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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Dec 2004

    Bad Luck Streaks

    I just hopefully finished a week long bad luck streak and was wondering if anyone has had any similar stories they would like to share.

    My streak started in a race last Sunday. I was just a little over two miles into a 21 mile race when my bike felt like it was sagging, I looked down and notice the left side of my rear triangle was MIA.

    Took my spare bike for a ride on Monday and Wednesday and everything worked out.

    I got my broken frame welded back together and went out again on Wednesday to try things out. Of all things my derailleur cable slipped loose from were it fastens to the derailleurr, so that took 30 minutes in a race against fading light to get it working again. If you have ever used a SRAM X-9 you know they are hard to see even in good light.

    My next adventure was Sunday evening. Looked like it might rain so I took my spare bike to a very lightly used trail that had a lot sticks laying in it. Was going down a very fast downhill and put on the brakes and my front tire slipped on a stick that was hidden under leaves. Next thing I know I was crashed into a downed pine tree. I thought I was hurt, but was lucky enough to leave with only some scratches and a sore neck, back, ribs and knee. The bike was not so lucky, the entire front wheel was toast.

    I am fixing to leave for a ride now, I hope my luck has changed.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: jonw9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    I had 5 races in a row that had a mechanical, on 2 different bikes.

    1) Crashed and seat popped off the post clamp.
    2) Seat came off clamp again, no crash.
    3) Sliding dropouts slide while riding
    4) Multiple pinch flat
    5) I think the dropouts again.

    Just power through and hope things turn around, which they did, eventually.

  3. #3
    likes to ride bikes
    Reputation: TunicaTrails's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    I was the king of mechanicals. I'm a big dude and I race the fastest guys now. I still occasionally have mishaps. Frustrating as it is, I didn't find one solution to my problem. It was minding several rules that helped me:

    1. Learn to be your own mechanic, even with stuff you'd rather leave to a shop. Some things like building wheels and bleeding brakes are tedious, but they're valuable skills to learn. Build up your own bike workshop with stand and all the necessary tools.

    2. Have a race day wheelset and chain. This includes a cassette that mates in wear aging with the chain. Your tires will also wear only during racing and prerides. Bring your training wheelset with you to races as backup. It should have the same tires on it that you race with to keep the best feel for your bike.

    3. Redundancy. Keep at least one spare of everything, including an entire bike if possible. Usually the least painless way to do this is to keep your old bike after you upgrade. Ride your beater on gravel grinders or long endurance rides instead of your race bike, which you keep for skills training only.

    4. Wash and detail your bike immediately after every ride. This helps you pay attention to issues that may be arising and keep all the moving parts in good condition. Get a good hard bristle brush for the derailleur pulleys, cassette, and chainrings. Get a Park chain cleaner and Simple Green or similar degreaser and clean the chain after every ride too (of course your race day chain stays clean and unused also). Bounce your bike at least 10 times after washing, then towel it off if you have the time.

    5. Tighten down what needs to be tight but don't overtighten (Blue Loctite and a torque wrench). Especially with the drivetrain and stem, a torque wrench is crucial to crank something down to its maximum tolerance and no higher. Loctite can help you keep those chainring bolts on or any number of parts that may tend to loosen up on you when they shouldn't.

    6. Don't change anything the day before a race, but don't ignore anything either! If, during your preride, something is creaking or sounds like it might be a problem for you in the race, it probably will be. Fix it.
    Last edited by TunicaTrails; 08-24-2011 at 01:13 PM.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    agree with the mechanical advice presented already, but here is another side...

    "bad luck" can often be directly correlated with fatigue or high stress. your mind isn't where it should be at that moment then BAM you are cursing your luck and wondering how much money or time off the bike this is going to cost you.

    keep a finger on the pulse of your fatigue and adjust your sleep/recovery/workouts ESPECIALLY when you feel like your luck has turned sour. if work/life stress is cranked up, maybe dial back the riding and get things sorted out so when you ride you can focus on where you are at during that moment and enjoy the activity more.

    not saying this is you, but in general i feel this is good advice for me and that maybe others can learn too!
    Try to be good.

  5. #5
    is turning a big gear
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Quote Originally Posted by TunicaTrails View Post
    6. Don't change anything the day before a race, but don't ignore anything either! If, during your preride, something is creaking or sounds like it might be a problem for you in the race, it probably will be. Fix it.
    I learned this one the hard way.
    Get it unlocked.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    I wonder if peteuga made it back from his ride or if he got hit by lightning

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    I made it back, it started raining about as soon as I got the cobwebs cleared from my head. I forgot to mention one other thing I got stung by something while I was working on the derailleur cable.

    In response to TunicaTrails' learn to be your own mechanic, I do do almost all my own work, I learned that lesson a long time ago. However, a LBS did install the cable just before my ride, as I did not have time to do it myself and they are only 2 minutes from my house. Guess I got lazy, I will remember that next time.

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