Let’s make some mistakes…

Or my Grasshopper Adventure Series recap:

Last weekend I participated in the first Grasshopper training ride, Old Caz. Each ride focuses on a different discipline, with the first one being a mixed-terrain cross type ride over ~50 miles. As usual, my pre-ride mantra was one of optimism: “Let’s make some mistakes.” All the pre-ride excitement was tempered by my concern that my bottom bracket was going to work its magic and end my day early, but I was ready to ignore that until it became a problem.

The start of the ride was pretty epic. Just a mass of riders rolling out, and with 200+ riders in the peloton, the sight was pretty amazing.

Time for the race to start, i’m in there somewhere (photo credit to nickgaetano)

Eventually the continuous mass divided itself into smaller packs. A little over 30 minutes in, the first turn off main roads went onto a street where the grade peaked out at >20% (according to the Garmin). After a short section of climb on this side street, it was through/around/under a gate and onto the off-road section. It was slow going uphill in the mud, but definitely ridable. Eventually it turned into downhill. A tree crossing the path required a dismount, so a few of us regrouped.

I took off down the trail first. Around a corner with limited visibility is obviously where the technical section goes. I came in with too much speed. I made it through the first couple dips, but on the last one my front wheel just planted and I ate it. Following that section there was a short run up and in the process of going up that it was obvious my wheel got crushed. With @itsdanno and @adstads waiting for me to figure out a fix, another couple riders came through and unfortunately another one bites the dust. That’s where we met John and @slonie.

Making some friends (photo credit @slonie)

John’s bike faired better, but from the look of things his body took a worse beating. I continued to work my truing magic on my wheel while the others worked on getting John up and moving. Eventually I was able to get the wheel ridable and just as I’m ready to call it good, I hear a hiss. Of course I’d tightened the spokes to the point where they punctured through the rim tape and tube. Great. Somehow I invented a new mechanical failure. Not exactly the kind of innovation you want to be known for.

With spoke tension all over the place and no hope for the wheel, the only reasonable option was to ride without a front brake and try to make it to our starting point. Limping our way back to Occidental, our problems weren’t over. A slow leak for @slonie requires a pit stop to change tubes. A pair of pinch flats later and a bit of teamwork, we were eventually back on the road.

(photo credit @itsdanno)

At the end of the day our ride time was about the same as our time stopped. What a day. Luckily, we had something to look forward to on the ride home — Donuts and Water:

(photo credit @itsdanno)

A few scrapes here and there, a stiff right shoulder, but nothing a few beers couldn’t fix. Now my fragile ego/pride…. that will have to get fixed another day.

Also check out @slonie’s recap and my “route”.

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