I was pretty cautious riding the China Camp back-side dodging roots and rocks and cliffs around every turn. China Camp is especially daunting with tight trees to navigate, switchbacks and 30 foot drops down the mountain side. But I am pleased to report that I made it out of the technical stuff unscathed.
However, upon hitting the fire trails, the path seemed to be 'groomed' to the point where gravel was added for traction or water issues or something. This is where the blood comes in ... I got a little cocky and picked up the pace a bit. I was chasing the guy in front of me through a slight left turn. I leaned into the turn doing my best to keep momentum. But the front wheel did not seem to like the angle of the turn combined with the looseness of the gravel below. I hydroplaned (if you can hydroplane on rock) for a few feet as teh bike just slid out from underneath me. Hence, the bloody knee and scraped up chest. When I caught up to the guys I was with - 45 seconds later - Britt, noticing the dusted jersey, just looked at me quizzically and said, "Hey ... you went down". Yup. As usual, I went down.
Then for the mechanical issues ... As we were climbing back over the hill, I kept bumping my pedals on rocks. This was not so much painful as it just interrupted any rhythm that I could maintain in climbing. On the single track downhill, I was, again, feeling more confident and started leaning into the turns again. Somehow, I leaned too hard to the right into a rock or bush or something, and I bumped the derailleur into the bike spokes. As you can imagine, the spokes grabbed hold of the derailleur and tore it completely off of teh bike. The derailleur hangar snapped completely and the chain dragged the rear derailleur with us.
|A good shot of the derailleur hangar (just above my index finger) which snapped off of the bike.|
Luckily, we were at the end of the road. I was able to get myself to the paved part to coast downhill back to the car. But, again, straight to the bike shop for some not-inexpensive repairs.