Those of you who have been following on Facebook know that my Surly Cross-Check has been giving me some trouble lately. Enough trouble that it's now time to get myself a new Cross-Check.
The trouble started about a month ago when I did some riding down in Page County with a friend. It was supposed to be a Trans-Iowa training weekend so we were looking at 100 miles on Saturday and 62 on Sunday. Saturday started out well enough, but due to a "train the way you fight" ethic we ran into some trouble. Since the Trans-Iowa would include some B (aka. minimum maintenance, aka. dirt) roads we'd be including some in the training ride. I should have known better than to try B roads after rain, in early March, but I went along with the plan. The problem looked like this:
The problem wasn't that guy. He's okay, but you can see the problem. He's not riding that bike, he's carrying it, and look at those feet.
Well, we did a lot of walking and by the time we were 30 miles into our 100 mile ride we'd been out for five hours. I did the math, it didn't look good. Just as we decided to make it a metric rather than a full century my drivetrain decided to give way. The rear derailleur pulled straight out of the dropout and the dropout itself was bent in about 45 degrees. The B road mud was just too much for it. I rigged up this to get home:
But the troubles weren't over. We took a shortcut back to home base and while we were walking yet another B road my shoelace decided to break. Unfortunately my shoes have a BOA system and fixing a broken lace isn't so easy as it ought to be. Luckily I had a spare tube along so I did this:
Pretty clever if you ask me and it worked well too. Twenty miles later we were home.
At first I thought the frame was toast, but after some judicious bending, a dropout saver insert, a new chain, and a derailleur (upgraded to Ultegra) I thought I had it licked. Fast forward to last weekend.
Same route planner, same plan, lots of B roads. Closer to home though; Story County. On the final B road of the day 30+ miles into the ride my cranks ground to a familiar halt. The derailleur hadn't pulled out this time, but the hanger was bent a good 45 degrees again. Once again B road mud had done me in. I hadn't even gotten the new Ultegra derailleur paid for (it looks like it might be okay). Once again I single-speeded it (it took me much less time, a benefit of practice) and rode the 30+ miles back home.
This time I think the hanger is done. I could probably bend it back, but it wouldn't be the same. The place where I had drilled out the hanger to accept the dropout saver insert is ovalized and won't go back to round. I don't trust it anyway. I could have the dropout replaced, and I might someday, but it would be fairly expensive to have that done and then repaint the frame. The best option is to buy a new frame and swap the parts over. Until then the old Spree Green Surly will be a single-speed. The new one should be here later this week and look like this: