It’s now Fall and my cycling interests have turned from road biking to mountain biking. Late Spring and early Fall are usually great times to ride, the trails are beat in and dry and the weather is a bit more friendly. Yesterday I did my first “mud ride” of the year, we got about a half inch of rain I think but it was a steady all day drizzle that had got the trails we rode pretty wet.
Riding a mountain bike in mud is wild, even if you have some tires with mud capabilities in the tread you’re going to find yourself sliding around alot. Pedaling hard often just means your back wheel spins out and your forward momentum stops, getting your weight over the back wheel is essential. A massive effort is required to sometimes go half the speed you would if it was dry.
Then there is the fact that mud reeks havoc with your bike, its like running your drivetrain through sand paper, it destroys breakpads and gets grit in bearings. Then there’s always the possibility of chain suck. Chain suck is one of mountain biking’s oldest enemies, it happens when your chain fails to disengage from the bottom teeth of the chainring and is sucked up between the bottom bracket and chainstay. It locks up your pedals abruptly and can lead to lots of other problems. It typically happens when your chain becomes extra wet and muddy causing extra friction, but the primary culprit is worn chainrings that act like hooks.
When you’re on a mountain bike ride its always alot of fun to see just what you can get your bike to ride through. I was trying to ride through some mud pits, the guy in front of me got bogged down and I got around him. My back wheel was spinning more then it was pulling but I was still moving forward, then it happened CHAIN SUCK. I quickly back pedaled to release the chain and tried to push again to keep my momentum, I heard a snap and came to an abrupt stop. Looking behind me I saw my derailleur was snapped off and laying in the mud. I think the sudden release of pressure and reapplication of pressure whiplashed the derailleur, it got jammed and pedaled right up with the chain when I pushed again. I should have just stopped.
It was only a 2.5 mile walk back in the mud and rain, good times. Single speeds keep looking more appealing. For now it looks like i need to buy a new front chain ring, and probably a chain then dig through my part box where I hope a 9 speed mountain bike derailleur can be found. Oh the joys of mountain biking.