Snowfall, Closed Trails, and Broken Linkages

Mount Baker Ski Resort received 80 inches of snow in the past three days. The less alpine-y Snoqualmie Pass ski area has received over 50 inches of snow in the past three days. Both areas expect up to 24 more inches of snow by tomorrow evening. In a word, this is awesome. Washington mountains are almost universally reporting base snow depths between 100 and 200 inches. Like I said, it's awesome. This is the good news.

Except when you start looking forward to the upcoming mountain biking season. I was coming off a several year mountain biking hiatus last spring and benefitted from the total lack of snow in the high country. It was my first year mountain biking in Washington and I had it good. Not only did the seasonally closed trails open several weeks early, but the alpine "big mountain" rides I came to really enjoy were free of snow by the end of May.

I've been talking with some locals who've been biking here for many years and many of our favorite rides are going to be completely snowed-in until late July, possibly the end of August. This will force us to ride the local, lower elevation trails more frequently. This is the bad news.

Of course, we must also have some ugly news, right? Here at Randomly Generated, I don't like to disappoint. Ugly news is in abundance. I've been getting antsy to get back on the bike lately, but I have a couple busted spokes in my rear wheel and a horribly shifting Shimano XT rear deraileur that, despite being almost brand new has already been serviced twice to no avail. It shifts like shit.

So I took it to a different shop than the one I usually go to and within moments learned that the previous shop installed a short-cage derailer when the bike obviously (to bike mechanics) needed a long-cage derailer. Oh, it gets better. I dropped off the bike last week to have them install a new derailer, a new chain, and to build me up a new rear wheel, as only the hub was still in good shape.

I went to pick up the bike today and layed out $300 for parts and labor. But that's not where this story goes from bad to ugly. They then pointed to a very nasty crack in the linkage that supports the rear suspension on my bike. Part of it is the fault of the design in that there is an incredible amount of pressure squeezing down on a relatively thin piece of aluminum, but part of it is my fault.

The bike is, in general terms, a "cross country racing" bike. It has 3" of travel in the front and rear and is made of lightweight carbon fibre. This bike is anything but burly. And that's what I wanted when I bought it last March because never did I imagine myself riding as aggressively as I now do. I didn't expect to actually ride the types of trails that I now crave and although I love the bike, it is indeed a bit more fragile than I should probably have. And then there is the fact that, in my mind, I'm always going to be the 165 lbs that I was when I was running track in college, but the truth is I'm actually 6 foot tall and 190 pounds. Having been the scrawny kid forever chased home from school, I'm not about to think of myself as a "big guy". And being that I do indeed bottom out the suspension from time to time, and tackle some rough terrain pretty quickly, I should have probably expected this. But I didn't.

The frame, fortunately, is under a lifetime warranty by Giant. Unfortunately, the frame did not break. The linkage did, and that is most likely not covered under warranty. To make matters worse, the only nearby shop that is still a Giant dealer is the shop that I hate dealing with the most -- the ones who installed the wrong derailer and installed a used chain when I purchased a new one. So now I have to have them order me the part and explain to them why I'm having another shop install it. I hate dealing with crap like that.

But not as much as I hate having an unrideable bike.

1 comment:

Criscipline said...

Cha-Ching! $$