The plan for this weekend was to find some nooks and crannies in my schedule to shake down and test out some of the gear details at Antoine, which I see as a fine proving ground for the Quilomene trip. And also, to acquire a bit of fitness, of which I acknowledge I am seriously lacking.
I did manage to get the ass-end gear strategy implemented, at least for this trip.
|Tent on top, sleeping bag underneath. Both in super lightweight dry bags. Hell ya.|
|Sleeping pad on the left, funky lightweight camp chair on the right. Hell ya.|
But as I was climbing, climbing, climbing Antoine, as one is wont to do, the shit kind of hit the fan: I was on this steeper-than-average incline and so I was standing. And then the pedals stopped turning. Like, as in, some sort of serious chain suck type of event. Except that it wasn't. It was similar, but it was a small chainring buckling type of event, as I have now begun to refer to it.
|This picture's not the best, I know. But I think you can at least ascertain that something's not exactly right.|
There was no more pedalling that was going to be happening on this ride, with this bike, on this day. Fortunately, karmically, I had been pedalling uphill, and all I had to do was generally coast downhill, back to the parking lot and truck. Where I piled my quite messed up steed into the cargo hold.
Back home, I pulled the crank arm and got a glimpse of how bad things really were. Let me say it for you: "Holy living hell."
I would like to tell you that it was the massive power in my legs that destoyed this chanring and that I wouldn't wish the curse of massive leg power on you, let alone my worst enemy, but in good conscience I cannot. Because the picture does not lie. Here's the deal, nerds: The 3:00 bolt was "snug". The 6:00 bolt was visibly loose and backed off. The 9:00 bolt was gone. So there was very little resistance to the massive force generated by my legs (sorry, I cannot lie), and as a result, the system failed. The 12:00 bolt, which I suspect was already loose, got pulled sideways out of the crank arm and left this aftermath . . .
So in conclusion, the little chainring and the crank arm are toast. I also need four of those funky machine screw dealies, because one is lost and one I don't feel good about and the other two I just want to replace, on principle. I got everything pulled apart at about 6:30 and there's exactly one bike shop in town that I know of that is open at that time on Saturday and that is REI and so I bee-lined down there, hoping against hope. Which one should not do. Because they didn't have what I needed. Nothing against them.
Here's where the story gets kind of interesting, though . . .
Knowing that I would not have the time to go through my bike, mechanically, in preparation for this trip, I dropped it off at my LBS and told them what I knew was wrong with it and asked them to look it over from top to bottom and get it ship shape. One of the things they found was that the large chainring had a chipped tooth, and I asked them to replace it. Which they did. In the course of which, they would have pulled the crank arm and possibly noticed anything weird about how the small chainring was fastened. I guess I would have expected them to. They would not have technically had to pull the small chainring off or have otherwise messed with it to replace the big chainring, to be clear.
BUT. I rode this bike across the state and for hundreds of other miles and there were no chainring problems. And then I take it in. And when I get it back, within just a few short rides, I have this crazy failure.
I get that I'm responsible for my bike. I guess. On the other hand, if I trust a shop that assures me that they are qualified to look over my bike and charge me a considerable amount of money to do so, then I expect them to find and fix problems. The whole thing just smells kinda funny to me, but I'll let you be the judge of whether I'm out of line here.
In other business, then.
I've always thought the idea of protecing your stay with an inner tube is quite rad, aesthtically, if not functionally and frugalitically (if that is actually a word). All things in due time, of course, and as I was envying [Quilomene partner] Joe's same-style stay protector this week, I decided it was due time.
I've unabashedly stolen this concept of securing my dual $25 superflash tail lights against the bounciness of the trail from Mr. Speare. One zip tie is all it takes. Pow. Thank you, Mr. Speare.