When I went to pick up my packet at yesterday’s race in Danville I found a handwritten note on it:
Turns out my pal D-Wayne decided to give me a little shit for my rant on Friday.
I definitely got a kick out of it, and I’m glad he knows that I wasn’t talking about him when I was whining about the woes of being a Clydesdale.
So anyway, a bunch of us big boys lined up at the start, and I was ready. We took off from the line and headed down the fire road, and I wasn’t really happy with the slow pace. I tried to sprint a little bit, and that’s when I noticed that I had trouble clipping in with my left foot. I kept trying, but I also had to keep up with the group.
We had to make a left-hand turn up another fire road, and I will still having trouble clipping in. At least I was still up front.
Photo credit: Lunchbox
I knew something was wrong. I also knew that I had to pull over and check it out, risking my position in the race. I hated to do it, but I had to.
I stopped real quick and looked at my cleat, but I didn’t see anything wrong. I watched as my entire class passed me by. I hopped back on my bike again, and tried to catch up with them.
I still couldn’t clip in, so I stopped again to check out the pedal.
That’s when I found this:
Shit. The spring on my pedal had snapped, which rendered my “clipping in” ability useless. Without being able to clip in, I would have trouble standing to climb, and the descents would be scary as hell with zero stability. Since I wasn’t even a mile into the first lap, I had a few options.
First, I could quit. Quitting a race is a no-no for me, so I dismissed that thought as soon as it popped in my head.
Second, I could ride back to my truck, grab an extra set of pedals (that I just so happened to have there), and replace them. I would get back in the race, but not have a chance in hell to catch up with my group.
Last, I could just keep going. It wouldn’t be easy, but at least I would have a chance at avoiding a DNF.
I felt like I had no choice but to keep going. If I quit, I would feel like shit. If I went back to my truck to change the pedals, I would’ve more than likely just given up and sat on my ass once I got there. I’m glad I kept going, because Lunchbox was just around the next corner to catch me in action.
As I passed him by, I told him that I broke my pedal. He seemed shocked at my luck, but not at the fact that I was still going. I told him I would see him later, and set out to race the best race I could under the circumstances.
I got to work, and made it my goal to catch up to at least one person in my group. I mashed away, and pretty soon I saw someone up ahead. I was having a hard time climbing with only one foot clipped in, but I had somehow managed to ride right on by him. He was in my class, so that lifted up my spirits a bit.
With my little bit of new found confidence, I held on and made my way through the trail. Soon after, I spotted two more guys in my class up ahead. I quickly caught up to them, and made my move.
I passed them both, but one guy tried to stay with me. To lose him, I had to either risk my safety and haul ass on the downhill, or somehow find a way to stand up and climb. Without being able to clip in, I chose both of those options. I really had no choice.
After about three miles, he was nowhere in sight. It seemed as if I lost him for good. I passed a few other people along the way, but no one in my class. I was hurting, but at least I was moving along. With about a half mile to go on lap one, I was happy to see Lunchbox again with the camera.
Every time I see him out there, it keeps me going. Whenever I’m having a rough time, I know he’s still there for me.
Anyway, I had another chance to quit when I went through the start/finish line, but I didn’t do it. I figured that I had already made it through one lap with a broken pedal, and I could make it through one more. I wasn’t in last place, so I could use that as motivation to keep me going. My right leg was feeling the affect of pedaling with only one foot clipped in, and I was starting to cramp a little. I worked as hard as I could to keep going, and I wasn’t about to let up.
After eight more painful miles (with some pedaling, scary slipping off the pedal downhill, and a little walking), I saw my kid waiting for me again.
I was much happier to see him this time, since it meant that my race almost over. I crossed the finish line in 11th place, which is much better than I thought I would do. Well, I didn’t think I would break a pedal and have to worry about settling for “not last”, but I guess I’m good with that.
I worked my ass off out there, and I’m not really disappointed. Shit happens, and at least I finished. I got in a pretty good ride, and I really got a chance to see what I was made of. I’m not a quitter, and I proved that to myself.
I guess the next order of business is to contact Crank Brothers to see if they can help me with my broken spring. The pedals are less than a year old, so I’m sure they will work with me. In the meantime, it looks like it’s back to the single speed for a while.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing.