Sunday, December 27, 2009

Listen to Santa!!!

Hello fellow travelers! I'm writing from Portland today, where I spent Christmas with the Bent Johnson family.

Hope everyone had a great Christmas and that you got everything you wanted. I didn't really *want* anything - heck, I've got everything I need - but I got some really cool stuff anyway. Leading the pack had to have been the MUST have tool for a recumbent newbie: the Park Master Link Tool:

Yes - they make a tool for that! The oh-so-annoying master link that slides together so easily in your hands, and slides apart so easily at the shop, has a way of frustrating me - particularly when the chips are down and you HAVE to get something taken care of post-haste. Good news is - looks like it's not just me. In other words, I'm still quite possibly NOT the biggest dork on the block. And even though I'd NEVER admitted out loud to Santa that this was a frequent problem for me, he really does know when I've been bad or good, or at least he's tracking what leads to too many #$*&^@# swear words. And he decided that I was still close enough to being on the nice list that he'd do something nice about it.

So you'd think that when I went out on a ride on December 26, in the gorgeous (really!) Oregon sunshine, I'd have known that Santa intended me to take the Park
MLP-1 with me. After all, I even have a super race bag that would hold it:

But no...after all, when have I ever needed a Park Tool MLP-1 on a short, fun training ride before? Never - that's when. Until...yesterday. I was 95% of the way to Kerry's house - by which I mean I was 105% of the way to Kerry's house, and had just turned around to undo the excess 5%, when I heard a resounding CRACK, felt the drivetrain lose pressure, and watched the last few links of chain exit the chainwheel and aim for my wheels. Yuck.

I didn't have a chain tool. Mysteriously, even though I've got this amazing, huge race bag, I've stocked it with a weenie little micro-multitool. I've got a Crank Brothers tool that has a chain tool on it, but I didn't bring it. Kerry doesn't have a chain tool, either. We don't ask Tess; Mark already knows that Tess doesn't have a chain tool.

Fortunately, about half of the remaining trip to Kerry's house is downhill. And even more fortunately, Mark has a lot of bikes there. I got to borrow his Bianchi - a pretty danged nice steel bike. It kind of fits if I don't think about the top tube. So - I don't think about the top tube.

Since I didn't have a way home other than my bike, the first part of our ride was straight to the bike shop. I decided that it was probably a good time to be replacing my chain, anyway, so I bought two. And a chain tool. And a few master links, for good luck. Thank you, Bike & Hike!

Then we headed up to Mount Tabor, where we had an amazing view of Mount Hood with the city in the foreground. Fortunately no one had a camera - if we want to see it like that again, we'll have to wait for another amazing clear, cold day and ride up again!

Got back to Kerry's with the last of the light, and sunk into bike repair in earnest. Naturally, it takes just over two chains to do the job, so I've got to steal a few links from the old (dead) one. Even though I HAVE a chain tool, I decided that I'd really like to separate it at the master link, so that I could save one of the master links that I'd just purchased for a real roadside emergency. No dice. Of course, my PT-MLP-1 would've made short work of the job. I could hear Santa clucking all the way from the North Pole: you can lead a girl to water, but you can't....sigh. Eventually Mark jury-rigged something with a screwdriver and we got the thing to work.

After that, much pizza and RAAM conversation: Mark has gotten sucked onto a RAAM crew and I was trying to give him some sort of idea what he's in for. Then it was off into the really cold and dark (by now it was 9:30!), with an extra light and jacket for the journey.

An unintended (by me!) consequence of the borrowed goods was the need to return them, and the convenient way (!??!?) to do that was at a yoga class that Mark and Tess were going to this morning, right in my neighborhood. I was the first to arrive, and the instructor was, charitably, surprised to see me. I explained that I was meeting Mark and Tess there, which at least established me as a real person. She asked me if I knew that this was a "Level 2-3" class. That didn't bother me initially; I figure yoga must be a 12-step program, so if I miss the first step ("my name is Sandy and I have no flexibility...") I can probably fake it.

Naturally, I was incorrect. "Level 2-3" means "advanced". I was tossed into a room full of contortionists, doing moves that were WAY over my head, sometimes quite literally. I lived through it, but I can already tell that I won't be lifting my arms above my head tomorrow. And Mark has officially paid me back for the triple-tandem incident in August.

So, boys and girls - the moral of the story is, "Listen to Santa". Wear that sweater that he got you; it's toasty warm. Did he leave you a bottle of wine? Drink it in good health, with good friends! That nose hair trimmer...yep, he gave it to you for a reason.

Have a happy holiday and a wonderful start to 2010. I'll be down in Arcata celebrating the New Year with David Bradley and friends. I'm betting we'll talk RAAM a little.



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