Riding the wrong bike.

Anybody that knows me will already know that I am the first to question a person’s equipment choice on a bike ride. I question actively, vocally, and (in my mind) friendly way. One major tenant of mine is that cyclocross bikes are stupid bikes. They excel in only two situations; cyclocross races and mixed terrain gran fondo.

Yesterday I went and started on the Locust. This is possibly the only time you will hear me say, “I need a cyclocross bike!” Yes. I said that. Belive it or not. Day is night, night is day. Hell has frozen over!

Lucky for me I had something better than your average cyclocross bike. Something nobody else has. Something magic. I had the PVD TIE Advanced X1. (http://www.pvdwiki.com/index.php?title=PVD_TIE_Advanced_X1)

A road bike with 35c cyclocross tires, 5″ disc brakes and flat bars. Who has this kind of stuff just lying around? Who? Me, of course.

I start the day with just enough time to get to the ride from SF. I get in the car, turn the key, and the news on the radio immediately is saying that the Golden Gate Bridge is restricted due to the SF Marathon. Nooooooo! Totally screwed. Stress. OMFG! I had no idea. I fought for it. I made it happen. I got there a little late but with just enough time to get registered and prepped before the start.

Well, after doing everything I could to get to the event on time and starting with the folks, I managed to have a major technical right at the start of the first dirt climb. I had tossed the bike down a staircase earlier in the week and I hadn’t realized that the derailleur hanger had got bent. The bike was working OK, but when I was pushing the bike hard in the lowest gear, the derailleur was rubbing the spokes. Anyone that has experience with properly laced disc wheels knows that this is extremely prone to snagging the derailleur and sheering the drive train off the bike. I knew this. I believe in making a repair before the catastrophe. I get off the bike and bend the hanger straight. “Great! I did the right thing!” I jump back on the bike and start back at the hill. Shift down and bam!! The chain is dumped hard into the wheel. I neglected to check the limits and shit went wrong. Rushed trailside repairs are sketchy always. The 27t carrier made getting the chain out of the wheel almost impossible but I managed to figure out a trick. I got it going and was able to move ahead with the ride.

My back was cramping hard early in the ride, but the body starts working properly into the Eldridge climb and I get the tempo. Climb up and over an make a stop at the old Air Force base. Some other folks are their and we hang out a little. Talk some trash and laugh a little with an incredible view out to the Pacific.

I decided then that it was time to be honest. It was time to stop fooling myself that this was the ride for me. I’m a mountain biker. I’m a poacher. It’s Sunday afternoon and it’s a gorgeous day and the last thing I’m going to do from the top of Tam is ride a fire road down to the bottom so that I can ride pavement and more fire road. Bullshit! Singletrack muthafuckas! Singletrack. It’s what I live for. Now was the time…

Old Barracks: Benstein: High Marsh: Kent: Serpintine: Elliot: Six Points

If you know Tam, you know these epic trails. I was on exactly the wrong bike. These are mountain biking trails. Real honest singletrack for real honest mountain biking. 35c tires and a flimsy road fork was absolutely the wrong bike for the job.

It was hard work. I gave my all and managed to ride 99% of what I do with the mountain bike. It hurt. It was hairy. In the end it was fun. It was a bike ride on a beautiful day. A mountain bike would have been better but a road bike could still do the job. Also, the frame and fork were pushed to the absolute limit and performed without failure. A+ framebuilding!

After it all the folks met up at Gestalt and we had a lot of beers. These folks had just suffered 57 miles of shitty fire road and pavement. I decided to keep silent about my fun and just sip my beer in peace.