Monday, April 14, 2008
I came to some realizations last week when Dan, my nephew and I had headed out on a long ride in anticipation of RAWROD. And since I'm long-winded, it'll come at the end. Last Saturday, despite the windy, grey weather, Dan showed up and we rolled out. I switched my Hillary over to mountain duty. This included moving the suspension fork and front brake from the Rig and putting on some Paul Thumbies/Bar End shifters. We rode down the canal to 1600 N. in Orem and then turned and headed east behind the Orem Cemetery. On the way, the zipper on my saddle bag broke so I had to stuff everything into my camelback. We climbed until we reach the top of Lower Frank from the backside. It was there that my front brake completely lost power. Completely. I had two choices - walk down or ride as carefully as possible with one brake. So I rode it. It was nerve racking and slow. We got to the bottom and then headed for the Provo section of the shoreline to meet my niece. She showed up with two flat tires, which is all the delay Dan needed to head home to take his daughter shopping. The small hand pump was virtually useless at getting air into her Schraeder-valve tubes. The CO2 I brought was completely useless. So my nephew and I got our forearm workouts in pumping up her tires with the hand-pump. After a while, we called it good enough and moved on. After we got rolling, I picked up a whole patch of thorns with my front tire. Surprisingly enough it held air until we got down. The steep descents were scarier than I remembered, especially without a front brake. Luckily, there were always run outs below the steep stuff so I could just roll the steep stuff and stop at the top of the other side. Once we got down, I stopped by Dan's house to borrow his floor pump to change my tube. I pulled out the thorn-riddled tube and put in a fresh one. Once the tire seated on the rim, I started pumping to fill up the tube. That's when the fresh tube gave up. Apparently it had a bad seam. Alika had an extra one in his pack, so I put it in and this time it held. Alika and I started the ride home into a pretty stiff head wind. By the time we got back, we were both completely done. Most days, this combination of things would have driven me over the edge and I would have been unbearable. So what was different? For one, I was riding on dirt instead of pavement most of the time. I realized I like to ride my mountain bike. Second, Dan and Alika are perfect riding company. Neither were any hurry to get there and were perfectly content to hang out and chat while we cruised along. Third, BK's CarboRocket and Spam musubi are great for long rides. I tolerate both well and both tasted great after a couple of hours in the saddle. Fourth, I would definitely prefer a slightly heavier bike with simple, reliable components. I've decided to make the move to cable actuated discs and thumbies on Maggie as well. Hillary performed like a champ for Dan the entire time. I actually prefer the modulation of cable actuated discs and am now comfortable enough with myself to switch to those, even if they aren't as cool or as light. Perhaps the most important thing I realized is that I should start moving my Saturday morning rides to Saturday afternoon as soon as possible. This has several advantages. For one, I get to sleep in and catch up a little on my sleep deficit from the week. Second, it gives Cindy time to train since she's more of a morning person. And most important, it gives me some really good time with just the kids.