What kind of idiot puts a $10 chain on a spendy singlespeed? This idiot, but at least I wear a helmet for those unexpected moments that mountain biking brings to us all.
So, TJ pops by the Shack on his way to the 'hood trails and I'm working on my Rollfast cruiser project. Of course I can't resist a spin, so I gather my junk and hop on the singlespeed to join him.
We spin over to the trailhead, catching up and BSing a bit as we cruised over. TJ suggested a route and I agreed, so up the main jeep track we climbed. On the way up we saw at least four doofi riding down with no helmets, as well as a dude walking his bike out with a toasted Mavic crossmax that he had pulled a spoke out of while JRA.
Part way up, I showed TJ a singletrack diversion for part of the jeep road. It's really swoopy and twice as fun as the main route, especially on a singlespeed. The next climb pitch is something I haven't climbed with a 2:1 ratio before and it was no different than usual. I waited for TJ at the top and as he finished pushing his pig bike up, I threw a verbal barb at him and we had a laugh. Karma can be a *****, especially when instant.
I sped up the next short pitch and hammered at the next sustained climb. There was a jogger between me and where the route narrows a bit, so I gunned it a little harder to safely pass her. Just after passing her, I heard a loud SNAP and the next nanoseconds seemed like an eternity. First, my legs started spinning wildly as if I no longer had a chain on my bike. Because I was in a slight turn when this happened, I veered towards the side of the trail while trying to brake and control the bike. I got my right foot out to try and help with the stop, but I was goig too fast and realized I was going over the side. Ditching the bike underneath me, I took a dive and while in the air, realized that I was going to land in some rocks that were pretty big. Head up, I saw one particular rock rushing towards my mug like I was some kind of demented smart bomb headed for a Republican Guard tank. Instinct took over and my chin hit my chest just as the top of my nugget pile drove right onto the rock. I felt my spine compress and heard the audible helmet-break snap then rolled straight over, ending up flat on my back.
The jogger was horrified, immediately stopping and asking if I was ok. I was already in the self-check mode and didn't feel any numbness, so I answered that I was because my head broke my fall and then asked her if there was a chain in the trail. She said there was and brought it over to where my bike had ended up. I thanked her for checking on me and told her TJ was coming and she could continue her jog, so she bailed. She had the full on bird's eye view of the whole thing, I hope she didn't have any nightmares about it.
TJ pulled up, thinking it was staged at first, but after seeing my shredded helmet knew that I had taken a good digger. He immediately went into Navy Corpsman mode, which I appreciated, though I knew I was ok. A second opinion never hurts. I put the chain back together and he asked if we should carry on and I told him my legs were still working, so off we went.
Before we arrived at our ultimate singletrack destination, I snapped the chain two more times, on the same cursed link. The las tone happened just before the downhill, so I decided to do it as a chainless. TJ laughed and off we went. Singlespeed skills are definitely transferable to a chainless downhill, where I made it all of the way to the singletrack without pushing the bike.
I had spare chain links with me and could have properly fixed the chain, but wanted to see just how far I could get chainless on the next drop-in. I did a few push-dabs in two of the flats near the top, but railed the rest it with no problems at all. Around the corner I had to do a little more pushing and then pushed up a small climb out of a side canyon. TJ got a first for himself at the top of that particular climb, cleaning a really tight turn in-between two boulders and did it smoothly and in style.
At that point we decided to hit the next pavement, fix my chain and spin home on the blacktop. On the way back, we saw a deputy contacting a transient and I said hi to him calling out his name. The puzzled look and wave told me that he didn't recognize me, so I called him a freak as we headed up the street. He passed us by right near the entrance to our street, pulled in and was waiting for us. He admitted that he didn't recognize me at first, but as soon as I called him a freak, immediately knew it was me and laughed. Infamy can be a good thing.
The moral of the story? Don't use SRAM PC-1 chains on your singlespeeds. After snapping that chain about six times now and almost breaking my neck because of it, it's getting round-filed and replaced by a Wipperman or KMC chain today.
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Thread: Why I hate SRAM PC-1 chains
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