2015 Pisgah Day TwoAfter suffering a some chain skipping issues during stage one, I took it upon myself to refit most of the drivetrain on my Ripley XX1 single speed and little did I know that I was opening pandora’s box of drivetrain demons.¬†None of us realized that we would need snorkles and personal floatation devices either…

From the first year onward when I think of Pisgah Stage Race I look at it as a challenge. There probably won’t ever be a more challenging course or weather than the first edition but since then I have DNF’d twice and really the number one objective is to finish all the miles in one piece. So, when I hopped on my bike only to discover worse skipping than Tuesday, I figured it I had to find a solution no matter what.

I haven’t gotten my degree from the college of full suspension chain retension yet from the Pisgah School of Hard Knocks but after two days of hard time, I am beginning to get a good understanding of the basic course material. Let’s just say that none of the items in this photo or in the back of Gordon’s Xterra were enough to finish my education so I rode down to Sycamore Cycles and found a used chain from their garbage can than seemed to fix the problem.

By this juncture I was pretty frustrated and despite the pouring rain storm, climbed on my bike and started the stage an hour and a half behind. With zero skipping under any situation on the road out to the beginning of the mud I was pretty stoked to just finish the stage and stay in the race. As soon as I hit the trail, the skipping started again in earnest but with no marshalls and no support I simply rode out the 20 or so miles to the finish. Eventually i caught the sweeps and a few racers and even finished 7th in ENDURO competition pite a non functioning dropper (glad I rode around with that) no brake pads!

It was¬†a ride that looks horrible on paper but embodies everything my cycling career has ever been–grit and determination against all odds. Perseverence that defies logic yet has been my hallmark and hopefully will inspire others to move their own personal boundary markers to a new limit.

Combinations and PermutationsAt the end of the day despite the minor victory of finishing the stage, I still had a bike that didn’t work. I could expound on the many different types of skipping I have experienced this week and why I wasn’t properly prepared for this experiment but the bottom line is that I had spent several more hours thinking about it and had a plan. After cleaning up a bit in the river, we stopped by The Hub and they were kind enough to let me hunt through their old derailleur bin. I was able to find almost the perfection solution that I had in mind and headed back to the house for some more modifications.

Since my cog had been destroyed, Gordon was kind and generous enough to spot me one of his spares. I coupled that with the old chain and fixed the dropper seatpost cable, rebuilt the bottom bracket bearings and now I am ready to roll again tomorrow.

Good night… and never give up!

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