January 20, 2005: Ah crap

Feeling so incredibly lethargic tonight. It's been a long, grueling work week (I had to be in the office by 3:30 AM on Tuesday), and I'm fighting a losing battle against the siren song of the recliner right now. I mean, I'm outgunned in this fight. The recliner has comfort, warmth, TV, food. The ride has pain, cold, fog, darkness. On paper, it's not even close, but that's what they said about the 2000 presidential election too.

Accepting my fate
The coastside's finest grit
How do I put this back together?

My feet are in quicksand. I'm barely moving. It's like I'm in a dream, slowed down by some invisible force. At once, yelling at myself in frustration to "Move, move, move!" and also feeling the desperation of failure. I just . . . can't . . . get . . . mov-ing. Cue the fish-eye lens and the slow-speed vocals. Sulu Intoxication Postulate in full effect.

Ultimately, I rally the spirit and slowly assemble the gear and don the garb. The bike stands ready to roll. And I'm off.

But the ride is waylaid at the 0.04 mile mark. Standing in my driveway adjusting to the cold, bracing wind, I run through a final systems check and discover a disconcerting wobble in the rear wheel. I've felt a little unsteady on the Hoo-E at high speeds lately and this discovery may offer some explanation. The symptom: clamped into the drops, the wheel moves laterally about a quarter of an inch.

My diagnosis is a loose hub. This is based on a similar experience and diagnosis of the front hub about a year ago. In any event, the wheel is too sloppy to ride. Back to the shop.

I acknowledge to myself that the ride is off, and that I should just get into my work clothes and fix this bike now so that I can ride it tomorrow. If I put off the fix tonight, I may not get to ride again until the weekend, and then I'll still need to do this work. Better to just use the time I would have spent riding on useful pursuits such as repairin' and maintainin'.

I set about tightening the hub by first taking off the cassette. The hub underneath is coated with greasy dirt. Every nook and cranny is packed tight with gritty, grimy grains.

And so the project scope expands.

I decide that if I'm going to tighten the hub, I might as well clean the hub and cassette. This takes about 20 minutes. That done, I work on the hub for a while, using my Rodale Bicycle Repair and Maintenance manual as my guide. But, as is often the case, the instructions they provide don't quite match the real-world situation. I flounder around for about fifteen minutes and somehow end up tightening the hub in spite of myself.

But I'm not quite done. While I'm in the neighborhood, I might as well swap out the badly worn rear tire for the one currently on the Cane Creek Kronos. The Kronos is out of commission until I can take it down to Rich to replace the stripped cassette hub (See December 24: Going out with a whimper).

Oh yeah, that's right, the Shimano M535s are the kings of impossible tire changes. I don't know if they're just slightly oversized or what, but it is impossible to get a tire on or off these freakin' things. Bonzai, Romulus, CrankenFine, and I once spent a half an hour trying to a fix a flat in Golden Gate Park because we just couldn't get the tire back over the rim lip.

Since then, and partly because of that incident, I set out to solve this problem so that I would not be completely screwed in a race if I flat. The best solution I've found to date is to use liquid dishwashing soap on the inside of the tire lip and on the outside of the rim.

But not today. I try to get the old tire off for about five minutes, get frustrated, give up, and end up cutting it off the rim with a pair of metal shears. Cannonball style baby (See July 26, 2004: Bicycle maintenance, Cannonball style). I am able to slip the replacement tire on with minimal struggle though. Thank you Liquid Dawn.

So, the "ride" today is a bust, but I get some quality work done on the Hoo-E and it is now ready to tackle Tamarancho on Saturday (See January 22, 2004: Tamarancho, take 2).


Mileage: 0.04 Time: 00:15 Avg:  Max: 3.2 Weight: 

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