Two days later on a ride to the same area, I could see what looked like a lump in my front wheel. It preyed upon my OCD all the way home where I finally checked and found that, sure enough, a section of my wheel was in serious need of truing. Today was extra special. Partway up a switchback climb, my chain exploded. Anyone that has ridden a bit knows that occasionally it happens. What wasn't normal was that when I stepped back to pick up my chain, there was still a section of it on the ground. My chain snapped in two places, which isn't at all normal and required undue diligence with a chain tool to fix.
Normally that would be the end of mechanical mishaps for the day, but I continued to get my Trogdor on. Once back to town, I was rolling up a steep curb when my seatpost clamp exploded. Although it didn't actually break, it did send the nose of my saddle searching skyward and forced me to stand the rest of the way home, because although I had a multitool, I didn't have the will left to straighten it out before getting back to the house.
The day's saving graces were the fact that the singletrack was just as good as the rest I have been riding and that when I stopped at the LBS to get a new chain on the way back through town, I got much better service than the last two times I had been in there. It was an actual mechanic that helped me and it gives me hope for the place yet. Tomorrow I am heading up to Marquette, which although smaller than Fairbanks, sports something like twice as many bike shops, including one that purportedly specializes in downhill rigs. There must be serious trailage up there to support that kind of gear. Maybe someone rents?