Tuesday, May 7

PMBAR '24: The Pre-Superdumble

This is one of the texts that came into my world as I was trying to do a leave work early turn-n-burn at 2:00PM on Friday.

I did not have the generation of Shimano pads Nick needed, but I did have a complete set of XT brakes I pulled off the Epic EVO a couple years ago, so I tossed them in the car with a bunch of zip ties.  Worst case scenarios and all.

The floorboard, aka the catch-all for everything I grab last minute before heading out the door.

Aside from trying to coordinate the three vehicles all heading towards Pisgah with our Charlotte crew in some efficient manner through what has turned into the worst traffic to the mountains ever, I had my camp set up and well arranged before meeting up at Ecusta Brewing for limited pre-race libations.

Back at camp just before sunset, it was time for people to take to the task of doing things that if I was doing them at 9:00PM the night before PMBAR, I'd have no hair on my head.

Dr Mike putting sealant in his tires, I assume for maximum sealant freshness in the morning.

Nick sanding rotors with 60 grit sandpaper and installing the new pads he managed to acquire from The Spoke Easy before leaving town.  Once he got it all sorted out, he pedaled around a bit to bed the pads in.  He leaned the bike against a tree, and thinking mebbe I could make sure they were thoroughly bedded in, I took it for a spin.

*grabs lever*


*grabs lever*


*grabs lever*


Not good.

Buried into the grip not good.  Not pumping up at all not good.  Something is definitely awry not good.

"Hey, Nick..."

He takes a look, grabs the lever, feels around... there's mineral oil gushing out at the lever.


But also fine because I brought a spare set of brakes... like you do to a one day event.

Grab the box off the floorboard, pull out the rear brake... and the lever is still in the box... because it's not connected to the caliper... because I pulled it all out of an internally routed bike and never thought anything of it.

I'm now one barb, one olive, one bleed cup, and a little bit of mineral oil away from having a partner with a functional bike.  It probably only takes me about two minutes of pacing and head scratching to realize I can't piece what I have into something that works.

Nick and I ran across the road to the start/finish to see if Eric "PMBAR Honcho" Wever or Greg or anyone had pieces-parts or a bike with an externally routed brake we could pinch.  No dice.  Eric suggested I reach out to an enthusiastic local or mebbe drive to his house and rummage through his basement bikes, but honestly I'd had more beer than I would drive with inside me (which is more than one).  I texted Shanna.  She's my only hope.

No buenos, but...

"Try Nico."

I've all but accepted my fate.  There will be no twentieth PMBAR for me.  This ends it... well except that I tell Eric I'm gonna take a passport in the morning and just head out pointlessly or ride with some friends or whatever.  I'm here, and so is my bike, so f___ it.  This is just how my 2024 has been going.  Afraid to be too excited about anything, because the rugs keep getting pulled out from under me.

I sigh a lot.  It halps.

We get back over to the campsite, and I crack a beer.  Then my phone rings at 10:16PM.

It's Nico.

Not only does he have a brake that would/could work on a bike at home, he's out and about and willing to swing by his house, grab it, and deliver it to our campsite.

A one-braked Waltworks single speed waiting for new brake delivery in the dark.

Nico swings by, hugs are exchanged, and a brake is mounted up and ready to go by 11:05PM.

And so I went to "bed" filled with loads of leftover anxiety, and I enjoyed several hours of fever dreams full of panic and angst.

It's gonna be a good day.


Tim said...

Kinda like the time I drove two hours to go ice climbing and left my ice tools at home. I borrowed a single, very short hammer from a total stranger in the parking lot and climbed with one tool. My bashed knuckles still haven't recovered and it has been 30 years.

NordieBoy said...

Blowtorch contaminated pads.

Anonymous said...

@NordieBoy....I've been reading this blog for 10 plus years. Good luck getting Dicky to "blow" anything.