I was on the 7th or 8th row after the random call up. The gun went off and a guy on a hot pink Speedvagen couldn't seem to find the right gear. This is hard to do since it was a singlespeed race. He held up me and several other guys behind me. As a result I was near the rear going into the first turn. Then there was a log jam where the route narrowed further. I ran past a couple of guys and remounted. I immediately noticed how much better the tires were hooking up compared yesterday's tire selection. Today had me riding with a Hutchinson Bulldog set up tubeless at 25 psi and the awesome Vittoria XM tire in the rear. My front wheel with the XM tire is trashed thanks to last week's accident where Buttercup was damaged. The rear wheel was damaged too as it turns out...anyway, on with the action. I went into a turn where Tim said he went down hard yesterday. Man, that Vittoria just inspired confidence. Then I stood up to accelerate and there was nothing there.
I thought I broke my chain. Nope. It had come off the rings. Huh? I loosened the set screws on the horizontal dropout and released the quick release and put the chain back on the rings. Maybe there wasn't enough tension on the chain and it bounced off in the choppy icy stuff. I pedaled for about 100 feet and it came off again.
What the hell?!?!
I hopped off and looked again at the rear wheel. I noticed that the freehub had pulled free of the main part of the hub. Sonnofa...
I started to run to the pit. It was about a 1/3 of mile away. Once there the Shimano neutral support guy started to help me out after I told him what was wrong. He had a hard time getting the set screws on the driveside dropout to turn once he fixed the hub. Riders were now lapping me. Frustrated he grabbed his needle nose pliers and clamped down on the threads and turned set screw that way. I groaned. I tried to turn the lock nut down but the threads were screwed up. There was no way to keep the set screw in place and once I started riding out of the pit I got about a about 300 yards around the lap (I was near the back of the pack on their second lap at this point) when the chain came off again. This time because the set screw worked its way back out and the chain went slack.
That was it. Race over after only making it around 3/4 of one lap. Those few times that I was actually riding the bike it felt great. Which made me all the madder.
I watched Jim and Tim and Craig Austin ride around multiple times while person after person came up to me and asked what happened. I got tired of answering. I tried to put on my best "I pissed, don't mess with me face" and moved to an area of the course where hardly anyone was standing. It was about the worst way, short of being injured seriously, to end a cross season.
Next year...how long is that going to be until Pain on the Peak in 2010?