Mayday, Mayday! Bike Karma Strikes Back

I sold my full-suspension Giant NRS C2 the other day. I didn't enjoy riding it anymore -- didn't even feel safe on the 26" wheels anymore after spending a year on the bigger hoops -- and wanted to help offset the cost of the bike we bought Kristin two weeks ago. Of course, our good pal Murphy and his stupid laws ensured that the front fork started leaking fluid during the buyer's test ride. D'oh! He also noticed that the "small amount of cable rub" on the frame was all but completely through the carbon fibre. Double d'oh! Had to come down off my $750 asking price a little bit, but I'm happy to be gone with it.

Of course, getting rid of one bike automatically ensures problems on another. Murphy you rat-bastard!

I woke up really looking forward to getting in a nice long road ride, but as the day wore on I started feeling like maybe I should just ease back into riding more slowly and rest for the weekend. But no, that's the fear talking! The fear of getting sick again.

And fear does not exist in this dojo!

Umm, yes sensei?

Moving right along...

It was almost 4pm and I decided enough was enough, I'd go for a ride. I had planned to do my normal 45-mile Carnation loop and add onto it with a trip up Issaquah-Fall City Road and maybe even do a second pass over Tolt Hill Road for kicks.

This is probably a good time to mention that I forgot my cell phone in my office. I noticed I had forgotten it about a 1/4 mile from my house but decided it wasn't worth going back for.

Strike 1: I get a flat about 8 miles into the ride. My first flat on the road bike in two years. I plucked the little piece of metal shrapnel out of the tire, replace the tube, and keep on going. I have a nice spin up the hilly Issy-Fall City Road and zip along down Duthie Hill before returning to the farming lanes near the river.

Strike 2: As I'm preparing to turn onto Tolt Hill Road, construction workers tell me the bridge over the Snoqualmie River won't be reopened until 7pm. That means if I do my normal route, I'll either A) Be forced to sit for an hour and wait for the bridge to open, B) make a jailbreak-style sprint across the bridge and hope construction workers don't clothesline me into the drink, or C) turn around and retrace my route. A fourth option, riding on the 3-inch shoulder of Route 203 is not really viable.

I decide to continue the route as normal, up and over Tolt Hill Road, over Ames Lake Road, and back around to the other side of the bridge in Carnation. If I get there early, I'll just turn around and retrace my route and maybe even push the ride to 65 or 70 miles. Bonus miles! "It'll be fine, I'll stop at the Shell station to buy some drinks or snacks if I need more food," I thought to myself.

Strike 3: I get to Carnation's lone gas station and turn the bike into the driveway. There was a bit of a lip, I was going about 20mph, and somehow I hit the bump on just the right (i.e. wrong) angle and completely bent my rear wheel. I opened the brakes all the way, tried repositioning the brakes, tried adjusting the wheel in the drop-outs, but nothing worked. The wheel won't spin more than 1/4 revolution without coming to a halt. By car, I'm about 16 miles from home. With the bridge out and there being no shoulder on Route 203, I'm a good 25 miles or so from home.

No problem, Kristin should be on her way home from school, I'll just call her.

Oh, right, I didn't bring a cell phone today.

Fortunately, the clerk inside the Shell station's convenience store leant me his personal cell phone and I got in touch with Kristin just as she was approaching the Preston/Fall City exit -- the very one she'd need to take. She's absolutely awful with directions -- I mean breathtakingly bad at navigating -- but for the first time ever, she got it on the first try and rolled into the Shell station just 20 minutes later. I was starting to get a little cold, but a bag of Doritos and two Reese's Fast Break candy bars made the wait a bit more enjoyable than you might expect.

Nonetheless, I can't help but think my bikes are mad at me for selling the Giant. I've never had a problem with a road bike before -- not even when I went over the handlebars at 30+ mph so many years ago -- but to bend a wheel into inoperable shape by going up a gas station driveway? Absurd! Yeah, I know it's no more absurd than thinking my bikes are ganging up on me, but I'm nervous. What if the Moots or the single-speed are plotting similar, er, plots?

I have an all-day ride planned tomorrow with the Director of Washington State Parks and the parks' Commissioners. Naturally, I'll be riding the Moots. But what if it decides to suffer a sudden twilight-zone implosion too? Not only will it really throw a damper on the ride, but we'll be hours from home. What if it decides to do so in one of the old railroad tunnels we'll be riding through? I don't know what's worse: the thought of crashing into the wall of soot-stained railroad tunnel or having to try and give Kristin directions to a bike trail hours from home.

Perhaps it's time to buy my baby a Garmin?


Anonymous said...

They are probably worried they will be sold next.

Criscipline said...

Although you had a bad day, this post was quite enjoyable to read and it made me laugh.