the returning season brings back an assortment of lessons...

there are some ideas in the world of cycling...

so many road cyclists love to travel light
usually carrying little more than a cell phone to call home if they get a flat
while it is not uncommon for mountain bikers to hit the trail with a hydration pack filled with enough tools and enough food to survive the wild if they get lost in the woods

personally... I try to fall somewhere in between
as much as I love the hydration system
for the most part I try to keep it off my back
but the problem is... if it is not on my back then I better have it on my bike

the longer rides call for more fuel... it is vital to keep hydrating and refueling
while the shorter sprint rides that I tend to favor usually call out for no more than an extra GU packet or maybe some of those gel blocks
often taking care of hydration on the drive up
only traveling with a hammer gel flask filled with water to wet my whistle and chase back some of the dust

well... a few days past I learned a valuable lesson
no... I did not learn the lesson that a short mountain bike ride can turn into a long walk if you are lacking a tube, pump, or proper tools
no... instead I was reminded that the way the bicycle is running the night before the ride is very much an indicator of how things will be working on the ride

like a fool I hardly gave my bicycle a glance before heading out to Rosaryville on Friday
there was crud on the chain and the brakes were feeling crusty
but I was confident that things were good enough for a few laps
boy was I wrong

that gunked up chain was flapping in the breeze
early in my ride the chain came off
sadly I had grabbed the seat pack from my geared bike which lacked the 15mm wrench to back up the rear wheel
luckily the chain was loose enough that I could put it back on old school style
I felt like a third grader again

oh man... oh man... what a pain in the ass!

on lap one the chain must have dropped off a dozen times
back in the parking lot I tried to located a 15 mm box wrench
either people did not have a too... did not know what I was talking about... or did not like my heavily caffeinated approach

I was looping the parking lot not trying to let my desire for a second lap drop
I tore around the Honda Element knowing I did not have the tool for the job
it shocked me that no one had the adjustable crescent wrench to do the job
as frustrating as it could be... I was there... and I was going to take another lap

exiting the parking lot I entered the woods just where I had exited
back into the woods reversing the loop at Rosaryville
it was not far into the second lap and I was off the bike putting the chain back in place

each time I repeated the same procedure
the chain went all around the rear cog
then over the first third of the crank
then pedal forward
ah... chain in place and back on the saddle

only to be free wheeling backwards and forward having to dismount and repeat the process

again... I tried to count
it was not too many to count
but it was enough that I lost focus and concern in the count
it became a robotic task
again... maybe a dozen dropped chains

total rookie mistake

back at the car I felt good... a little foolish... but good
not sure of my lap times
but even with the dropped chain I was able to rail a couple good turns
the legs, the lungs, and the heart all got a work out

best to get the "kinks" out early
always good to have the wake up calls now rather than later

the reminder?
get the seat packs packed and on the bike
a 15mm wrench needs to travel with the single speed that lacks the quick release in the rear
spare links should be in the seat pack... links that match the chain on that machine
and of course... tubes... and not just tubes... but a patch kid!

oh man...
where is all that stuff?
I just put away the sleds

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