Tuesday, July 19, 2005

One Thing After Another

My long training ride today was filled with various frustrating technical difficulties. As I left the house it started raining again (pretty much just over my little neighborhood---other streets were totally dry) and less than a mile into the ride, and still very close to home, my front tire went flat. This was the remaining Vredestein from the original set I bought in late March (the other developed a horrible bulge). The bike shop replaced the bulged one for free since they could get a refund from the manufacturer, and I put that one on the back wheel. So far so good with it.

But anyway, I digress. The front tire flatted and I had to slowly ride home---in the rain---to switch out my front wheel with a spare one that had a good tire. That done, I set back out on the ride.

First stop was the bike shop, where they trued my slightly crooked rear wheel and tightened the hub on my replacement front wheel---just basic stuff I needed to have done. That errand out of the way, I was determined to have a strong ride despite the mechanical issues I face so often these days.

The ride itself was fantastic, and I felt stronger than I have in weeks. Honestly, I've never felt so solid and strong on a bicycle in my entire life. I was holding a pace of 22 mph with no effort at all, my heart rate was responsive but fairly low and my breathing was full and easy. Even quick sprints up steep hills couldn't shake the great feelings in my legs.

Naturally, something had to happen. While definitely not catastrophic, I started to notice a faint knocking sound coming from my bike. At first I couldn't place it. I had just changed my saddle and figured it could be loose but that wasn't it. Then I checked the seatpost. Tight. I then inspected my headset for slack, but there was none. I got back on the bike and rode a while longer when I realized that the sound was coming from somewhere in the front chainring/rear cassette areas---I just couldn't pinpoint it. I rode back to the bike shop (the bike knocking like crazy in easy gears) and had my two favorite mechanics take a look at it. Of course, they couldn't find anything. I left with some hypotheses and a couple of recommendations, but no definite solution and a continued knocking sound that was making me crazy.

Tonight was the "Tuesday World Cup" group ride as it's called, but I decided to skip it. Though I had the best ride of my entire life and felt stronger than ever, I just couldn't stand the sound coming from my bike and figured all the fast guys could have a good ride without me.

I've done a couple of the things prescribed by my mechanics and tomorrow I'll see if anything has improved. If not, I'll take the sucker back to the shop and have them tear it apart until they find the problem. There's no way I can ride it unless the sound is fixed. I'm already paranoid enough about sounds coming from my brand new car---sounds coming from my bike will drive me straight over the edge.

I need therapy.