A dark personal moment

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Dark moments, we’ve all had him. Most aren’t on video and posted on the internet. This ought to make your Monday look a little better.

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sonyalooney/6912448032/.

And people wonder why I dislike hydralic disc brakes. It is because I cannot fix them in the field. I can, and have, sorted out cable actuated breakes more times than I care to recall. Some guys can undoubtedly make the requisite repairs I am currently unable (or unmotivated) to perform. Good for them. I’ll stay a friggin’ progress hate’n luddite, thankyouverymuch.

Don’t worry folks, a working brake was switched from another bike and she was able to finish the race.

When I got to the finish, I found out that I had finished 1hour and 40 min behind Carena. I couldn’t believe that I still had about a 20 minute lead in the Women’s GC and was thankful that I had that despite how awful my day had been. I was completely exhausted. Everyone was laying in the grass at the hotel when I arrived. I slumped down into the grass – a defeated mess. The saving grace was our room had an actual toilet which I hadn’t seen in days. I also had a tepid shower for the first time in many days. I was emotionally exhausted. I tried to nurse myself back to life with a lemon sugar pancake, milk tea, and spring rolls. I anxiously waited for Jeff to get back. I was very worried about him and his health; he had to ride a yak over the pass, hike down the back side and get in a jeep in Muktinath. I was also hoping one of his brakes held up and I could take one of his. I racked my brain to figure out how I’d finish the next day. His rear brake was completely blown out, but his front worked -the brake I needed.

In the words of y Thom Parsons:

And hey, remember this negative commenting guy: if you say something denigrating about Sonya, it’s clearly obvious to the rest of us that you are just overcompensating for your own insecurities and that you are nowhere near as tough or hardcore as she is and that you probably cry when you get a flat tire during your Wednesday night group ride.

I’m afraid that preceding paragraph may just act as jerk-bait. But, what the hell do I know? I can’t even fix disc brakes.

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About big jonny

The man, the legend. The guy who started it all back in the Year of Our Lord Beer, 2000, with a couple of pages worth of idiotic ranting hardcoded on some random porn site that would host anything you uploaded, a book called HTML for Dummies (which was completely appropriate), a bad attitude (which hasn’t much changed), and a Dell desktop running Win95 with 64 mgs of ram and a six gig hard drive. Those were the days. Then he went to law school. Go figure. Flagstaff, Arizona, USA

51 Replies to “A dark personal moment”

  1. Wow, that sucks.

    I wonder what the issue was? Frozen fluid in the lines? Frozen seals around the pistons? I’ve seen water freeze in the lines of cable brakes, making the levers lock up, but you can usually free them up.

    Seems like a really oddball thing to happen. I one had a front Avid Mech caliper explode on me. The 10mm nut holding the actuator arm came loose and it barfed little tiny parts all over the trail. Nearly sent me assoverteakettle off a steep drop off. I had super sticky pistons halfway into a 24HOA race at about 10 at night oh my Hope brakes. Brakes would not go on at all, until CRACK, they were on hard.

  2. Did you try the foot to crown friction brake like we did as kids to stop our stingrays ? Sonya, you will look back at that moment and realize how much of a spirit builder it was . you are stronger !!!!

  3. …glad to know that sonya got to finish the race…

    …fuck, i’d be crying about wearing out my goddamn ‘sidis’ if i hadda walk 8 miles down a rocky road…guaranteed…

  4. I’ve followed Sonya’s blog and her racing for a while and this solidifies the respect I have for her and all endurance racers. This is the “never say die” attitude that so many folks that I admire have. Must’ve been extremely frustrating but damn if that doesn’t get a thumbs up from me!

  5. She just rode her ass off up a hill to get to that decent. I would be pissed off and throwing my bike had that happened to me. Crying seems like the smarter reaction there. Endurance riders put themselves through so much it is a miracle that we haven’t seen more images like this. Tired, hungry, bonking. Sometimes the mind just snaps and you can’t hold it back.
    She never explains the issue with what happened to the brakes. I know I’ve heard rumors that the mineral oil brakes can freeze up or become slow in super cold conditions. Or lines have cracked due to the freezing of fluid then a yank on the brakes causes them to burst. So did I miss what happened or what?

  6. That cry is the result of knowing how much training you have put in and realizing that it might all be for nothing. They trained for months in CO winter to get ready for that shit, I would have crumbled like FETA too….

  7. When I go up high in the cold , I fill the resivoir up with oil and turn the throw all the way out then in a little . Sometimes the altitude pressure shrinks the volume out of the resivoir and thusly if not properly adjusted will cause the brake levers to bottom out . Then if you dont have your small allen to re-ajust your throw out that little bit, you are stuck with no brakes . She kicks fucking ass on most boys and I have her total respect !!!!!!!!

  8. “The more you overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the sink.”

    Captain Montgomery “Scotty” Scot

    “Star Trek, the Voyage Home.”

    Yes I’m a nerd. So crucify me.

  9. Jesus if she cant ride down that hill with no brakes shes got other issues. Suck it up babe, this is mountain biking.

  10. This is why I run a fixed gear on my trail bike. Sure I’m slow on it. If I had forty-leben gears I’d still be slow. At least this way I’ve got something that can be easily repaired in the field.

  11. Ms. Looney was in the shop today. Didn’t realize it was her until after she left. Think I said something about the proper pronunciation of the town Prescott, AZ. She was really nice, though…apparently she’s our Ergon rep.

  12. I love the armchair QB action Chad… a 9k ft descent in snow and ice is not riding down hill. Esp when you are starting from 18k feet.

    Jesus. what a dick…

  13. Thanks for all the comments, guys! I’m not really sure what happened. The front brake had oil coming out of the reservoir (possibly a blown seal?) The rear was an air bubble or something because it came back full power by the next day. I’m positive it had to do with being up at 18,000′, but I wasn’t expecting such a catastrophe since everyone else seemed to have no real issues and were riding. That’s part of racing, shit happens… you just hope it never happens again!

    That crying moment was at around 15,000′ of elevation after starting at 4 AM with a straight carry to almost 18,000′. There was no real riding that day. The good stuff was after you got out of the snow on the back side, and I spent an extra 2+ hours out there.

    And Chad – yeah, I did try to ride, and went off the edge of a switchback out of control and yard saled into a rock garden. Funny how easy it is to say, “oh yeah, ride that!” Go out on your bike, remove the brakes from you bike, point your bike downhill and tell me that again.

  14. There’s a joke about blowing a seal. Wish I could remember how it goes.

    And I’m out of Bourbon. Damn,


  15. I think I would be too exhausted to cry at that point, but I have definitely felt that defeated both on and off the bike. Takes a lot just to keep on moving forward.

  16. I feel like an idiot saying this after Sonya made her comment above… I should have said this in the post. I was busy, and went the easy route. Go figure.

    Look, we’ve all had “dark personal moments.” My man Gnome coined the phrase I don’t know how many years ago when we were both doing a 24 hour mountain bike race. He was solo, I was duo (I think). I was out on a night lap, I came around a corner, and Gnome was sitting on a rock in the dark. Head in his hands. I slowed to ask if he was OK. Then I stopped and threw up a few times. We laughed. And then I got on with it.

    Sometimes life just fucking sucks.

    That which does not kill you, fuck all, it makes you stronger. I’m a tougher man for going through that shit. At the time, it was zero fun. But, looking back, it was an experience I’d repeat. It’s times like that when you know you’re alive.

    Thanks for sharing, Sonya. You’re a badass in my book. I’d have dropped the saddle and dragged my feet as long as I could before I tossed the bike off a fucking cliff. Which would have been the first right turn. Unless it was a left.

    But, I’m an idiot.

  17. …some folks can’t see the forest for the trees…

    chad can’t see reality with his head up his ass…

  18. I can totally understand the breakdown, that is some seriously shitty luck. But if that was me there is no way I would think to pull out the GoPro and document my misery.

  19. I live at 72 ft elevation. I would have been crying with or without brakes, with or without a bike. Geez, can’t fathom riding at 18,000 ft.

  20. The air bubble in the rear line makes sense. A tiny air bubble at low altitudes might not cause an issue. But, take away the atmospheric pressure and that bubble can increase it’s volume dramatically. I believe the ideal gas law fits here.

    Bummer the descent was so tough. Though, if it makes you feel better, I cry like that when working on GIS problems. At least, you were near a bike and not stuck in a 90F computer lab.

    Keep up that hard work.

  21. it’s not really a dark personal moment when you do it on video and post it to the internet.

    Crying over a mechanical is over the top, even from the more emotional. Good job on racing, but stuff like this is just part of it.

    Oh and to sum it up, better luck next time.

  22. Sonya is;
    a) from my hometown +1
    b) hot +1
    c) not afraid to talk shit right back when people talk shit about her +1
    d) can out ride almost everyone on here +1
    e) straight freaking baller for trying this event and finishing it +1
    f) now one of my heros +1

  23. A vacationing penguin is driving his through Arizona when he notices that the oil pressure light is on. He gets out to look and sees oil dripping out of the motor. He drives to the nearest town and stops at the first gas station.

    After dropping the car off, the penguin goes for a walk around town. He sees an ice-cream shop and, being a penguin in Arizona, decides that something cold would really hit the spot. He gets a big dish of ice cream and sits down to eat. Having no hands he makes a real mess trying to eat with his flippers. After finishing his ice cream, he goes back to the gas station and asks the mechanic if he’s found the problem. The mechanic looks up and says “It looks like you blew a seal.”

    “No no,” the penguin replies, “it’s just ice cream.”

  24. …old, old joke & one that has actually been used on this site before…

    …i know it’s hard to strive for originality but damn, you gotta try harder…

  25. I blew a seal just reading all of this. No brakes; no breaks. Tough woman. I bet if she went I the thunderdome that she would be the only woman on earth to smoke Tina turner.

  26. Come the fuck on, bgw. If any of us really wanted to “try harder”, would we be drunkcyclists in the damned first place?

    It ain’t rocket surgery.

    Or some shit.


  27. …well, ya, joe…i try harder not to try too hard, if you know what i’m sayin’…

  28. Sonya is a certified badass! Any dude that wants to rip on her can watch her ride away and eat her dust. This is mountain biking, so be careful of the squirrel that throws a stick in your front wheel.

  29. & to Sonya,

    Your EPIC is just so choc full of awesome.

    I freely admit that you are harder than me.

    I hope one of your best moments is when you’re telling this tale to your Grandchildren.

  30. Sorry, that was awful and disrespectful . . . Meant to say, that was “bad ass” and goo on you for finishing. Now show us your tits.

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