Sunday, October 14, 2007

Two road bikes bite the dust

And here Geoff waited, for nearly two hours, hoping his rescue ride would pick up the pace.

Date: Oct. 14
Mileage: 40.1
October mileage: 278.5
Temperature upon departure: 46
Rainfall: .31"

Another break in the weather drifted past Juneau this morning. This one was more glorious than any of the breaks from the past month - clouds nearly clear-cut from the sky; sun that nearly blinded eyes unaccustomed to unobstructed light; temperatures that nearly allowed one to roll up a sleeve. Yes, it was a beautiful morning. So Geoff and I decided to go for a "long" road bike ride.

Before we even made it past the house, Geoff observed that my crank was really loose. He pulled the crank and discovered the bottom bracket was falling apart. Probably just a few spins away from falling to pieces. I should have noticed it earlier, but I recently reinstalled my clipless pedals, and assumed the loose feeling and strange clanking was the pedals' fault (after all, I like to blame all of my riding troubles on clipless pedals.) Geoff regreased the bottom bracket and tightened the crank back up. He told me I might make it through the ride. Might.

We pedalled north on a feather, moving through the calm morning like seagulls on an ocean breeze. Geoff wasn't feeling stellar so we kept the pace pretty easy, but it didn't take long for my crank to begin wobbling again. By mile 20, it was clanking more horribly than it ever had before. It sounded like an ax striking metal. Geoff and I were discussing how much longer we should ride when I decided that I couldn't pedal that bike a mile further than I had to. I was going to have to turn around. He decided to go with me.

We were just leaving the spot where we sprawled out on the beach for a short break when he stopped suddenly. He jiggled his back wheel until he found what he suspected - a spoke snapped clean off the hub. He climbed back onto his bike as I followed behind, watching his rear wheel wobble back and forth like a rolling hula hoop. Rather than risk the catastrophic failure of his wheel, he decided to stop right there. He was going to need me to rescue him. We were 17 miles from home.

So I set into my ailing pedals, cranking with everything I had so Geoff wouldn't freeze on that beach and I wouldn't be late for work. A light breeze brushed my back and I mashed away - 18, 19, 20 miles per hour, listening to my crank groan as it fluttered wildly from side to side, the whole way wondering if this stroke was going to be the one to finally snap the bottom bracket in half.

Somehow I managed to ride the entire way home (the last three miles had me convinced I'd be unipedaling at best), take a shower, pack a quick lunch and drive the 17 miles back to pick up Geoff in less than two hours. But now, both Geoff's and my road bikes are out of commission. My bike requires ordering a bottom bracket from out of state, waiting for it to show up in the mail and installing it. By the time I fix the bike, there's likely to be ice on the roads in the morning. This could be a season-ending injury for Roadie - and in the midst of my month of interval training!

On the bright side, I took a picture that I really like.