All day I’d been looking forward to riding home in the snow. The morning started promisingly, with buzz around the office about ‘Death Storm 2008’ and mayhem etc and of course the very dark skies and heavy rain. But then in early afternoon it almost got sunny, sheesh. So the ride home was merely freezing for the first half. The second is when the precip began, not the frozen variety, but the pre-frozen huge pregnant plopping drip kind. Very cold. I did learn something on this ride, however, and that is cold is a mighty motivator: I took off close to 10 minutes off my usual time, downpour and all, and even set a record (I really need to put a cyclocomp on my bike to get this stuff straight and official, just having too much fun riding to remember to do it). Another lesson experienced was the point where I realized, in real time, the difference between water repellant and water resistant is not mere marketing. Again, very cold rain.
When I pulled up to my house I met some neighbors walking their dog (and good on them for doing so in such rain). They stopped and asked how far I’d come. I started to say downtown, but then realized I’m now standing in Snohomish County after all and so downtown might not mean as much and instead I said Seattle. They said good on you, which felt great!
On a tech note I moved the NiteRider light to my other helmet, a Rudy Project, and it’s much much better. The Bell would keep sliding down, to the point where I would have to take off the glasses. The Rudy helmet has a very high visor line to it, and that helps, as well as a much better tightening system. The interior mesh screen also is a huge help in keeping the helmet in place. Other than the obvious difference in added weight, I now have zero reservations about the helmet-light, and the benefits far outweigh the weigh.
My Long Haul Trucker has developed the oddest tic over the last month or two. The rear derailleur gets to a point where the gears shift suddenly. In certain gears, the derailleur erratically skips around. In others, there’s a constant burring sound of indecision. Higher gears (smaller cogs) seem to work okay. I’ve adjusted things many times, and have even taken it to a shop and had them do it. In all cases things are okay for a few days and then the problem comes back. Now it’s at a frequency of every other ride; for instance last Sunday it worked fine after I adjusted things, then last night (I had to skip all this week) the problem came back. Oddly, when I reached down to the barrel adjuster to minutely change that to see if I could change the tension enough to get home I noticed the adjuster was all the way tight… whereas just a few days ago I had ‘zeroed’ it out nicely, while also taking up a little slack on the cable down at the derailleur. I know the bike is fairly new and cables stretch but this seems odd, a stretch that tightens rather than loosens. Anyway, I unloosed the adjuster several turns but that didn’t help. This is a somewhat annoying issue in daylight on a recreational ride, but not so fun in the freezing dark when things already conspire against you, and having mystery gear switches or having to always stay in a high gear is hard on me old knees.
As for the commute, this gear problem was unfortunately symptomatic. Surlylady got a foot cramp, I didn’t have enough water, something had come up at work at the last minute making me late to the bikepool meeting point, there seemed way more traffic–and impertinent traffic at that–than usual… and assorted other complaints. On top of this I’m having saddle-sensitive problems (an earlier post boasting about raising the seat post clearly came back to painfully roost) and so I did a lot more out-of-saddle riding, which led to a good workout: as of this morning I’ve lost 62 pounds (over the last year)! I probably haven’t been there in maybe fifteen years. So in spite of the annoyances, pains and near misses, it took this morning’s session with the scale to confirm it was worth it. Today: dog walking and mountain biking and then some derailleur repairs.