I knew there was a crack in the rim but it didn't look that bad. It was so small, it was hard to determine that it actually was a crack, it appeared to be a dirt filled groove in a well worn rim. But it was, and I knew it. "A couple of more rides", I said after discovering it, as I waited for the new rim to arrive. Just the Wednesday night ride and some rally action on Saturday, that's all I need to squeak out of it. Throttle back my speed a bit so I'm not pummeling rocks and all should be good.
Bzzzzt. Wrong. Midway through the Wednesday ride the "thump, thump, thumb" of the rubbing brake pad gets considerably worse. I finally have a look. Not good, the rim wall is separating, but there's no easy way out of the trail. Open up the V-brakes, rear only now as we get to the nastiest descents of the ride: steep, twisty, loose turns, rocks and log obstacles everywhere. Everything you that makes you appreciate your front brake. I manage to make it through unscathed, then cut things short before the wheel blows up in ribbons of aluminum because walking plain sucks.
So, the wheel build queue is now three deep. Time to play bike shop.
Fix it //
Monday - June 14, 2004
I met Scott of Level Components at this year's ECSSNACU. He was sporting a left-hand side drivetrain - actually a dual drivetrain - that caught my eye. Got talking to him and found out he makes fixed gear hubs that are a little bit different.
Ever strip a fixed gear hub? I have, at the most inopportune time when I was back-pedaling to stop at an intersection. A little unsettling to say the least. Scott saw a few of these failures come through the shop he was working at and came up with a new idea. A cog and hub designed to interface together, cutouts on the cog mating with a machined area of the hub and held on by three torx bolts. No threading the cog on, all of the forces are transmitted to what he calls the "knuckles" of the hub. You can check more details on his site or wait until I put out a test report down the road.
Here comes the rain //
Monday - June 14, 2004
Every time it feels like we are going to get a break weather-wise, Ma Nature turns around and puts all hope of dry trails to rest. Leading up to last week's IMBA summit, the weather forecast was for nice temps and sunny skies. It all changed Friday as the forecast spun 180 degrees and unleashed an entire day of rain on us Saturday. Rides were cancelled (a few out-of-towners hit the asphault in the monsoon) which made for a somewhat gloomy mood.
Luckily the weather broke on Sunday and we loaded the buses for the rocks of Frederick, MD where water has virtually no effect on the trails. Well, except for making the rocks slicker than grease. I reminded myself of this first hand by face planting less than a half mile into leading one of the group rides. Amped up to be back on my bike, encouraged by what looked to be dry rocks (yeah right), and stoked to be out showing our goods to a group of strangers I proceeded to bomb down the rocks and over the bars. Kissed a rock (literally) when I went down. A bruised shoulder, a few scrapes and a slightly damaged ego are all the injuries sustained and the rest of the ride is sweet, sweet, sweet.
Fast forward to our Wednesday ride this week, a full 4 days of drying time for the Avalon trails and we still run into some unexpected mud holes. More rain and the next thing you know, the weekend trail riding is blown out. On to the road, I did sneak a little woods action in on the Saturday ride, connecting my loop up with a nice fireroad (shown above) that snakes through Patapsco state park. Just enough of a taste of nature to really make me want to avoid the exhaust and be in the woods fulltime, but a taste will have to do. Sunday's ride doen't even offer this respite. At least the roads are dry.