This is a true story. There are good people in the world who just want to help each other out and make the world a better place.
Before our trip we bought new bicycles sturdy enough for our journey. We chose Salsa Fargos in part because they are known to be well made and GDMBR tough! In fact, the bicycle was designed specifically for rides like the Divide. Work horses that can carry you and your gear over rough roads.The winner of the 2014 Race the Divide Josh Kato rode a Fargo and 6/8 Alpha Pack riders ride Salsas.
We made adjustments to our drive train, seats, and outfitted our bikes with racks and packs. Since our bicycles are new we didn’t expect to run into an mechanicals along the way. However, I started to experience problems with my derailleur and shifters. I took the bike to a bike mechanic in Whitefish and Dillon to work on it but the problems persisted. I was told it’s either a defect in the SRAM X7 derailleur and or shifters. Both mechanics said that the SRAM derailleur share known to have problems. My problem appears to be in the spring. When I shift the gear the into a higher gear the spring will not move the gear as it should. As for the shifters, it could be the internal ratcheting system that is not moving the gear forward.
What to do in the middle of a 2,700 mile ride? Call your mechanic and ask him to contact SRAM and ask for new components under the warranty? Erika suggested that I call Salsa directly. “These bikes are made for the Divide and your on the Divide and I’m sure they will do somethings to make it right.” She was right!
I called Salsa and all the support people wanted to do is make it right and allow me to finish the ride. They never asked when or where I purchased my bike. They asked where are you and what’s the closest town you can get to where there is a bike shop. I suggested Jackson, WY however the Salsa guy said it was too far. Dave, one of the Salsa staff I spoke with, had just ridden completed the Divide one month earlier and had experienced a similar issue with his derailleur. He knew exactly what I was going through and he knew how important it was to get the problem fixed.
Dave located a Salsa dealer Fitzgeralds bikes in Victor Valley, ID the closest bicycle shop near where we were heading. It is 40 miles off route. He said the shop helps out Divide riders and he was sure that they would help me out. He spoke to Nate Simpson at the shop and he said he’d take care of me.
I called Nate at the shop and we made arrangements to meet. I offered to ride to Ashton 16 miles from our camp site in Warm Springs. Nate said he’d come to the campground to offer a mobile service for free. He asked if he could bring anything to us that we needed. Wow!
Nate and his buddy and colleague Gary drove part way on their day off and rode the rest on a trail they never have ridden. They showed up with chocolate chip cookies at the expected meeting and Nate got to work. He fixed the problem and gave Fat Cat a check up.
This was an amazing experience and I’m forever grateful to Salsa (Mike, Chris & Dave) and Nate and Gary of Fitzgeralds. Thank you for helping me on my Divide journey!