The ride was screwy before it started; one of those mornings where I tried to wait out Kevin’s kidney pain (which, this time, turned out with near-100%-certainty to actually be a kidney stone, since he later expelled one), eventually figuring out he wasn’t going to end up riding at all. By that time I’d already decided to abbreviate the original ride, settling for something short & sweet… over Old LaHonda to LaHonda and up West Alpine.
I took it easy up Old LaHonda, hoping I’d be warmed up and feeling good by the time I hit West Alpine. In fact, I did. I hit the “Bridge of Death” at almost exactly 6 minutes, which is where you need to be for a decent time up the hill. Funny thing just a couple minutes earlier though; the pedals seemed to slip forward a bit on one of the small climbs on the pretty-flat lead-in to the climb. Well, just a minute or so up the real climb, right as it’s getting steep, and bam, the bike pretty much went out from under me. Loud noises from the drivetrain. Pedals turning but bike not moving. The photo above tells the story. The #7 cog (counted from the bottom-up) had broken apart. Same thing that had happened to the same cog on the same brand & model cassette last December. Almost in the same place too!
No choice but to turn back, because no way could I climb West Alpine without use of the larger cogs (in fact, the broken cog had messed up the #6 position as well), so I turned back and rode up the easy grade offered by highway 84 back up to Skyline. Just 38 miles, no epic climbing, but I did have some fun climbing up 84 with a tail wind! –MikeJ–