I hope all the World Cycle Race entrants are proficient at not only riding the big distances on the bike but also in making all repairs needed to the bike on the road. The reason I say this is because both these disciplines will be needed in the event I’m sure.
I should have foreseen that today would not go totally to plan when I lost my sunglasses at the 60km mark. This is really no big deal because they were cheapy ones that I often use touring as it’s easy to misplace things. I leave my Rudy Projects at home for day rides. Still I’m usually really careful with my stuff so it was a sign of more to come today. I planned on an easy day of 130km taking me over New Zealand’s highest sealed road. (The Crown Range)
Lunch in Wanaka at the lake, not a problem, I even won another free caffeine drink. Then just up the valley to the Pass and over to Frankton (70kms). A light tail wind and maybe even a stop at the historic pub? Highest sealed road, I laugh at you I thought.
It was at about this time, as I changed a gear lower that I heard the not unfamiliar sound of a rear gear mechanism about to shit itself! Before I could bring the Mercian to full stop she had totally ripped the campag rear changer out of the frame into the spokes and severely bent my mudguard stays!
Now mudguard stays can be straightened even a mechanical simpleton could do that bit. The rear wheel could be re-trued something that was easily within my capabilities. I also thought that the frame hanger straightening was within my abilities on the road with what I had. But one look at the rear gear changer and mangled chain was enough to make a young roadie weep. I took the Campag changer off and left it on a fence post as there was not one piece worth salvaging. As there was no cell phone coverage in this remote area, and as I am not one of these modern sponsored adventurers who would have the parts, a mechanic, film crew complete with McDonalds burgers flown in (to be munched in the support vehicle while the bike was fixed) I decided that I would have to fix it or sleep under a bush in the pass that night.
I single speeded the bike with the little decent chain that I had and knowing that the climb up the pass was a hooer I single speeded it in the lowest gear that I had enough chain for. Then I was away gingerly.
The grunt up the Pass wasn’t actually the hard part as the bike held together. The problem was the 30kms to Frankton on the other side as a large proportion of it was on the flat. In my low gear I could only travel at a top speed of 13km/hr!
It took forever. But at least I made it.
|All I Need is a White Camper to Wipe My Hands On.|
I had a restless night’s sleep wondering how much damage I’d done to the thread in the dropout and whether I could get another gear changer to screw in. Sleep wasn’t helped by a party in a tent a bit over the way and a group of teenagers just grown out of their skate boards turning up at 3am to put their tent up. One of the girls was of the especially obnoxious sort that has to be heard over everyone else. What’s particularly upsetting for her now is that her whole purpose in life has been fulfilled. Her parents having I’m sure brought her up just to make my night in Frankton on the 5th Jan 2012 unpleasant. I suppose now she’ll just have to go off and have kids so that more cyclists in the future can lose sleep to this genetically challenged clan.
It’s the next day now and I have got the parts I need from the local bike shop. They let me use their tools when they realised I was in the trade and I’ve straightened stuff. Now I’m off to test ride and hope she holds together.
Average no. of kilometres expected to be covered today. Zero.
One of the more idiot World Race contenders actually thought he could average 0ver 200MILES a day! Ive listened to some crap in my time but that’s really up there. I’m looking forward to following how he goes during the event.
They reckon getting to the start line is the hard part. I’d have to disagree with that. I think riding this event could be the hardest part.