The Golden Wrench

A blog about bicycle repair and maintenance by the mechanics at Freewheel Bike.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Freewheel Frolic

Which of these statements is true of the above picture?

a. I've never ridden this bicycle before.
b. I am only licensed as a Cat 2, but I am going to go and do an Expert race.
c. My cycling shoes still have mud from Jingle Cross on them.
d. I wear dark glasses in the woods on overcast days.
e. All of the above

Freewheel Bike was a proud sponsor of the Freewheel Frolic, which benefitted MORC. How did it benefit MORC, you ask? Good question! By providing them with extensive trail repairs to perform, whereby they might hone their considerable skills to razor keenness. If you weren't there, you may not have experienced the pocket-sized thunderstorm that perched immediately above Salem Hills and attempted to rain out the well-populated event. When I went to bed on Friday night, the forecast cheerfully reported "sunny and mid-80's." When I got up Saturday AM, I said "are you sure about that, mister forecast, the part about the "sunny and mid-80's?" The forecast replied "Oh yes, sunny and mid-80's indeed." Therefore, I left my raincoat at home and my warmup jacket at Midtown. A few hours later, when the sky was gray as dryer lint and fafafareezing cold, and a big green blob with red blobs swirling inside of it began to drift across Pete's phone, we began formulating a plot to put a 1/4" bearing inside the top tube of every meteorologist that comes in for service.

The citizen class made it through their race under skies of lead, but the reports of 45 MPH winds in Bloomington had everyone very uneasy. Tents were folded up, people skittered back to their vehicles, and even the intrepid Super Mario stopped grilling delicious veggie burgers for a little while.

And down came the rain, unlooked for, unwelcome, unpleasant, but I suppose necessary in a grander scheme than our meager perspective affords. Our meager perspective happened to look like this:

Difficult choices needed to be made. MORC builds their trails to last, but having hundreds of people ride them after a rain storm (even a brief one) could cause lots of damage in a hurry. Yet this particular race is always well attended, and this year was no exception. After a 90 minute delay while the promoters waited for the lightning to head up toward Lauderdale in search of golfers, it was "game on." The Sport class was treated to some good old fashioned "paste" mud, which cakes and goobers and generally attempts to inflict destruction on everything it touches. Several bikes ended up like this:

O the devastation of a poorly-timed shift in such conditions! Many drivetrains breathed their last on May 22, 2010.

The promoters decided to shorten the lap a touch to minimize damage to the grassy fields and knock down the lap count by one for Comp and Expert. "Fine by us," we said, grimly appraising the shattered remains of once-noble bicycles limping across the finish line under Sport class riders who needed hugs. Amazingly, however, conditions turned out to be fine for the Comp/Expert race. By the third lap of the Expert race, the course was downright enjoyable, as was the weather.

Here's a picture of stout yeoman and Freewheeler Rodney Johnson (whose brakes are currently on the fritz and waiting for parts from Shimano [who ship brake parts by taping them to the bellies of white swans and giving the swans a printout from Google Maps]) enjoying himself immensely.

Thanks to everyone who attended for making this a truly memorable event! Especially the ladies and gentlemen in the Sport class who had by far the most miserable conditions of anyone, you folks deserve a raise.

And special congratulations to Megan Lennon, who won a set of Crank Brothers Iodine wheels in the post-race swag drawing!