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On Sunday, Nick D. and I participated in the first race of the Triple Crown Series as tandem racers. Mind you, they don’t actually have a tandem category so we entered in the 200+ category since our combined weight along with the tandem was probably over 400lbs. We made sure that we matched our jerseys and wore the highly coveted Pink Tuxedo jerseys. This ensemble along with us riding the tandem proved to be a crowd favorite. In fact even the Race Marshals through out the course kept taking photos of us riding.
Nick and I warmed up by practicing some parts of the trail, already we knew this would be a tricky race since there were some great single track. Tricky as in weaving with up and downs, great on a regular bike, but on the tandem it would be far more difficult.
One our first lap we were doing pretty well, we managed to do all the climbs and at some of the tougher descents, Nick dismounted and I would blaze down the trail solo and meet him at the bottom where he’d jump back on. I have to hand it to the race organizers, they marked out a great course, very challenging and fun on the techy stuff.
As we were finishing up our first lap, we come in to the spectator area and one of the marshals yells out “PINK TANDEM PINK TANDEM!” As soon as he said that the MC started talking about us and then the crowd erupted in cheers! Nick and I felt like super stars because we had so many people taking pictures and videos of us as we rode by. This certainly boosted our motivation to finish the race.
On lap 2 is when all hell broke loose. First our rear brakes stopped working, then we’re coming in super hot into one of the descents and BOOM! We crashed! The front wheel went into a sandy rut and we went down. But we didn’t just go down, it was one of those things where I landed on my left side, hit my shoulder and my head on the ground and then Nick falls on top of me. It was what I would call a very “intimate fall.” We brush ourselves off and make small chit chat to shake off that awkwardness of falling on top of each other by saying, “So how about them Saints?!” and “Ya, what about them Jets!” We were fine and the bike was in great shape. So we continued onto the next climb. On our way down the mountain, there’s some great single track, again perfect for a normal bike, but a beast to handle on a tandem. Then we get to a point where we had to muscle our way up a steep climb, we shifted gears, I called out to pedal hard and we’re motoring up the hill and BOOM! Chain comes off, we start rolling backwards down the hill and could barely stop. Upon inspection of the bike, we saw that due to the amount of torque we were pushing out, we bent the cranks.
We knew that this was the end of our race. We make our way down the hill towards the cheering crowd and I signal to the Marshals that we’re done due to a mechanical. Nick and I were both bummed and relieved. We wanted to finish the race, but we knew how hard the course was. So for now we DNF’d due to a mechanical, not because we didn’t want to.
Watch this clip and you’ll see the damage on the crank.
By the way, I do want to thank Nick for racing with me. Not many are brave enough to take on a tandem, let along race with one. Great job to him for being a great Stoker!