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Durham Dynamo.

jollygiantjollygiant Posts: 117
So I did the Wiggle Durham Dynamo, The Epic route,101 miles starting at Darlington rugby club heading into the Pennines and back. on Saturday and my ride goes as follows.......

Get to the hotel on Friday night and tuck my bike up in my sons bed ready for a hard day tomorrow...

Get to the start bright and early all ready to go.

Mile 27, I come the first proper climb (remember I'm a Norfolk Boi, so don't know what a hill is let alone know how get up them!). I change down to the granny ring and it's still hard going so I change down further and the bike starts to pull little wheelies every time I push, then bang, clonk I stop dead. The rear mech hanger has just snapped and the rear mech and chain have wrapped themselves into the back wheel..... Oh dear what a shame I think, or words to that effect!

I ring the mechanical help number we are given and about 15 mins later he turns up. He doesn't have a the exact mech hanger but I'm not surprised knowing there about 5,000,000 different ones on the market, but he does have an emergency one that will fit 99% of bikes. We untangle the mess, both the chain and rear mech cage are a bit twisted but we straighten them out really well. He its the hanger and rear mech and the mech isn't sitting right and after a few mins of head scratching we realise that the tension spring has gone in the mech. Opens his box of spare mechs and the only 11speed one he has is a long cage as 99% of people around there runs bigger rear cassette than us flat landers, so I'd need another chain too. Because he runs a shop it's all full price £50 for the rear mech, £20 for the emergency hanger and £30 for the chain and I'd need to change the mech and hanger when I got home so I'd be wasting £70!

Bearing in mind we've paid out for hotel for 2 nights, fuel to get up there and back, entry into the ride etc.

Being a tight and stubborn censored  I decide I don't want give up and waste all that money so I go with the 7th gear on the granny ring/ single speed bodge with no rear mech. I knew my chance of getting a decent time was gone so my aim was just to finish.

This is fine but all the climbing is done between 25 and 65 miles....... I think I'll give it a go and see how hard it is and if needed I can do the standard 75mile ride or just get the wife to come and pic me up as she's just lounging about at the hotel.
I get to the course split at mile 45 and think "Ah it's not to bad so far, I haven't got off and walked any where yet so I'll carry on doing the epic"! 
3 miles later I come a censored wall that goes vertically up to the sky (ok might be a slight exaggeration, but remember I'm from Norfolk!). So I power on up the up the varying degrees of pain that comes with the 7 mile, 7-20˚ of climb you get going up the top of White Hill on the B6278 into the North pennines.
My legs were on fire but I really didn't want to get off and walk, I was just aiming for each snow post (the big poles they have on along the side of the roads up there) I even overtook a few people who had all of their gears. A few even shouted after me "how are you doing that without gears" I replied I don't know but my thighs hurt a tad!

At one point my cadence was averaging 32 and my heart rate was 165 (my normal max is 155-160).
I finally reached the top of the Pennines without getting off and walking.

After my thighs had cooled down I had the lovely 7 mile decent. So I tucked myself in and hope my 97kg and gravity would work well. It did as I got unto 47mph and overtook loads of people as I removed the "must brake" part from my brain, I did think before the ride I may be able to crack 50 in place but without gears I think I did ok speed wise.
Got to the bottom and when I had to pedal again both legs had got cold so they instantly cramped up really bad, so I just had to man up and keep moving them and after about a mile the cram had completely gone.
The I arrived at the 65 mile feed stop and since my legs were going for a really low cadence with max power to a max cadence of 140 I decided it was the for another rest. 
After this I knew I could get to the finish, so just plodded on chatting to people for a change as I normally just get my head down and try for high average speed.
The last feed stop was at 85 miles. So time to rest my delicate legs again and I saw the mechanic again and he was amazed I had got that far and other people had obvisouly seen me along the route and were congratulating me on doing it so far too. I was pretty chuffed by then knowing how far I had ridden in one gear and I knew I could get to the finish.
I squeezed my now massive head back into my helmet and got going again.

I got to mile 92 and the back wheel suddenly locked up and I saw the chain had up a gear on the rear cassette (or down to 6th), so I had to let the tyre down to get the wheel out and re-align the chain on to the correct gear, I put the wheel back in and carried on.

A mile down the road and it started to get stiff peddling and before I could stop 'PING' the chain had snapped...

I think a link that was bent form the first time when it all went wrong had used it's lube up/ dried out and seized and gave up the ghost. 

Not knowing exactly where I was there was no point in ringing for assistance until I knew where I am, so I freewheeled/ walked until I came to a junction about 1/2 a mile up the road.
You don't walk in £350 worth of carbon and kangaroo skin cycling shoes!!
When I got to a junction I then rang for assistance and they said seeing as I was 6 miles from the finish they would just pick me up!!

So that was 67 miles and 5,000 feet of climbing in one gear in and a moving time of 5hours 35 minutes (8 hours total) with an average speed of 16.9mph! 
I am well chuffed with that.
So I treated myself to a Parmo and chips with a Teeside Torpedo......


  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 11,728
    One word sums you up. Mad. Seriously well done don't know that i would have pushed on like you. I know you said your from the flatlands of Norfolk but did you come from yorkshire originally.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • jollygiantjollygiant Posts: 117
    oxoman wrote:
    One word sums you up. Mad. Seriously well done don't know that i would have pushed on like you. I know you said your from the flatlands of Norfolk but did you come from yorkshire originally.

    Haa haa, Thank you and nope I'm a Narfaulkshire Boi born and bred.
    But I did cycle up in the mountains of Lake Garda Italy last year whilst on holiday. I actually climbed steeper and further there but that was on a local bike shops hired Cube Race One MTB with 29inch wheels (which actually cost more to hire for 10 days than the Audi A7 hire car we had for 14 days :lol: ) and gearing was perfect for the mountains. I learnt how to control my breathing and cadence there which helped a lot on Saturday.
  • rollemynotrollemynot Posts: 436
    Great story... probably perversely, I bet it feels better than completing it in your best time
  • jollygiantjollygiant Posts: 117
    Rollemynot wrote:
    Great story... probably perversely, I bet it feels better than completing it in your best time
    I have done 103 miles in 5hours 2 minutes which is pretty good.
    The 94 miles took me 5hours 35 minutes which I well chuffed with and this will go down as my second best ride ever. The first one is cycling up a mountain in Italy!
  • jollygiantjollygiant Posts: 117
    Just an update for you all....
    The new stuff arrived today (Rear mech, hanger and chain) and I fitted it all and got it changing spot on, on the bike stand.
    Took it ups nd down the road and 7th now spins on the free hub!!! Took the cassette off and there is nice groove in the free hub.....censored !
    Couldn't be the gear could it, that I have loads of spare cassettes I could use that one, no it's another £30 for a new free hub, which brings it too £100!

    A week after spending £50 on a new front chain ring and £15 on a Jagwire front mech cable.

    I keep telling the wife cycling is cheap hobby :lol:
  • Chapeau, Monsieur Norfolk! Great tale of sporting valour.
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