I am obnoxious when it comes to bike maintenance. I hate creaks and squeaks. Missed shifts make me shudder. As evidenced by last weeks blog, dirty bikes haunt my dreams. This past weekend I became a lesson for everyone else.
This weekend I raced the Single Track Omnium in Flagstaff, a 3 day, 3 stage bike race. The first day was a Time Trial and I rode quiet well, positioning myself in 4th overall. The second day was a head to head race up the steep and challenging Arizona Snowbowl. Again, a top 5 finish and I was looking in prime position for a solid overall finish. But it wasn't to be.
The third day of this race was a tough 45 mile road race with a long challenging climb. Heading up the climb, the pack quickly thinned out and I looked around me and knew that based on my positioning, I had a top 5 overall finish locked up, and with a little lock, could have even snuck in a top 3. Then cresting a hill, a rider attacked. I went to throw my bike into the big ring to follow him and instead my front derailleur slipped. I watched the race ride away as I lost time trying to fix it. I finished the day 17th and dropped to 7th overall.
Now this may seem like it wasn't my fault. However, I had encountered the exact same problem 3 times in the previous week leading up to the race. "It's no big deal," I told myself. "It won't affect the race," I claimed. "I'll fix it when I get home from Flagstaff," I vowed. And it all bit me in the butt.
The moral of this story is simple. Listen to your bike. If everything is always perfect and then one day its not, don't shrug it off. If your bike does something weird once, it could be coincidence. Twice, start being suspicious. At three times, you have a full blown problem. Do as I say and not as I did. Take care of your bike. Keep it clean. And when you run into an issue, fix it sooner rather than later. Bring your bike to Tucson Endurance Performance Center for pre-race check ups. Will it prevent everything. No. But hopefully you don't have a Homer Simpson moment like I did.
Retul Certified Bike Fitter
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