Friday, July 26

Post Haste Last Post Retro-Announcement

First off, the previous post on Tuesday was my last ever post here on the Pavement’s Edge.  I agree with Jeff, there’s little I could do to top that one.  I let it sink in for a few days hoping I could come up with something better, but I just couldn’t.  Therefore, without further ado, I present to you the last ever From the Pavement’s Edge blog post: LEFTPEBP

Life is good.  The One is ambulatory again.  I’ve been in high stress mode, though the stealth version, for some time now.

It all started after the Mohican 100 when I realized my bike was a year and a half old with literally thousands of miles of climbing and hard riding hauling my sub-clyde butt around.  I realized this because when I tried to tune the bike I couldn’t get the rear derailer to perform.  Once I got to looking closely at the cassette and chain I realized they were both trashed.  JUBAR.

It took a little while, but I finally put on a new cassette and chain.  I'm guessing the bike magic I was afflicted with only worked in Colorado.  When we lived there I maintained out fleet of bikes and never paid anyone for maintenance or repairs unless it was something I just didn't have the tools for.  Since we've returned to Kentucky I've not been able to do so much as check the PSI in a tire without causing structural damage to the frame of the bike I'm working on and any within spitting distance.

I rode Harts Orchard with Tom and Jeff a while back just after I'd put on the new chain and mix tape.  I knew I'd not shortened the chain enough, but I went ahead and rode that day because it was such a short ride.  While tooling around waiting at the top my chain slipped.  I couldn't figure out what was wrong at the time, but I'm sure you can guess. 

I shortened the Shimano chain and utilized a power link because I'd already used the reinforced pin that came with the chain and didn't have another.  In the process I somehow broke my chain tool without realizing it.  The bike hung on my stand for a few days until I needed to go do some blog research with Mark at the library.  I rolled the mountain bike out of the Bike Cave, threw a leg over the top tube, and stamped down on the pedal.  It was a terrible sound.

I ended up driving to the cussed library and wallowed in my own self-pity over my ineptitude at maintaining a simple drive-train.  I had a few discussions with Tom and Jeff with no real conclusive theories on what was wrong.  I couldn’t imagine one little power link would cause such hideous slippage.  And looking at the chainrings I didn’t think they looked too bad.  The cassette teeth were actually flattened and the faces flared.  The chainrings looked pretty good by comparison.

That was Tuesday.  The bike hung impotently in my basement until last night.  I’d had a day, and came home to curl up in a fetal position on the bed and suck my thumb.  After a few minutes I remembered that if I didn’t sort out what was wrong with the bike, like RIGHT THEN, I’d probably not be able to ride it over the weekend leaving only next Monday through Thursday to figure it out.  If I didn’t get the bike sorted out by Thursday I’d probably just as well take a week off to go to Florida and play backgammon in some retirement community as go to Leadville and try to ride my crippled mountain bike.

Tuesday night I texted Jeff:

If you can tear yourself away from making cabinets for thirty seconds I’m having a mountain biking crisis!

Days and weeks and hours later he called and we discussed it.  We couldn’t talk through it though.  I know he was having a hard time understanding me around my thumb.

Last night I dragged myself out of bed, dried off my thumb, and hauled the irksome machine out into the daylight.  I’d had an epiphany at work yesterday so I tried my theory out.  It was conclusive.

I’d been starting out in my overused middle chainring.  The chain slipped and rag-a-jagged with any pressure.  Last night I shifted into my big chainring and one of my middle cogs and gentle pedaled away from the Bikeport.  No slippage.  I stood up on the pedals and cranked up the hill of my yard.  No slippage.  Okay.  I repeated the whole scenario in my small chainring with the exact same results.  Conclusion?  My middle chainring was JUBAR.

I called Jeff.  I didn’t want to offer him the chance to sabotage me so close to Leadville, but when he offed to look at the bike I literally threw it on the car and raced away to his survival cabin in the styx (like the band). 

We (Jeff) pulled the crank, and, finding no maggots, filed out the teeth on the middle ring slightly, cleaned out the sanitary sewer that was my BB shell and slammed it all back together.

“I’d try that before buying a new chainring.  Chainring.”  He said.  I pedaled slowly around his driveway, and there was no violent slippage.  I tried pedaling up his driveway but it wasn’t very steep.

“Do you want to try it out on the trail?” He asked.

Blam! I was at the first switchback before the “L” had completely rolled off his tongue. 

I was at the second switchback when I realized I had not brought my phone nor fired up Strava.

I let out a Michael Kelso bark but kept pedaling.  I knew Jeff would be sucking my wheel if I didn’t keep pounding on that middle chainring.  There was no pressure to be KOM on Jeff’s personal trail because I had no GPS enabled device with which to assert my mountain biking dominance.  That will come later.  I mean, I will preserve the sanctity of Jeff’s Strava Wilderness by always leaving the Strava enabled devices in the car.

The test ride was short, but it gave me confidence that Jeff’s chainsaw sharpening technique worked.  I’m gonna put The One through its paces over the weekend.  As for today…

It’s been a pretty good day.  Dawn patrol ride with the Crash Test Librarian, I crushed three PRs at Veteran’s today (didn’t forget to Strava that!), got a new back-friendly office chair free of charge (well, I do have to show up for work every day to have access to it), had some positive reinforcement at work not related to my seating arrangements, am married to the Best. Wife. Ever., and was informed by said BWE that we now have 4G at our house.  I’ll be able to upload Strava immediately after finishing a ride as opposed to waiting until I’m near the Clark County line to see my KOMs.

What can I say?  It must be Apocalypse Eve.  I’m down with that.  More time to ride my mountain bike and fewer closed trails…

So, despite my Did Not Strava at the Mozhican Clan MTB Park Trails and Such it has been a pretty good diurnal anomaly.  

Of course the obvious question now is: if you ride a mountain bike in the woods and don't remember to Strava it did you really ride the bike?


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