My rear brake had been feeling squishy. Going all the way to the bar before any real action. I did the sensible thing and bought the Hayes "Pro" brake bleed kit. I hate to say nice things about Avid as I had nothing but troubles with my Juicy 5s (BB7s have always been and still are awesome), but compared to Avid's bleed procedure there is nothing "Pro" about the Hayes method. I finally resorted to modifying my Avid bleed kit to use on the Stroker Grams.
In the stand, the bleed was a rip roaring success. Lever was nice and firm, contacting the rotor 15-20 mm from the bar.
Go for a shake down ride (the day before the race), everything is feeling fine, then nothing. Lever goes to the bar. If I pump it eventually I get brakes, but this is no good.
Come home, pull the pads and squeeze to lever a couple of times. The outer piston is moving, but the inner is frozen. Give them a squirt of screw loose, couple more squeezes, outer piston comes shooting out of the caliper.
But wait! Sitting on the bench, eager to serve is my sweet Mary Jane.
A hushed "put me in coach" echos through the basement.
I could steal her brakes and put them on BluSteel, which seems like quite a lot of work on a Friday evening, or I could choose the path of least resistance, and steal BluSteel's wheels.
Saturday, race day, arrives. Have a lovely morning with the family, and head up to Amherst.
Somewhere along the way the boys and girls at UMass neglected to say there is no sign for N. Pleasant St. on rt9. I end up driving to Pelham before I become suspicious.
At this point I'm getting tense. I have a little talk with myself:
this is supposed to be fun and just take it as it comes.
Easy for you to say I reply.
I get a 2:29 warm up.
I lined up at the back with another singlespeeder, Mark, figuring we'd be sent off in waves but that is not the case. They give the Pros a minute or 2 head start, then all the Cat1 men, women and children will go off together.
Whatever...supposed to be fun.
Jill sounds some anemic little air horn and we're off up the first climb.
I'm doing a reverse holeshot.
supposed to be fun, enjoy riding your bike.
Riding unfamiliar trails on a bike I haven't ridden in the woods in 8 months...excuse me, racing unfamiliar trails on a bike I haven't ridden in 8 months.
Things are tight and twisty, and Mary Jane is twitchy.
As I make my way through traffic, passing in a corner, I burp my front tire. I continue to ride, but it is really low, like Winter riding in snow low. Can I nurse it for seven laps?
Better not try.
Pull over, yank off my gloves, grab my inflator, fumble with my valve (the whole core is turning!) press the inflator on, give it a twist...why won't it twist all the way?
Because in your anal-retentiveness you taped it on to the CO2 cartridge to prevent it from unscrewing and falling off.
Take the tape off, inflate the tire rock hard minus a tinch and I'm off in dead F'ing last.
(or so I thought, Alby broke his chain, fixed it with no tools and would charge passed me in a couple of laps).
supposed to be fun, enjoy riding your bike.
Slowly I'm reeling people back in.
The first lap was just a blur.
But that's okay, because I have 6 more to go.
On the backside of the course there is a climb. A switchbacky brute of a climb. lap 2 I felt very weak on this Mutha. I make a deal with myself, if I ride it 6 times I can walk it the seventh.
Slowly catch more riders. As the course winds back upon itself, I'm crossing Craig's path in approximately the same spot. So either I'm riding pretty consistent laps or both Craig and I are fading at the same rate.
As I work my way up through the ranks, making passes stick is getting harder. Sure I can get them on the climbs, but this course is up /down /up /down, so I need to really make it stick on the ups, or we're just yoyoing about.
At about the 1 hour mark, I consciously make an effort to finish my first bottle and tell myself to not be shy with the second.
Sixth lap, I get to the Mutha, I clean it. My contract is fulfilled, I can walk it next time as need be.
I'm beginning to lap people (most of the Pro field have lapped me); I feel really bad for them as they still have to do one more as people are BSing around the finish line.
Last lap. One more time up the Mutha and it comes up on you quick. I feel like I'm going to fall over, getting light-headed...but I ride it. As far as I'm concerned the rest of the lap is just gravy.
Cross the line...in first.
Now in the interest of full disclosure and transparency, there were only 3 guys on singlespeeds (third guy was on a Spooky with tubulars). This surprised me, because some very fast guys from MA have been tearing up the Root 66 series. But a win is a win.
I won a juvenile sized tire, that Neal from Central Wheel, who won an envelope full of cash for finishing 3rd in the Pro class, is going to try the ol' Yankee Swap for an adult sized tire.
A couple of notes:
- How come there are so many homeless people in Amherst MA? Every shopping plaza had someone with a cardboard sign.
- On the ride home I was fantasizing about what sugary delight I was going to treat myself to when I got home. In the end what I really wanted was oatmeal.
- Wholefoods' oatmeal is way better than Stop & Shop's
- Counting to 7 is hard
- Amherst must be a great place to live, because the traffic sucked
- I was going to run a 33x19, but because of the bike switch, it was a 32x19...thank God!
- Umass said 22.4 miles, Garmin says 13.7. I don't think either of those numbers are correct.
Not Doomed, but Damned; these geezer still rock wicked hawd!