Troy and I hit a muddy MMR's East of Cortland today scouting some sections of the GLGA course. The MMR section was only about a mile long, so we opted to push on through the soft dirt. Bad idea. About twenty yards in, just when the dirt really started to get soft and accumulate on the tires/bike/etc, I heard a loud crunch and Troy say, "Oh no. My der is toast".
Ironically, Troy and I were discussing Joe's recent blog post earlier in the ride on how he fixed his bike when his rear der hanger snapped on the Tour Divide earlier this year. I've never seen a der or a der hanger snap in half, so this was a mystical experience for me. Luckily, thanks to Joe's post, we knew what to do.
After removing the der and der cable, we worked on shortening the chain to a length that looked like a reasonable gear with relatively acceptable chain tension. This is why you should always carry a chain tool! The gear ended up being a 42 x 18. Perfect!
Once the chain was positioned, we took a tip from Joe's post and wrapped grass around the adjacent cogs to act as a make-shift chainguide.
Troy hopped on and began to pedal ever so carefully. Unfortunately, the chain jumped down a gear to a bigger cog which created dangerously high chain tension and almost snapped the chain. The chain tension was ridiculous. Troy tried to ride with the chain on the 19, but it just wasn't working. Troy had noticed that the 19 tooth cog began to spin on the freehub body. Yikes. Probably gouged through the freehub body due to the high chain tension. Damn, another expensive part to fix. The grass chainguides weren't doing the trick, so we stopped and those were removed. The chain was also repositioned back on the 18.
After the chain was back on the 18 the ride quality seemed to improve. Plus, Troy got the technique figured out - don't freewheel! The chain tension was a bit slack, so if he freewheeled the chain would have an opportunity to jump up or down a cog (which would potentially snap the chain). He pretended it was a fixed gear and rode the next 20 miles to home without a problem.
It was pretty cool to figure out how to get home with what we had on hand. I was happy we didn't need to make that dreaded phone call to have someone pick him up.
It was an expensive ride for Troy. New der, cable/housing, chain, cassette, and potentially a freehub body. I'm sure he'll gladly except donations. :)