Readers not suffering from short-term memory lost (and now traveling the streets of their unfamiliar neighborhood with tattoos of their grocery lists ont hem looking for payback for a murder they aren’t sure even happened) will recall that in preparation for the Levi Leipheimer Gran Fondo, I cobbled together a road bike the night before, and then had it explode on the ride.
You can read that ride report here. I called it the Gran Fondo Fireball.
After locking up the rear derailleur on the way down from the biggest climb of the ride, I was left with this:
Now, SRAM was a sponsor of the ride, and the local rep actually pulled up and gave me a new used rear derailleur, so I was at least not re-buying that part. With a baby imminent, my shoppe time is next to zero, so in order to get the bike going again, I dropped it off at Performance for a derailleur tune and more importantly a safety check. Right out of the gate, I forgot my new 10-speed chain i had purchased, so I was going to be picking that up there. They noted that the derailleur hanger that I had acquired from derailleurhanger.com was not correct. My frame seller was able to work with BTI and figure out the required part, and I had that shipped from the always sweet-as universalcycles.com. So, back to the shop for a second time, to replace the wrong hanger with the right hanger (this brings the famous ‘no wirrre hangerrrrs!’ to mind)… anyway, they thought they’d be able to finish the bike that day.
Late in the day report: not going to make it, some issue needing more time the next day, a Saturday. That wasn’t promising.
Late Saturday, same call. Even less promising. Understand, when I brought it in, I hadn’t done a THOROUGH inspection due to my family situation. But it looked like there wasn’t significant frame damage, and since the only substantial damage I saw was the hanger, I was hoping they’d be able to do a quick review for safety issues (one drawback to aluminum: when it cracks, it’s over) string the rear derailleur back up, and call it a day.
Then I got a call Monday that things were ‘very bad’. Fortunately, I feared this meant the frame was a loss, but in fact, not THAT bad. But the cassette was trashed, the spokes were jacked, the rim was creased, and some other smaller issues. I was kind of disappointed, because it was not my plan, when I built the new bike, to be frankensteining it with a bunch of new parts. However, it was what it was. I did a little price-checking, then authorized them to swap out a new SRAM 10-speed cassette (this time 12-27, so i lost the range of the old one at the bottom (in other words, the old one was a custom set-up from 11 to 27, giving me a great big AND little cog, with less steps between the two) and went in on new wheels. I could have had the old rear wheel respoked, but it was a cheapie from several years ago, and not really worth the labor and materials. Plus, the bearings on the front were getting choppy. So what the hell.
Picked it up, and it was as good as new. Better than before, actually, thanks to the much, much lighter new wheelset.
I was actually kind of overwhelmed with it last night after I picked up the bike. I was frustrated. I’m no regretter, as you may know from my posts, but I was starting to think, you know, had I listened to to my wife’s bad feeling that I shouldn’t build the bike for the ride etc, that this wouldn’t have happened. I’d have taken Crook Type 3, bombed that ride on a fixie (except for walking up that 16% gradient) and had a great ride, instead of sitting in the rain waiting for SAG for hours, damaging a new frame, destroying pretty much everything that wasn’t already new… at a time when I needed to manage costs.
Then I did some course correction: I suspect I might have had a calamity anyway, at some point. My chain was one link short, based on the discrepancy between SRAM tech notes and the install guides (the difference between one link being one outer and one inner, or just one outer OR one inner, as I thought it was) so there was going to be trouble when it chained big to big, which would happen eventually, despite my efforts. There’s some question about what failed when in the damage… the cassette may have already been bent in the biggest cog, from my previous problems having strung Villain together and riding that for a year. Anyway, it was sub optimal, and when it collap, it collap BIG. At the time, I fixie skided to a stop on a descent. But had it been the crabon frame, I’d very likely have lost the rear triangle, judging by the marks all over the back of the Cinelli and the damage to the wheel. I’d have gone down AND lost the frame. So, while the escalating repairs were unexpected and unfortunate, and the fact that I felt it better to let them keep whacking at it rather than sit on it in the shop for a few months and then start messing with it later, at least it was throughly vetted. And now it’s very rideable. In fact, better than ever.
But it was just hard in that way it’s always hard when you can point to a decision and think, had I not done that, I wouldn’t be in this mess. Even if that isn’t really true. With my first Look theft, and even with Lung’s lock-the wheel-without-the rear-triangle thing, sure they were errors but we had false expectations of security in each case. No sense in regretting that. Each led to newer, bigger, better builds.
So, in the end, this calamity COULD have ended in serious injury and worse damage, instead of ending in a sweet, sweet bike.
PS Zoe tried to pick out yet another wrongrobot-approved ride for herself. I said ‘now you have 3 bikes already. Only Daddy needs a stable of 8 bikes. It’s excessive.’ to which she broke into a toddler wail. Pretty funny, being commentary both on her bike denial AND on my excessive rides.