Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Trail Tales: Bruised Knee the Prophet

Location: KhaoKeow - PongDingDum Loop, Sriracha, Chonburi

The Plan: The original plan was to go with a local group but I was slow going to the meeting point so me and Bruised Knee decided to burst our lungs climbing KhaoKeow and hurt ourselves descending PongDingDum.

The Do: Meeting point was at the Zoo Gate, 7.30am sharp. Right. The weather was pleasant and we rolled out quickly to catch the low clouds near the summit.

We started out with a liesurely pace, even telling jokes about the animals we see along the way. And then BAM! the 70-ish degree climb hit us in the face like a wall. Memories of our first trip here on two wheels came back as the air on our lungs went out.

We rested halfway. This is the last serious climb on this loop. The only thing that kept our legs going is the promise of the Weeee! XC downhill on the return trip behind the mountain.

The moment's rest seemed to have been a blessing in disguise when we met a group of riders going in the OPPOSITE direction! We were sitting on the side of the road catching our breath when the rode by. I cringe at the thought of seeing these guys going down at warp speed on the narrow trail near the summit while me and Bruised are slowly hammering uphill.

This is the case on most of the trails around here, bikers going in opposite directions on a trail. I saw the signs even in Tam PraToon where the markers seem to indicate that the Dirtbikes who frequent the trail go in the opposite direction as the MTB'ers. Me and Bruised once saw 4x4's emerging from the TestTrack Loop's trailhead while we were ENTERING it!

After a little bit more of pain and suffering, we reached the summit.

The Check: The view up there was great! You can see most of Sriracha - Mt Chalak, Sichang Island, Sriracha. We caught the low clouds and the cool air made for a nice refreshing reward after the hard climb a few moments ago. Better still, it's all downhill from there!

While getting ready, the prophet Bruised Knee asked "What causes a chain to break? I've heard that a lot of MTB'ers experience this on (and off) the trails."

"I don't know man. Maybe because [insert stupid idea here] ." I've had good mileage on my bike thus far and the worst thing that has ever happened to me in the wild was a bent hanger. (The second worst was a snakebite during my daily commute but that was on asphalt and with a phone signal so that doesn't count.)

The Action: After the first DH which rolls out into a nice flat singletrack before the next slope, guess what? my chain broke. So what do you do in a situation like this?

"Holy sh*t Bruised! Look at my chain!"


Silence.

"Quick! Pick a number, let's get out of here and buy a lottery ticket before you're fortune-telling heat gets cold. Or say something about my rear der, I've been wanting to buy the '07 XT to match my ano frame."

After the whole thing has sunk in, we began to move around looking for the broken links. Our eyes were still (very) sharp (btw Bruise, the doctor WAS wrong) enough to find them a few meters back. We weren't engineers for nothing, no sir, so we actually TRIED to fix the damned thing using only best tools that we have for the job - rocks. That's right, we don't have the whatchamacalit tool to fix a broken chain. We do have a tire patch kit (each), spare tubes (each), and a multitool which we carry everytime but we never, ever had a flat in the wild.

We never finished the return DH and I had to push my bike over the first slope to go back to the gate the way we came.

I say, next time we carry one of those chain tools and leave the patch kits behind to see if how jinxed we really are.

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