So, I was riding home last night, reached for a shift and.... snap. My rear derailleur cable broke. No warning whatsoever. No visibly frayed wires and no lousy shifting. It just simply failed. It's not an old cable -- only 6~8 months old.
The weather last night was perfect for a little road side repair -- mid 50's, pissing drizzle and totally dark. I jump off, quickly remove the cable and run the high limit screw in to hold the chain in the second cog (17T) on my freewheel. The rest of the ride home was uneventful -- had a couple of good chuckles when I flipped the "dead" shifter trying to change gears. Did have to get off and walk one bit in Umstead -- couldn't get enough traction on the wet, loose rocks.
Remember kids, keep an eye on your equipment and be prepared when things go pear-shaped.