Sunday, July 11, 2010


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A short rest on the way up.

On Saturday we headed over to the Blue Ridge Parkway. To get up there we rode along the rolling hills on Rock Fish Valley Highway through Nellysford, VA. The goal was to get away from the flatland and ride some hills. We headed up the Reeds Gap and its 15% grades. SHEESH, mission complete.

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The grades were difficult on the way up and pretty much frightening on the way back down.

I took a couple novice flatland rider with me on the trip and we had a great time.
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As we approached the climb, I noticed we were a rider short and pulled over at a gas station to wait and refuel the water bottles before the real climbing. 15 minutes later, he came up saying he had a flat. Ryan kept stopping to inflate the tire because he wasn't sure how to replace the tube. No problem, we'll give you a class right here. We got the new tube but it wouldn't hold air. So, he also received a class on patching a tube. A little over an hour later, we headed up the hill.

Ryan was riding well but the steep grades proved to be a little much. He stopped to rest and couldn't get on the bicycle. He almost fell over a couple times and I was concerned for his safety and told him to walk up to a flat area ahead at the Wintergreen Ski Resort. After a short rest we headed they headed up the hill. I took a short detour and chased them up. Then it happened.

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We watched as Ryan's momentum slowed with each pedal stroke until he was hardly moving. He unclipped the wrong foot and fell. Laying on the side of the road with his feet and bicycle straight in the air. In between laughing and trying to stop without falling myself, I managed to get a photo of the spectacle.

After the descent, Ryan mentioned he was having shifting problems. I noticed he bent his hanger and derailleur in the fall. It looked like he could make it the 14 miles back to the car. When we pulled out of the parking lot, he fell again. I couldn't believe my eyes. I thought he was the biggest klutz, a member of the Bad News Bears. But that thought left when I realized what really happened.

As he shifted to an easier gear, the angle of the derailleur sent the chain over the cassette and pulled the derailleur into the spokes, stopping him dead in his tracks. His ride was done for the day.

We road back to the car, retrieved Ryan and his dead horse and headed back to the flat land after some BBQ.

Although his first ride in the hills was a chaotic failure, he had a blast and is ready to head back in the near future.


Vance Ricks said...

If he didn't break any bones or suffer any gashes, then he had a pretty successful super-steep ride, I'd say. But obviously, the bent derailleur is your fault, because if you hadn't shown him how to patch a tube, he wouldn't have been able to get back on the bike and then fall over!

Bob O. said...

Ride a success, yes! A fun day with much laughing.

Crash and derailleur failure could be my fault because I chose the route. I gave him several opportunities to turn back before and after the fall but he has tenacity. Perhaps randonneuring is in his future.

bullcitybiker said...

Hat's off to Ryan. He's more stubborn than I am.