Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Reminiscing

Winter is chugging along, we're past the solstice and days are getting longer. It's still winter though. My knuckles are dry and cracked. Our trails are covered with quite a bit of snow and ice, but are slowly clearing and becoming a thick and muddy mess. Days on the mountain bike have been nearly non-existent. The pavement, however is clear and the sun has been out. I've been able to do a number of good road rides, and after getting a pair of lobster claw gloves, these have been pretty comfortable.


I've come to really enjoy these road rides. Honestly, I just flat out enjoy riding a bike and the motion of pedaling. The speed and efficiency of a road bike is addicting. You pedal and it goes. No hesitation, no loss of power to fat tires or rocks or suspension. The world turns down and it's surprising how fast a sub 20 pound bike picks up speed. Black ice and gravel add some serious excitement. So do rednecks in diesel trucks.

Aside from road riding, I've been revisiting my teenage years. I started racing bikes at 13 and quit around 17-18. In that time, I didn't go on dates with girls. I didn't go out and party. I didn't do enough homework. I did ride my bike. And I spent countless hours in our garage tinkering with bikes. Bleeding brakes, overhauling hubs, rebuilding forks, building wheels, making messes. It was great. My finger tips were always raw (rubber gloves when playing with fork oil or DOT fluid? Please!) The garage floor was covered in oils and grease. So were my knees. The satisfaction of making a sticky fork or fouled brake work like new was ever-present. Then I went to college and quit riding. I forgot about most everything bike related. Sure I dabbled here and there. I owned a mountain bike and did a handful of rides as the urge stuck. Unless there was a cable to change or flat tire, I didn't do much in the way of bike work.

An organized and well lit workspace is essential to a job well done
 Then I moved to Grand Junction. Mountain biking reentered my life in a big way. Then I started racing again and now I'm more bike crazy than I was as a teenager. My desire to spend time in the garage working on bikes has increased as the bike fever has worsened. What started out as changing handlebars or a stem has become bleeding my suspension seat-post or taking apart a $1000 fork. It's the same story. Taking something that's been used and abused and making it work like new. Each success brings a great feeling of satisfaction, raw fingertips, and dirty knees.


There's always downsides, though. In this case, its the door going into the garage. The latch doesn't catch easily and the door inevitably drifts open. Then Angel yells at me to shut the door. Usually when my hands are covered in something foul or I'm trying to get that tiny and awkward screw threaded. Happens every time.

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