Sunday, November 13, 2016

There's No Place Like Home

The Big Horse is off to the mechanics for a 'makeover', velo version (not extreme).  Bikes never need work ... if you never ride them.  Even though my mileage has dropped dramatically over the last couple years, things do wear and much of what needs fixed is the result of 'deferred maintenance'.

Winter in these part is hard on bikes.  No salt on the roads  but sodium chloride spray, sand and the regular road grime combine with rain water to create an effective grinding past for  all the moving parts. Chains, chain rings, cassettes rims and hubs suffer the steady wear.  On my bike the brake hoods are worn through and the bar tape is frayed.  These were new when I had the bike built, that was before PBP '07 so new is in order.  Spendy stuff but I'd say I got my money's worth. 
The shifting is balky, it requires a forceful nudge to get the next gear.  It works but you have to pay attention and that is not the way you want this business to work.   A little extra squeeze of the fingers, a bit of extra attention, what's the big deal right?  On a long ride you may shift gears hundreds of times.  On a really long ride maybe even thousands of times, (SIR rides mean hills and for me, that means shifts).  I have learned that over time little things can become big things, all the more so if it involves simple repetitive motions, like pedaling, or, ... shifting. A blister on your finger or cramps in the hands can take away from the fun and divert your attention from the business of getting to the next control or the finish.

You know, 'after' pictures are never as dramatic as 'before' pics and by themselves they really only tell half a story. 

I admit it didn't occur to me that a bike overhaul would make much of a blog post.  This says something about the scale of drama in my life.  But when I saw the 'after' bike I was immediately overcome with a big silly kid grin so pictures seemed entirely appropriate, ... the age of social media and all.  And really, you will never again see this cassette and this chain this clean

the pictures before we march off to war so to speak.

New jockey wheels
bar tape and hoods too

There were other tidbits, not very impressive visually, but it all adds to the bottom line and the improved performance.  I did spin several laps up and down the lane just to see how it shifted, and braked. like new oddly enough.

I am a little concerned that 'stuff' can instill such an inner sense of well being.  Does this mean I am a shallow person?  Or have I become one of those people who thinks of his bike as a sentient being?  I'm well on the way down that road, the machine does have a name, sort of.

Giving this some thought I have a couple justifications to offer:
  • I have been a little blue since last Tuesday night, November 8th.  Maybe this is just a bauble to distract me from the train wreck.  There will be plenty of time for recrimination and soul searching in the future (four years anyway, ... oy!)
  • This bike has been with me on many memorable occasions, some epic successes (we'll always have Paris) and some unforgettable failures.  Why not attach a degree of special meaning to its 'resurrection'? 
  • This newly refurbished bike is a sort of reverse motivation for me, hello smile of irony. 
So sure, a big smile and sense of well being is perhaps understandable.  I guess we shall see how durable this newfound optimism is when I find myself pedaling out to the Beehive for breakfast on some cold January morning. 

I have always said the equipment has never held me back.  Where others can honestly say that lighter gear or certain tires can shave time, I have always known that there are huge gains to be made for me just by working on the motor.  This shiny newish toy motivates me, and that makes me smile.

Thanks Cory

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