Thursday, June 10, 2004

Washington Park Adventure

I went for another bike ride in Washington Park last Saturday. I was well on my way to a personal best for the route when I trashed my rear wheel and had to walk out. I called Sandra on my cell phone and she met me about a mile and a half from the park entrance.

The park guys fixed up all the roads for the big Park anniversary celebration on May 31. A few more of the nastier hills are now paved in cement to stop the erosion when it rains. They dumped fresh dirt in many places and rolled it flat. Then there was some rain and lots of cars drove on it on the 31st, so the surface is really packed hard. The bike rolls on it as if it were brown colored asphalt. It will get torn up soon enough, but right now one can actually do the park loop using a normal car. It is really fast on a bike, compared to a few weeks ago.

I was flying along in a section of very steep roller coaster type hills where you zoom downhill and try to use your momentum to help get up the next up hill. As I approached the hi-g trough at the bottom of one hill I shifted my chain right off the big cog in back into the spokes etc. The wheel locked up and I skidded through the whole bottom section and a little bit up the next side, but kept the shiny side up fortunately.

The chain ended up wedged between the hub flange and the cog carrier of the gear cassette and wouldn't come out for anything. I worked on it for about an hour before I admitted defeat and started walking out. When I got to the top of the next hill, I called Sandra on my cell phone and got the rescue going.

Now my cycling shoes are not made for walking, so I started out in my bare feet 'cause I didn't want to get holes in my socks. Then I got worried about sunburn on the tops of my feet and put the socks back on. Fortunately my feet are semi tough and although I did get some blisters they weren't too bad and didn't pop or anything.

The only lingering damage (except for a trashed derailler, and freehub and spokes) is a sore thumb from when I hit it a couple times with the big rock I was using as a hammer while trying to spin off the cassette lock ring using an Pedro's allen wrench set as a sort of punch tool. But it didn't budge. Later at home, I found that because the chain was jammed so firmly between the hub and the cassette I even had some difficulty removing the lock ring with the correct tool.

So these days I'm riding the bike to and from work with my wife's wheel and derailler on it and won't do any more real off road rides until I either get a new hub and spokes and rebuilt the wheel, or get a complete replacement wheel on eBay. It will probably be mid to late July before I get the stuff down here etc.

Good thing I also have a road bike. :-)

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