The Hidden Damage

So, all of a sudden, with one day to go before returning to racing (Norwell Circuit Race), right at the start of a 40-mile easy group ride, my front derailleur doesn't respond to my repeated flicks/click of the lever or even to tugging directly on the exposed part of the cable as it runs along the side of the bike's down-tube.

Hrm, I think to myself, this sucks.

Somehow or other, I managed to get the thing working again and get through the ride today with minimal shifting between chainrings.

Upon returning home, I take another look at my setup and remember that although my bike came out of last month's crash almost completely unscathed, the one obvious thing that happened was that the newly-installed FD cable housing that runs from the shifter to the barrel adjuster on the down-tube got a wee bit kinked. Well, it turns out a lot more happened to it than that.

Reluctant to do anything major to my drivetrain the day before a race but anxious about having a mechanical that would take me out of the running, I loosened up the cable locking nut and tried to thread the cable back through the housing. It took some effort to pull the housing away from the shifter and once I had it completely off, it was plainly evident what the problem was:


My guess is that as the bike and I tumbled over, the housing smacked the ground and drove the end right through the little plastic cap. The frayed end of the housing did no damage to the cable itself but was pressing on the side of the shifter, impairing it's proper functioning. it's a wonder that it worked for the last six weeks at all.

I had an extra set of cables and housings on hand, made the swap, adjusted the FD and the RD and things were ship-shape again.

Only thing left to do before tomorrow is get a good night's rest...


Sunday Random Bike Pic

2010 CRW Climb to the Clouds

MRC mate, Tony W, and I set out at 7:20 from CCHS and ambled our way towards Wawa, with the goal of maintaining 20-ish mph on the flats. We'd latch on to groups of various sizes along the way and move on – there was the usual mish-mash of folks who could hold a line and wobbly "freds" on fancy Cervelo's, Treks, etc.. It was hot, but dry, so we were never miserable due to the heat, but it was easy to forget to hydrate as I barely worked up a sweat the whole way.
I was loving the 12-27 cassette I picked up this week: that 27 tooth cog helped me spin up every ramp without a hitch. Mile Hill Road was still a load of work, but I never felt like I was going to plotz as I worked my way up.
At the visitor's center, we watered up, etc. and just as I was going to suggest to Tony that we go, Bruce, Jeff L and Brian (also of the MRC) roll up, providing a good excuse to extend the stop. It seemed like Bruce knew every other person there – he'd turn around and there'd be someone else he'd say "Hello" to.
Soon, we were underway again (Brian a little bit before we did, with the expectation we'd pass him later on).
The next leg is my favorite part of the ride with long, curving descents and high speeds winding back down the mountain, into Princeton and to the first official CRW rest stop. It was great doing the next 25 miles or so with a squad of friends. Before I knew it, we were at Berlin Orchards, the location of the 2nd rest stop.
Bruce and Jeff watered up quick and got going right away to finish up their metric. I was starting to get those "warning cramps" in my quads and hamstrings, so between glugs of water and chomps of pbj, I did a little stretching in the hopes that I'd get 25 more miles out of my legs before anything dramatic happened.
Tony and I got going again and made our way back into Harvard, up the last big climb of the day and into more familiar territory. Down Stow Road then left on Old Harvard. During this stretch, we reeled in a fairly large group of 12-15 guys who were keeping a pretty decent pace of 22-24 mph. In fact, it was just ONE cyclist setting the pace with everyone else benefitting from his effort. We must have logged 10 or so miles with him at the front almost the whole time.
When we finally crossed into West Concord and were less than 7 miles from the end, I got up out of the saddle to close a small gap that opened up with the guy in front of me. In that instant BOTH hamstrings cramped up solid - GAH! I got off the road and managed to dismount without aggravating the crampage as our ticket home faded away. Bleh.
A couple of minutes stretching and I was back on the bike with Tony providing a very welcome "tow" back to CCHS. For the 100 miles, I logged the bike time as 5 hours, 21 minutes with 5,810 ft of climb.
Song stuck in head: Friday I'm in Love - The Cure


Climb to the Clouds this Sunday

Had my training scheduled "just so" as this Sunday's CRW Climb to the Clouds Century loomed ahead. The plan was to ride hard Wednesday with the MRC as usual, spin for 90 minutes Thursday, do the MRC FMR (Friday Morning Ride - short but intense hill intervals) and "rest" on Saturday as I do 10 hours shilling tripods at a trade show.
So much for that plan. I picked up a gig today that kept me away from the bike and my wife's PT appointment Friday morning means I'm driving our daughter to camp then part two of today's gig starts soon after and continues into the afternoon.
I did manage to snag a 12-27 cassette, new chainrings and chain (all Ultegra) and a new tire at Landry's today, I'm hoping that 27-tooth cog helps some on Mile Hill Road.
So, the new plan is to get home quick after the shoot and do a 2 hour moderately paced ride before the sun goes down. When I get back from the trade show on Saturday, I'll do all the prep for Sunday morning: load my bike, gear and food in the car, mix up bug juice (and have extra powder dosed into baggies), lay out my kit, have a decent dinner and get to bed early.


The First Week Back

Well, it's the end of the first week back on the bike since the crash and I must say, I'm pleased. I've logged five rides of distances up to 63 miles totaling over 210 miles.
Did a decent job on the Wednesday night ride, though I faded pretty hard the last couple of miles. Managed a respectable sprint at the end of this week's Friday Morning Ride. Had a fantastic (and fast) ride out to Wachusett Mtn. (no summit) and back with former MRC member and current Spinx Team rider, Tom Ball and tri-guy Bob Crane. I topped all that off with a one hour run (longest ever for me) this morning with fellow MRC guys, Steve K and Jim L.
A little shoulder pain here and there but so far, my body is repairing itself admirably. My bike, on the other hand, needs serious attention: it's making all kinds of new sounds "down there". Tomorrow will be an easy ride and much time in the driveway doing a good tear-down/clean/lube/adjust.