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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Broken Pattern

I guess all patterns have to break eventually. To anyone who might be looking at this blog expecting the start of another tour this Spring, I'm afraid it just isn't in the cards. I've done a Spring tour, and with it a relocation to a different city, every year for the last four years, and it definitely feels weird to break that pattern now. With the weather warm and the smell of Spring in the air, my migratory bird instincts have been kicking in something fierce, and it feels wrong that I'm not preparing to go tour. I feel a little like an addict, craving another shot of adventure to my veins. I've had Google's Remember This Day taunting me for awhile now with pictures from my West Coast tour (which I started very early at the end of March, and had already ended at this point), and now with ones from my Great Lakes tour, making me wish I had another such adventure on the horizon. But yeah, it just doesn't work with my plans this year. I'm going to fly to Pittsburgh soon to see Rachael after she graduates, and leaving for a tour in June seems rather late to me. What's more, it feels right to stay at my place through my lease and to stick with my job through the busy season. I've entertained the notion of making a tour happen in the Autumn, but we'll see. Rachael and I have spent a year long distance now, and I am more than ready for us to finally be together, once she lands a job somewhere.
Sometimes there are other sorts of adventures that need to happen. But one way or another, at some point before too long, I'll tour again.

 ...After all, I need to get a tour in so that I can give my current frame a name. It's a long story, one that probably most anyone reading this already knows, but, well, it turned out I was right to be nervous about shipping my bike back from Florida at the end of my last tour. Unboxing it in Lincoln was one pained groan after another as I realized they shipped it improperly, with both wheels off, discovering first that my big chainring had several of its teeth worn flat on the bottom of the box, then that my rear derailleur was ruined, and last, and by far the worst, that the poorly secured wheel with no protector over the hub, had put a big dent into the downtube. It still hurts a little to think of that moment, the bike I had been on two big adventures with, destroyed by someone doing an unprofessional job of shipping (do NOT go to Big Wheel Cycles in Sunrise, FL). I'm very grateful my service manager at The Bike Rack was there for me at the time, and he immediately had another bike there for me to be able to get around while I figured out what to do. Ultimately, through some serendipitous twists of happenstance, the realization came there was in fact already a 920 frame waiting for me to use. 

My own, in fact. My original. See, when I first got my 920, there was a warranty issue with the bolt holes for the rear disc brake caliper being drilled too close together and the caliper had been forced in place, resulting in some buckling. While I waited to get a new frame (which took awhile because they were out), my service manager had filed out the caliper so it could work with the narrower spaced holes in the frame to make it usable. It turned out that original, warrantied frame was still there for me in the basement of the shop. I could have a 920 again, without shelling out the money for a new frame or having to deal with a new color, presumably with just a little modification of my Spyre calipers. And as it turned out, because the Spyres have a wider tolerance than the Hylex brakes that were originally on there, we didn't even have to do that. Thus I rebuilt my 920, transferring what I could from Bree, back to the frame that most those parts originally came from, and replacing most my drive train, a new rear derailleur, a damn sweet 22-33-44 triple crankset (for mountains!), and a new front derailleur to handle said new triple. I got my 920 back, better than before. But she's still not Bree, and that means she still needs a tour to earn a name. And having that triple on there, with that super low gearing, is basically a promise to myself that I will tour again. Having a 22-36 low gear is wasted riding around in Nebraska; it's just begging to be used fully loaded on some mountains.

So yeah, my pattern of leaving on my bike in the Spring every year may be broken, but I'll tour again.