AXC - The bike

AXC - The bike

Friday, May 16, 2014

Well, thar's yer problem!

Monday, May 12, tour day 9. 

God, I hate mondays. 

The above statement is actually not true at all. For one thing, I actually look forward to Mondays in the summer because it's the Monday Night group ride with the Bike Club of Philly. I get to ride, get a great workout, and see a whole bunch of friends. Its great. 
Besides that, the whole idea of 'living for the weekend' bugs me. People who are constantly looking forward to Friday are just glazing over 60% of their life. Trudging to work, putting in the hours, and waiting for the weekend. 
Life is what you make of it. If you hate Mondays, then find something on Monday to look forward to. Live every day, not just Fri, Sat, Sun. 

But I digress, this is about my Monday, not the rest of America's. And it did kinda suck. 

The day started off pretty normal (for us cross-country bikers), wake up, pack up our stuff, eat breakfast, and get on the road. (BTW, I was responsible for breakfast, since I was the cook the night before, and I totally nailed it! We had glazed donuts, and yogurt with fresh strawberries and granola. Plus fresh watermelon and the staples of cereal and oatmeal. I rock. That is all.)

The ride on Monday was nothing too big. I think it was 50 or 55 miles over gently rolling hills.

The weather was particularly hot in central Virginia on Monday, and I was really dragging. I thought it was the heat, and was disappointed that I was feeling so weak as a result. Then, around mile 35 or so I realized that my seat was about a centimeter low! I had adjusted it the night before but not tightened it back in tight enough, and it had been slowly sinking all day! To those who ride regularly, you know that if your seat is even just a tiny bit low, it can throw off everything! My power transfer was poor, the seat hurt, my shoulders hurt, all around it was just 'off.' 

Somewhere around mile 40, I was looking for a spot to stop and fix my seat, and as I was going up a hill I went to shift my front derailleur (the bike's transmission) and the derailleur cable broke! Just POP! and suddenly I couldn't shift the front gears anymore! When the cable breaks, the spring in the shifter pulls in to the lowest gear, so I was stuck in the 'granny gear'!  I still had 10 gears on the back that I could run through, but ultimately it's like being stuck in first and second gear of a car!

However, as "luck" would have it, a lot of the remaining 15 miles was uphill, or at least on a gentle upwards grade, so I was in gears that I would probably be using anyway. I might have gone a little faster if I could, but... well I couldn't. 

I was able to stop and fix my seat, though, and the improvement was immediately noticeable. 

Then we stopped at a gas station for gatorade (or V8, which has been a hit with the group for its electrolyte content, although I haven't tried it yet.) And at this stop, my bike fell over and hit the rear derailleur in the fall, knocking it out of whack!  It was a double whammy!

And lastly, my back tire has been slowly leaking air daily and I had to stop and pump it back up at one point. Frankly, the bike was not doing so well!!

Much to my surprise and delight, I did make it back to camp ok and with relatively little trouble, despite my shifting issues. 

Once there, another rider in our group had a spare shifter cable. And the process of replacing the cable was fairly easy. I got it about 90% fixed, but needed help with the last little bit. (Next time I'll know, and probably even be able to fix it on road, no problem!)

We messed around with the rear derailleur a bit, trying to 'dial it in' (make it shift smoother) but didn't have any luck. With a little fiddling, it worked well enough, so I would just make due until I could get to a bike shop and have someone really look at it. 

In all, the day was fine, but fraught with a variety of mechanical issues and a little bit of heat, but still... a bad day on the bike is better than a good day in the office! 

Oh, tacking one little story here on the end...
Earlier in the day I got a phone call. Since nobody ever calls me, this was a surprise (also, service was spotty and I didn't even realize the phone wasn't in airplane mode.) It was a Philly number I didn't recognize, but I answered it anyway. 
It was a headhunter/job recruiter. He told me about this great opportunity he has that I'd be a great fit for! And after he talked at me for about a minute, he finally asks "is this a good time to talk?" To which I replied; "I am, at this very moment, sitting on my bike as I ride all the way across the country. So, to answer your question, yes I have time to talk, but I don't think you're going to want to wait for me to take this job."

To his credit, he barely even flinched, and quickly proceeded to ask me if I'll be looking for work when I'm done, when that'll be, and if I'm willing to work with him. I just said that I'm not worrying about that right now, and wished him good luck in filling the job he called about. He wished me luck on the ride, and that was the end of the call. 
It was kinda fun to do a 'blow off' like that, for shock value, and I wonder if that's the best line he's gotten from anyone he's cold-called. 

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