Duathlon Ride & a Broken Frame

The shocked laughing “Oh man, I can’t believe I broke my frame” moment. Note the hairline on the lower swingarm, 2 inches in front of the back drop out.

Today was an interesting day. I went off to meet Paul Clark at Phil’s trailhead, as we were going to ride a 40 mile mountain bike loop. We took off and were chatting as we cruised up Ben’s Trail to the double track that takes you to the top of whoops. Plan was to go down Skyliner Trail up Swede Ridge, down South Fork and up Farewell Trail and catch Mrazek back to down. We arrived at the top of Whoops and took a break to stretch.

There is a funky log bench there and you can ride it and hop on it. Well, before stretching, I started to hop up on the bench (got to try to keep my trials skills in action). I heard a creak which either sounded like my bottom bracket or my chain slapping my chainstay. I even said something about the sound to Paul.

Anyway, not thinking to deeply about it, we stretched, then started to cruise down Skyliner trail. I was leading and the curves felt squirrely and my break was rubbing. I stopped and said to Paul, “I think my back brake pads are dragging.” Paul is a bike mechanic at Bend Bike N Sport and also works for Bart Bowen at Rebound Sports Performance, and he hops off his bike and then exclaims, “Your frame is cracked!” Sure enough, the lower swing arm on the disc brake side of my bike, about 2 inches in front of the dropout, was broken in two. We wiggled it and it appeared to have some carbon fiber strands still attached. Maybe I could gingerly ride it out??!!

The broken lower swing arm. Bummer dude.

We unhooked the back brake, took out the pads and slid up the brake pad housing and re-tightened to get it away from the rotor. So, I only had a front brake to use. Since we were only 1/4 of the way into our ride, I urged Paul to continue his ride, as there wasn’t much he could do.

So, I began the slow ride down going really easy. Within 3/4 of mile the frame was completely separated. So, I got off and ran the remaining 2.2 miles with my bike down to Skyliner Trailhead to see if I could flag a ride back to my car. To top it off, I start getting pelted with hail! Then heavy thunder, puddles running down the trail. But thankfully, the storm passed quickly.

When I arrived at the trailhead, only 3 empty cars were there. So, I continued jogging my bike down Skyliner Road to get to my car. About a mile or two down the road, I watched 3 teenage punks drive by laughing, then back by going back toward town, laughing again and pointing. Thanks for the lift dorks! When I was in high school, I had enough manners to stop and ask someone if they needed help. I don’t mean to sound old, but what are parents doing today…not training up a child, that’s for sure. No respect for adults. Sad. But I digress…

I continued jogging…and let me say SPD shoes are not made for jogging very long in! I was nearing 6 miles running with my bike, when I got to FS Rd 300 and a nice older couple from Washington, who own a 2nd home in Bend, were loading up their mini van with one bike and had an extra slot on their rack. Sure enough, they kindly gave me a lift to my car the final 5 miles to Phil’s trailhead.

I took the bike straight to Bend Bike N Sport and Sean left a message with the Scott Rep. I hope Scott will step up to the plate and get me the replacement swing arm this week so I’ll be ready to race at TOE 50 next Sunday. We’ll see. Otherwise, I may be riding my singlespeed hardtail for 50 miles. Giddyup!

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