i raced the 2011 tour of the catskills, august 5-7. i suffered a dnf mechanical from which i was lucky to walk away, on the third and final stage.
i initially sent the following as an email to #464 (moshe silverstein, speedwell racing), whom the wheelvan driver had identified as the owner of the wheel that failed under my bike after i received it from neutral service after i flatted early in the 56-mile final road race. unfortunately the driver got the number wrong, moshe informs me.
so… i’m telling the internet. if your wheel broke under my bike, i’m sorry.
i believe i got your ultegra wheel at stage 3 of tour of the catskills. if not, well, find this hopefully amusing.
if so: sorry your wheel broke.
i flatted at 6mi, about 200m shy of the only bump before the long descent into rollyville. i got an ultegra wheel. it seemed okay. the change took about a minute. not great, not bad. it could have been worse.
i knew it would be tough to chase on and resolved to just keep it steady out of the valley and hopefully catch dudes as they popped at 21mi+ from the succession of hell left in store. long day.
as i went up a slight ascent around mile 19 or so, i heard a *pop* from the rear cluster. i assumed it was a missed shift. i looked down at the cogs and thought, “hmmm… that doesn’t really look like a missed shift. that looks like the gear i wanted to be in.”
i crested the hill and began the short, fast descent down in to a narrow bridge. a few seconds in to this the rear of the bike started to shudder violently. i tried to brake. it sort of didn’t work. this seemed bad. really bad.
not michael jackson bad.
i kicked a leg out, assuming things were going to go sideways. or something. it was not going to be good. the bike continued to make a hell of a racket. i’m trying to brake with the front brake. down a hill. going pretty fast. i can hear a spoke smashing around in the rear triangle. i see the face of my two-year old daughter. she wants me to not die because she likes to talk about poop.
i decide i’d really like to talk to her about more poop.
somehow i manage to stop the bike without going down, or over, or around. this is good.
i get off. a spoke is wrapped around numerous other spokes on the rear wheel. there’s a lot of bare carbon on the inside of the rear triangle of my bike. where now bare had previously been paint. meanwhile, back at the ranch, i’m thinking i might be able to ride to the next marshall, but the wheel won’t really turn.
i figure out why.
the brake caliper had sheared from the frame and was sorta/kinda stuck on top of the tire tread.
sweet. i don’t have to race any more today. i just have to get 20-something miles back to windham. somehow.
i watched three officials drive by as i crazily mimicked “radio someone, pretty please?” i stepped in front of a fourth car. they stopped and told me “there might be?” a sag. at some point. maybe. we can’t say for sure.
i walked a few hundred meters to a marshall. he was a red sox fan. we talked the politics of being a boston fan in new york (it’s apparently cool in the catskills, because the fans in the area are jets vs. giants fans and mets vs. yankees fans - interesting). i’m from maine. i’m a long way from home.
the marshall phoned his wife, who was also a marshall, and she says there’s a kid who’s abandoned a few turns back. his mom is going to pick him up. his mom will pick me up too. his mom does in fact pick me up.
that’s what she said.
i got back to windham and gave your wheel to the wheelvan guy, with a note to call me if… “there was a problem.”
i’m sorry your wheel broke. i rode it up and down some hills. i weigh 130lbs. i think it was gonna go anyway, but that’s just me.
i hope your wheel is better now and that you’re not mad.
as for me, i’m happy to be alive and my daughter and i are talking lots of poop.