This one time at bike camp...
I'm happy to work here because Fresh Grease will help riders just like me! Their mission hits close to home in a lot of ways...
It wasn't the time that Giant couldn't sell me a compatible seat post and it wasn't the time Zipp couldn't tell me what hub I needed for my sweet but squeaky race wheels...
It was that one time at bike camp that really got me excited to work for a brand that is giving riders access to the part compatibility bible.
Let's set the scene. A college cycling and triathlon team set out for three days of camping and cycling in the barren, dry, hot desert. I was allowed to take a truckload of friends up to camp in The Death Star, my family’s Ford Excursion, (the one from Star Wars was getting its oil changed that weekend).
Blasting Down Under by Men at Work we welcomed the incredibly speedy Aussies that joined our team and set off to a weekend featuring one grueling climb, and countless TTT efforts on the flat open desert roads. Small itinerary, but still a recipe for a smash fest.
Flat open desert. You get it.
I had just come off of a big crash the week before, but I was thanking my lucky stars I had only donated some skin to the side of a San Luis Obispo hill, instead of breaking any of my still never-have-been-broken bones. I was ready for bike camp, unaware that there were hard times ahead...
Our first morning’s highlight was a ten-mile climb that I really overshot. Yes, of course, I’ll go out with the Aussies and the rest of the boys, a small flex. Yes, I will pull over on the side of the road halfway up the climb, completely out of water, heart pounding out of my chest about to vomit. And yes I will soft-pedal the rest of the climb. Made it to the top all smiles though!
Granted, I was a bit afraid of descending after the previous week's crash. However, it was easier to get over it with a pack of friends and a send-it attitude. Down we went at 40mph racing traffic to the bottom, tears in our eyes from the wind that would only get stronger as our wheels picked up speed. It wasn't here either that my true woes began….
Smiling, highly competitive friends at the top
Our thrilling descent that kept my heart rate at 170 was not a good enough test of our skill. The team convened at a large roundabout, realistically the center of town, to practice cornering, pace-lining, team tactics, etcetera etcetera. It was then that we were ready for the biggest challenge of the weekend. A game that has no name and shouldn't be repeated.
We were herded into a small circle marked by small orange cones, one tire outside the circle and you’re out. The goal: knock your teammates off their bikes or out of the circle.
With that same send-it attitude, we battled. Our smaller teammates shoving friends that were some 30 odd pounds heavier than them, everyone having a laugh.
The toughest challengers in this group were an ex-water polo player, Barry, and a current military recruit, Dan. They must've overestimated my strength or I was not on my A-game because when they went to push me out of the circle we ALL went down. Dan and Barry on top of me. Knocked the wind outta me let me tell ya! Probably more painful than the crash the weekend before and luckily nothing was broken, I was walking away from this one once again!! Until I looked at my bike.
Dangling limply was my derailleur. Completely detached from my bike dragging on the floor, chain tangled, a disaster. This had never happened to me before, I had no idea what was wrong. Thankfully there were about fourteen dudes on the team lining up to tell me exactly what I had done wrong, why this had happened, and how to replace my derailleur hanger.
Trying to replace a derailleur hanger in the middle of the desert was just as difficult as you would think. I did toy around with the idea of chopping my chain and riding single-speed the rest of the weekend, but we thought driving a few miles out of the desert might be easier??? Luckily I had phone service so I could call EVERY BIKE SHOP WITHIN A 40 MILE RADIUS. And guess what… not a single one of them could tell me which derailleur hanger was compatible with my bike. I know you may be thinking that there aren’t that many bike shops within a 40-mile radius of our desert campsite, but we expanded outside of that radius in hopes that someone out there would be able to help me find out a)what the part was and b)if they had the part in stock….
It was much less of a smashfest when I had to drive the SAG wagon for the rest of bike camp, but at least it was the Death Star.
Eventually, I had to walk into the bike shop in person with my shattered derailleur hanger, piece it together, and look through a box of hundreds of other hangers to see which one could match the one I once had on my bike. A long-winded story and three months later I was able to find and replace my hanger (three months later mind you).
This was a LONG and TEDIOUS process so I’m here now puttin’ in work at Fresh Grease. So riders like me can comfortably find the spare/broken/missing part they need through our rider app, all the while swinging in their hammock, out in the desert, at bike camp.
Follow the link below to get updates on when you can access our part compatibility database.