Monday, March 5, 2012

Thank Goodness That's Over

A couple of weeks ago, Robb and I began planning a camping trip with a couple of friends of his who would be swinging through the area on their honeymoon. As the weekend approached, the forecast was not promising. The Thursday before was nearly shorts weather, but on Friday cold weather hit and there was a tornado warning. The SylvanSport Go we had borrowed sat in the driveway and the honeymooners, Tim and Lauren, took shelter in our guest room for the night. We also heard that earlier that day, some mountain bikers were threatened by some (possibly armed) equestrians. Well, the weekend was off to a great start!

After a nice breakfast at home, we hit the road in a little caravan and made it maybe 20 minutes from home when we realized that Robb's Forester had a flat. Oooooh dear. After some calling around, we limped into a tire center on the spare (still towing the Go), and Robb wound up buying four new tires. Apparently if you put one new tire on and leave the other three half-worn tires on, it messes with the Subaru's all wheel drive system. So, fun!

Four new tires and about an hour later, we were back on the road again. Things were looking up a bit- we had made it, it was still fairly early in the day, and against all forecasted weather, the sun was shining. We all joked that nearly everything that could have gone wrong did, and next up was a bike mechanical and then an injury....

We headed out from Davidson River to do Clawhammer > Black Mountain > Bennet > Buckwheat. Toward the top of Clawhammer, there it was. A stick. I tried to get around it, but I saw the danger too late and it clawed its was up into my derailleur. It sent the derailleur into my spokes, but we managed to coax it back out. I spent the rest of the ride in my easiest gears, and was sure not to shift the der. back into the spokes. When I was in the lower gears, it kept wanting to dump more gears unbidden.

This is an unfortunately common photo type on my flickr:

Derailleur Problems on Clawhammer

When we got back to camp, Robb had a look at it and managed to get it mostly-working again. The whole thing has a sickly tilt and the limit screws are shot, but I have the use of 8 of 9 gears. I'm afraid to take it into the shop because I suspect it may not be a case of getting a few replacement parts for it. If it needs to be replaced, I'm looking at over $100. If you'll notice, that's US dollars (which I am short on) and not 'charm' (which I am swimming in, thank God) so it might have to limp along for a while.

I'd hate that, frankly. When my bike isn't in tip-top shape, I feel like I have to take it easy on it, and it's A) hard to enjoy a ride, as I found out the next day, and B) hard to ride to my full middle-of-the-road potential. So here's hoping that it's just a small part that needs replacing, and not the whole dad-gummed thing.

But anyway, let's have some photos.

Here are Lauren and Tim in front of their Aliner, a charming and unusual pop-up.

Tim and Lauren and the Aliner

Lauren on the loooo-o-o-oooong climb of Clawhammer.

Lauren on Clawhammer

Starting up Black Mountain, hiking up the steps.

Starting Black Mountain

Tim and Robb on a ridge, possibly Black Mountain or maybe Bennet.


On the overlook on Bennet, raising my hand to get the flies to go to the highest point of my sickly sweet scent, instead of buzzing around my face. Robb says this is for real, and indeed you can spot flies in the photo, but I still think it may be a practical joke.

Overlook on Bennet

Overlook on Bennet

Lauren and I picked our way down this descent. It was pretty gnarly, and a pretty long section of gnar in my book.

Bennet or Buckwheat?

In all, it was a decent weekend. We did a short ride on Northslope on Sunday morning, then I went back to camp to relax while the others went on another short ride. It was cold and I was in low spirits. On the way home, though, I couldn't help but be grateful that the forces at work stopped short at bodily injuring us to stop us from riding. Tornados, angry horsemen, flat tires and nearly-ruined derailleurs? Seems like a pretty low price to pay for some cold weather camping.

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