Geez, today was one of those days at Lake Crabtree…Steve and I met at 3:45. It all started when I stepped out of the car into the middle of August (not sure why I hadn’t noticed earlier how freakin’ hot it was today!) When Steve got out of the car, he discovered that his rear tire was flatter than a pancake. We both kind of gave each other a groaning look, and moved his bike into the shade, so that he could change the tube with the crappy emergency pump that he carries on the frame of his bike (we still don’t know why it got flat, but are assuming the heat?). By 4:00, we were ready to roll, and only slightly annoyed about the tire and the fact that we had forgotten to refill our Camel-Bak’s from the last ride, so we were low on water.
It definitely wasn’t as humid as it is in mid-August, and there was a nice breeze, and of course, lots of shade in the woods on the trails. At one point while stopping to catch our breath a bit, I remember Steve asking me how my bike felt, b/c I had been having problems with my chain going slack whenever I back-pedalled, causing the gears to lock up. I commented that it was okay, but felt a little weird, like I didn’t quite trust my bike. It turns out that that was pretty good foreshadowing. Evidently, the screw that holds my “Lower Pulley Unit” together (this toothy gear thing is responsible for keeping the tension in the chain) had slowly but surely over the past few rides been working itself looser and looser. After 25 minutes on the trails today, it decided to fall apart…in pieces. My gears started doing this weird grinding thing, and after a minute or so, I realized that something had gone horribly wrong. Turns out, over the past half mile or so, the little screws, nuts, and washers had one by one been popping off unbeknownst to me, until I went over a log that catapulted the entire pulley unit right off the bike. Now, Lake Crabtree is not a big park, but hiking out with two mountain bikes, already a little peeved, keeping my eyes peeled for other bikers so I can jump out of the way, didn’t seem like the most fun option. We decided to look for the pieces, and after about 10 minutes or so, lo and behold, found all FIVE pieces that went with the pulley unit. Steve worked on it for a good 10 minutes, while I fought off the mosquitoes and ticks. He then pronounced it fixed. We got back on the bikes, and after about 30 seconds, we realized it most definitely was NOT fixed. Deja vu with aforementioned mosquitoes and ticks, and probably more like 20 minutes this time, with several more failed attempts, Steve thankfully was finally able to not only get the piece back on the bike, but also convince it to do its job.
While Steve was turning into a greasy pool of sweat working on my bike the second time around, I began to get a little irritated. Not at Steve, mind you, but at the whole situation. All I wanted to do was let off some end-of-the-school-year steam in the woods on my mountain bike, not too much to ask for, right? At this point we had spent more time searching for and tweaking with microsopic bike parts in the woods than we had spent riding. The 457 (probably not quite that many 🙂 ) other bikers that zoomed gleefully by us, oblivious to our plight did not help the situation.
It was around then that I was struck with the magnitude of my selfishness and crappy attitude…with all the unjustice, sickness, poverty, and violence going on in the world RIGHT THIS MINUTE, I felt the need to piss and moan that my afternoon bike ride got messed up? Really? Even if I de-globalize for a moment and keep it local – there are a million and one reasons far worse as to why my afternoon bike ride could have been messed up. One of us could have gotten into a car wreck on the way over. One of us could have wrecked our bike into a tree or another rider. The Lower Pulley Unit falling off my bike could have caused me to wreck, all of these things at the very LEAST would probably ruin the trip we have planned in 2 weeks to Montana and Utah, and very likely, ruin even more. And I want to complain b/c we had a pump to fix Steve’s tire, enabling us to still ride? I’d like to feel sorry for myself, b/c 5 tiny parts exploded off my bike over the course of a half mile, and we FOUND them all? Or maybe I’d rather brood about how my wonderful husband who is by no means a bike mechanic was able to fix my bike so that I could ride out good as new, instead of hike out in the dark…
I guess its all in the way you look at things. Sometimes its a blessing just to make it out on two wheels. And on those days, all you can do is shake your head and laugh.