Monday, August 15

Things Fall Aparter

I got my ride in on Saturday, pretty much the very ride I was looking for.  Black Mountain, Buckwheat Knob, Bennett Gap, Sycamore Cove, Pisgah Tavern... not in that particular order with lots of climbing in between.  Mileage somewhere in the ouchy zone without going into the "this is going to ruin tomorrow" sad place.

Something interesting.  There ended up being more bikes and people there than I was expecting.  Nothing bad, but I noted something worthy of notable notableness.

Aside:  On the way there, I learned something about Nick "Dip n Spray" Barlow that made me uncomfortable yet extremely proud at the same time.

Of the eight people there, only one or two didn't show up with a preexisting or about to happen issue.

Shoe related malfunction, bent and could/should be replaced brake lever, brake lever way out of adjustment, a rear thru-axle that decided to stop doing its job, clogged valve cores, and a sticky rear brake that needed bled (me).

Mountain biking is hard on equipment.  It's so easy to take it for granted that it's just going to work properly when we grab the bike after a week of it sitting in the corner.  Mud, dust, water, vibrations, cycles, one too many rides on a set of pads...

I'm as guilty as anyone.  As I stood in the parking lot of The Hub talking to Sam, he noticed I was fiddling with my rear lever.  It wasn't snapping back to its happy place.

"Meh.  I just worked on the front one two weeks ago.  The back one was fine.  I guess it's seen as many big rainy days and lake-dunk cleansings as the front."

Not so much a lesson learned for me (I'll never learn), but it just goes to show you that either you learn how to work on your own bikes AND keep up with it, or you find a good mechanic, treat him/her right, and let him/her work on your bike when it needs it.  Don't just ignore your issues and hope they get better.  They don't.

I mentally dealt with my brake issue all day, on top of a few (sorta planned) nutrition and hydration issues.  Not so much planned, but I knew wasn't going to have enough water and food to get through the day in the best possible manner, but it wasn't going to kill me, so fuck it.

I mighta felt like a hobbled and crampy pile of pooh later that day tho.

On Sunday, pull out the pads (which needed replacing... surprise), do the cup/air bubble thing, clean the pistons, remove valve cores for good measure (while I'm already piddling with stuff) and clean them up.

Here's my opinion on sealants. Either you pick a sealant that has very little particulate matter and seems to be all dried up every time you check it (meaning you don't have any sealant to do any actual sealing) or you pick one that has plenty of suspended solids and stays liquid long enough to be useful (but will occasionally need to be cleared from the valve cores).  I'm flat-free (aside from a giant sidewall tear) with TruckerCo Cream for a year and a half now, so I'll deal with a little maintenance if that means I'm not fixing a flat in the woods or standing next to a race course watching the world go by.

And of note, that core was using a test/proto sealant and doesn't reflect normal use.  But, it's the photo I have, so there's that.  Air not going in/coming out of your valve with enthusiasm?  Check you self lest ye wreck you self.

Oh yeah, also of notable notieness.  When you check your air pressure/add air/let some out, do it with the valve stem at 12 o'clock.  You'll be less likely to draw sealant into the core to begin with. Do I always do this? No.  Should I?  Yeth.  When do I remember?  When releasing some pressure with the valve closer to 6 o'clock and sealant comes out.  That's when.

I guess my main point is that if you ignore your mountain bike and don't keep up on maintenance, things are going to squeak, function poorly, break, and generally suck.  Sucky bikes make for sucky rides.

Learn things for yourself (and actually do the work) or visit your local bike shop often.  Life is too short for sucky rides.

Speaking of maintenance, remember when I said that as long as I know I might get to ride Black Mountain again at some point in my life, that's a life worth living?

Well, I was told this weekend that they are marking the corridor for the reroute RIGHT NOW from Turkey Pen down to lower Thrift Cove.  So how about that?  At least people will have something to bitch about for awhile, so that will make things interesting in the interim.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I hate cleaning bikes... I remember years back when I raced La Ruta, its extremely damaging to bikes (the mud, the sht they use to clean the bikes, etc...). I didn't replace the bearings, always replace the bearings after La Ruta... did a hundred miler thinking the bike would be good to go, wrong... the rear wheel seized up just 10k into the race. Went back, luckily Chris gave me his rear wheel... thanks again for that!
finished 30th place.

Now a days, I ride a used 150 dollar Cannodale HT. I don't ever clean it. That's going to bite me hard one of these fine days.