My chain dropped again, and Chris fixed it again. After another mile, my chain starting moving gears on its own. So I stopped again, and Chris fixed it again. After about another half mile, my chain started skipping (acting like it wanted to change gears, but it wouldn't). So I stopped again, and Chris fixed it again (starting to see a pattern here?).
It was such a frustrating experience - I had been doing so well and I just wanted to keep up with the riders but I couldn't. Over the next 7 miles Chris and I must have stopped and started 88 times... tweaking this, twisting that, trying anything to make my gear system cooperate. Finally Coach Kui caught up with us and we all determined that I wasn't going to make it back without doing damage to the bike or myself. Jer was basically finished with the ride at that point, so he came and picked us up on the side of the road and drove us back to the finish. While we were waiting for Jer to come, I had some time to think about the ride and why I was there in the first place. As frustrating as it was for me, I had to put it in perspective... it doesn't even compare to the frustration of those diagnosed with and undergoing treatments for cancer. Or the frustrations their families experience. And frustration isn't even the right word - what they go through is so much more.
When we got back to the parking lot we called World Cup right away and they told us to bring my bike right over and they would check it out. I was hoping they would be able to fix it, so I could ride with the Lancaster team on Sunday and still get my training in for the week. As soon as we walked into the store, they took my bike and came back with the diagnosis. I had a trifecta of issues: my wheel was bent, my chain was bent, and my rear arm hanger was bent. Since they are SO AWESOME, they fixed everything right away and my bike is 100% ready to go. Our best guess is that everything bent when I fell a couple of weeks ago coming to a stop. Note to self: if I am going to fall, try to fall to the left side to avoid harming the gears on the right side.
On a positive note, for the first 10 miles of the ride I was hanging tough, I managed to stop quickly when my chain dropped twice without falling, and since I had to stop and start so many times when Chris was trying to make all of those adjustments I think I'm pretty comfortable with that process now. OH - I also managed to drink and drive (see earlier blog post for explanation). So, even though I wasn't able to finish this week, I definitely learned a lot and have even more admiration for my local bike shop. :)
A quick update about Jer's ride: He finished our longest and hilliest ride with flying colors and still managed to come to my rescue by the side of the road. Not too shabby.
Click here to see the route!
Total distance: 44.76 km (27.8 mi)
Moving time: 2:01:55
Average moving speed: 22.03 km/h (13.7 mi/h)
Max speed: 55.00 km/h (34.2 mi/h)
Elevation gain: 600 m (1969 ft)