Friday, April 9, 2010

To Live and Train in L.A. #14

(You notice something is fucked up with the font size? Me, too. Oh well. I can’t fix it. When I can, I will. NOTE: PROBLEM FIXED on 4/11/10)

First order of business: Best of luck to my Heckawee brethren this Saturday at the Hillsboro Roubaix in Hillsboro, Illinois. That’s a special race. No doubt. And I hope everybody does well. Professor Sherkat, that means you, buddy. You can win that fucker.

Okay then. Pictured above is my Gunnar Crosshairs, Wednesday afternoon, on the downside of old Mt. Hollywood Drive (closed to traffic!), not too far from the Observatory. Ideal place for a cross bike and 42.o pounds of pressure in the tires, which is what I run at all times.

So I have to tell you a really disgusting story about what happened before riding the Crosshairs to the spot where I took this picture. Wednesday morning, I decided to do a little bike yoga, as my friend Chief Reimbold calls it, because when you’re tense, when you’re run down and flocked around by the world or whatever the line is from Moby Dick, the best way to calm yourself is to place bike in the work stand and put on some swanky music and show your bike some love.

My Crosshairs has not known love for a long time, only neglect followed by occasional periods of ruthless abuse – like I’m pretty sure I haven’t installed new handlebar tape for two full years. In this picture, you can see that the handlebar tape is fucked up, peeling, held onto the bars in some places with electrical tape, and this picture was taken four months ago.

I need another picture now, right? I don’t have any. One tries to avoid photographic evidence of one’s ongoing shame.

Anyway, Wednesday morning, work was going not great at my desk and I needed something relaxing to do, so I decided to put new tape on the bars. Felt like the proper course of action for some reason. Bike yoga. Mellow times. I gathered the necessary items – new bar tape, electrical tape, scissors, and so on – and began peeling off the old tape, starting from the top, near the stem. I peeled the right side open and I kid you not, at least ¼ cup of grayish-green, powderized salt poured out and formed a cloud in the air on its way to the ground. Really nasty. Stank, too. Like rancid cat piss mixed with Coppertone Sport Sunscreen #50 and rotten convenience-store egg salad sandwich. I was like “Where’s my fucking HAZMAT suit?” And the farther I pulled off tape, the more salt poured out. Salt was in heaps, literally, underneath the cables and in the brake-lever housings and on and on and on and on. I almost barfed. Then goddammit I had to unwrap the left side, wherein I discovered something about the used of hands cycling I hadn’t known before. Check it out: Because most of the shifting on a road shifter setup is performed with the right hand, the left hand spends more time on the handlebar tops than the right hand does because the right hand is shifting. Right hand shifts, left hand stays on the tops. See what I’m saying? There was at least ten times more grayish-green powderized salt on the left side. I totally lost my gluten-free lunch. Matter of fact, I’m gonna puke right now if I don’t stop thinking about this.

I went for the hose. I went for the mop. I got the 409 out. And the ammonia. And the kerosene. And the heavy-duty rubber gloves I use when my literary buddies come over to make meth –

End result: the bars are pitted and mauled in a manner that brings to mind the Forest of Ardennes when folks were contesting issues with tanks and bombs instead of carbon-fiber bikes. Huge craters. Devastation on an unimaginable scale. Et cetera. Those handlebars are gonna snap if I don’t replace them soon. Still, after a brutal hour of scrubbing and sterilizing and lubing and such, I went ahead and wrapped the bars (shop-quality work, sort of) and suited up and mounted up and would you know it? My crankset was creaking almost as badly as my intestines do when I eat bran muffins. So I dismounted and pulled the crank and –

I’ll stop. I need a new crankset, too. Who doesn’t? Meantime, I’m running my shit as is.

1 comment:

  1. Jesus fuck! That's nasty.

    Shit, I'll be lucky to make it in with the main chase pack....At least Ethan and the reemerged and unbeatable Dave Henderson are doing the 1-2. Thanks! And, geez, I wonder what the inside of your headset looks like. Good thing it's a King.


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