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Broken Parts Blues  //   Thursday - May 31, 2007

The parts casualty list has been higher than usual this week. As seen below, it started with snapping off my seatpost on the 29er. Fun stuff since I currently can't get the damn thing out of the frame. This is why I own two mountain bikes, so I move back over to the Surly which was creaking really bad last I rode it. But what the hell, it's been a bit so I figured I would try to diagnose the creek by taking it out on the Wednesday ride.

It was load and consistent and annoying. Seemed like it might be coming from the front end. I had a sizable ride planned for Saturday so I knew it was time to put the 1x1 in the stand and do some work. I had some new handle bars ready to go for this bike and I've been feeling a bit paranoid since they are old and abused and I broke a different set last month. So I swapped out the bars and discovered a cracked face plate on the stem. Lucky for me the Kelly is out of commission and just happens to sport the same stem. Sometimes cannibalization is the only game in town. Torn down the headset, installed new grips, tightened chainring bolts, the bike seemed to shut up most of the way and I was feeling better about Saturday's ride.

Saturday Jay and Billy met me at Patapsco and we did the ride I dubbed the Assault on Avalon. The idea behind it when I put it together a few years ago was to string together the best of the best trails without repeating anything. I threw in the adjoining trails at Rockburn to bump up the mileage and give a bit of trail in the middle of the loop that let you stretch your legs a bit. Total mileage comes in at 25 miles. It was a great day for this ride, a bit warm but the sun was shining and things were dry and dusty. The new SSO jerseys came in so we looked like a bunch of escaped convicts on two wheels. Near the end, with about 2 miles to finish the Ti seat rail on my saddle snapped. Bummer since I really liked this saddle and it fit my ass well. Part #3 broken for the week. We worked the trails good and kept a snappy pace that left me feeling a little worn but good.

Jay and Billy on the root pile

Sunday I pulled out the fixed Crosscheck and mounted up to trek to my sister-in-law's for a M-day cookout. Plotted out a route on roads that I hadn't done before. Despite Saturdays ride the legs were feeling fresh out of the gate and the road starting out was good with a nice wide shoulder and rolling hills. I plugged a single ear-bud in so I could still hear traffic and got a good tempo going with the new Grinderman album as my soundtrack. They were calling for hot temps and I was starting right in the middle of the day but it wound up being a bit overcast which help keep me from cooking. I had 36 miles to go and wanted to knock it out quick so I packed some food and stuffed an extra water bottle in my jersey so I could roll without any stops. Plus I figured the further I got along my route the less chance I would find anywhere to resupply, this was country riding at it's finest. Lots of nice scenery. Even hooked into 3 nice long gravel roads which was a sweet bonus. Even on the road I'm always looking for dirt. When I got within 5 miles I turned up the pace and started to suffer. I knew there was a final, tough hill near the end but by the time I hit it I felt like I crawled up it so slow I was going to fall over. With a nice ride in the bag I refueled with good cookout food and plenty of beer. My wife was kind enough to give me a lift home.

Monday was a holiday so what better to do than ride my bike? I yanked the broken saddle off of my Surly and what do I find? A cracked seatpost. Man, this might be a single week record for broken parts for me. At this point you might be saying, "Dude, go on a diet!". Well, I weigh in around 160# and don't buy the weight weenie parts, but I do admit to playing hard with my equipment. OK, now where were we? Oh yeah, so I scrounge around for another seatpost since I can't steal one from the Kelly (you've been keeping up, haven't you?). I find one that came off of Julie's bike that had some minor slipping and figure it can survive a couple of hours of riding. Jay and Billy came up my way and we knocked out two steady hours and plenty of hills doing a Watershed/Gambrill combo. Unfortunately the seatpost held it's own for all of 5 minutes and then it had the nose of the saddle aimed where it where it doesn't belong, like a Nike missile searching for a target. I adjusted the thing a couple of times during the ride but mostly just gave up and rode standing most of the time only planting my bum when it was safe or I really needed a rest. It was a bit frustrating but still a great day on the bike followed by some friends coming by our place to grill burgers and help me get started on a new keg of Loose Cannon IPA. A good way to wind down the weekend.

But the fun didn't stop yet, my MTB lady and I played hooky on Tuesday and did a little road trip up to York, PA to hit the trails at Lake Redman next to Dick Nixon park. This was her first time there and despite some tough hills in the beginning she had a great time. We hit all of the good stuff surround the two adjoining lakes and logged 18 miles. Lots of great trails out there including two tunnels you navigate to route you under Rt. 83. Big thanks to the YAMBA crew that takes care of the trails out there. They have done tons of work over the years and it really shows. I tell locals the best way to describe the terrain is like a combo of Patapsco and Loch Raven. Lots of narrow singletrack that bobs and flows plus plenty of climbs of the short steep variety with some rocks and roots thrown in for some seasoning. Riding with your girl is a great way to spend the day off of work and extend and already extended weekend.

Tunnel trail under Rt. 83

By the time we reach this point in our tale I'm got 4 back to back days of good riding under my belt but it's not about to stop. I may have to go back to work but the riding isn't over. I head out for a solo run on my usual Wednesday night jaunt and knockout a steady Watershed/Gambrill rock combo. No broken parts today but a flat tire soured my mood when it caused my to break my rhythm. Seems some recent tubes I picked up are labeled as "thin". I need to make sure I don't make that mistake again, more flats than usual and these are the things I've been using.

So today will be ride #6 in a row. It's been a good run but I think I may have to take a day off after this. The more I ride, the less I get done in the rest of my life and the Surly still needs some TLC since she is my only operation MTB at this point. And I'd really like to get that seatpost out of the 29er and it is currently not cooperating.

- riderx

 

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