Saturday, March 9, 2013

Bummer, Alpine to Boulevard 5.68 miles

Headed out this morning in misty conditions and started climbing as soon as we left the hotel driveway.  Things went well for a while, even with no warm-up time, but when we started the real climbing my climbing gears were slipping.  I walked up a couple of pretty steep hills and then Dolly (from Indiana), adjusted the set screw on the rear derailleur and I was back in the saddle.  For a while.  I now had five of the top gears instead of only three.
That worked until we got to the 12% grade.  At the point we were supposed to get on the Interstate, I decided the better part of valor was to stay somewhere that the van/trailer had room to come fetch me.  I knew there would be times I would SAG, but I didn't really expect two in the first two days.  My riding has been fine, but the weather and the gear issues have conspired against me.  
Carol, the grand guru and all around fantastic tour guide, checked my bike this afternoon and was able to get the slipping transferred to the higher gears, but not totally resolved.  She is a pretty competent mechanic, but isn't quite sure why the cogs are slipping.  I am grateful it is down now to one of the cogs and one of the higher ones.  At least I will be able to continue riding.

But I spent the day in good company, we enjoyed the scenery, and the trip is still fun.  It is cold still, but the snow has melted off the roads.  First up tomorrow is a long downhill with vicious cross winds - the majority of us intend to bump up past that, and then continue on with what Carol assures us is a "happy" ride after that.  It is supposed to be sunny and a little warmer.

PS - I picked up a cute guy cyclist as I walked up the last hill.  He rode alongside as I walked and made sure that I was ok and not in immediate need of assistance.


Yarn Studio said...

Wow Judi! I'm so impressed!

Janice in GA said...

When you say slipping: Is your chain coming off the cog? Do you put it in the big cog in the back and it doesn't stay there, but slips down to the second biggest?

Is the problem with shifting in the rear, or shifting up front?

It's unlikely that the cog itself is slipping, unless something is horribly wrong with your cassette/freewheel. Eyeball your rear derailleur from behind to see if it's bent at all. Use another bike for comparison if you can. AFAIK, the cage of the derailleur (the part with the two geared wheels that the chain runs around) should stay pretty parallel as you shift up and down the cogs in the rear. If it's no longer parallel, your shifting may be impacted.

Make sure the cable tension on the shifter is correct. I'm assuming you have folks who can look at this stuff for you. So aggravating to have hardware problems at the beginning!

Did you remove your wheels when you shipped the bike? Make sure the wheel is installed straight in the dropouts.

Ken said...

I totally agree with Janice. One of the problems with shipping bikes around (or putting in/on the SAG) is the hanger for the rear derailleur can get bent out of alignment. Even with visual checks it is hard (sometimes impossible) to detect. It doesn't take much. Without alignment it is impossible to adjust the shifting. Any bike shop has (or should have) an alignment tool. Even I own one. Hang in there you are doing fine! And congrats on todays catch:)

tombetz said...

Keep positive. You'll be fine.

Judi said...

Thanks all, it is highly likely that I am using incorrect terminology or imprecise vocabulary. Carol checked all the things Janice mentioned. It is still possible that the derailleur hanger is the culprit, I'll ask her tomorrow.

I am slightly frustrated by how little riding I have been able to do, but it isn't spoiling the trip at all, I am having a great time.

I am pretty sure that Tom rode twice as far as I did today.

Liz said...

Judi - tough couple of days and this can be frustrating. Hang in there. There is still 3,100 miles of riding ahead of you so hopefully Carol will get you squared away.

susan said...

anxious to hear how the day went today, are u going to blog toight??? we are cheering you on!!!!