// //

Thursday, June 29, 2017 - Welcome, guest user!

Challenging 28.3 mile ride: heat, smoke, humidity and rain; Made a dumb mistake.

Monday, August 8, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

August
8
2011
Yesterday's Bike on a Trail shot. The smoke wasn't the only thing that made it seem like I was riding through hell: the heat was intense.

Yesterday's Bike on a Trail shot. The smoke wasn't the only thing that made it seem like I was riding through hell: the heat was intense.

Yesterday was only my second real extended mountain biking ride using clipless pedals (for more information on clipless pedals and my specific clipless setup, check out my August 2, 2011 blog). Compared to my first ride it was considerably more challenging. We’ve had a lot of rain over the past week, and much of the trail is wet. The wet leaves and pine needles are not a big deal, but the large, wet roots and rocks are very slippery.

The best way to deal with unavoidable obstacles is to hit them straight on; for example, if you hit a good-sized wet root with decent speed at a 90 degree angle you’ll go right over it. There are quite a few large roots on crazy angles, however, and so hitting those (especially when they are wet) can cause a pretty nasty fall.

I can always tell when I'm the first person on the trails. I saw this large orb weaver across the trail just in time to avoid it.

I can always tell when I'm the first person on the trails. I saw this large orb weaver across the trail just in time to avoid it.

Being physically clipped to the pedals for only the second time made navigating the wet roots I’ve been over a million times before extra challenging: the penalty for even a small error is coming down fast and hard with virtually no time to release my feet. I had to pick my lines carefully, keep my speed up and bunny hop quite a few of the roots that ran at dangerous angles. My familiarity with the trail was a huge benefit. I am happy to report that I made it though the entire 28 miles without a single fall, and I remained clipped in for the entire ride.

As you can see from the Bike on a Trail shot (above) they are still doing controlled burns out there. There are no active fires, but there are quite a few areas that are still smoldering. The smoke was fairly thick in places, and breathing was obviously very difficult in those sections. I can’t believe I used to inhale that crap into my lungs on purpose. 🙁

I came across a field filled with butterflies. When I stopped to do some shooting they were all around me, even landing on my bike. I felt like I was in a Disney cartoon or something.

I came across a field filled with butterflies. When I stopped to do some shooting they were all around me, even landing on my bike. I felt like I was in a Disney cartoon or something.

All the rain we’ve had lately definitely helped with the sugar sand, but the downside was the humidity. It was very hot, and the forest trapped the steamy humid air. I felt as if I was riding in a sauna. Seriously, I’ve never sweat so much in my life. When I finished the ride it was literally as if I’d jumped in a pool: I was soaked from head to toe.

The great thing about the rain is that the forest was alive with creatures, flowers and new growth! Some of the less-traveled trails that I take have completely overgrown just in the past week. It was really good to see everything out there thriving from the much-needed rain we’ve been getting lately.

Thank goodness I had bug spray on! The mosquitoes were worse than I’ve ever seen them, but they left me alone. I also have a small bug spray pen in my CamelBak HAWG so I can re-apply out on the trail (comes in real handy when you’re sweating heavily). I’ve not had a single tick bite since I started using the Repel bug spray. Good stuff.

With the Cotton Carrier I was able to go from riding to photographing in seconds, not minutes.

With the Cotton Carrier I was able to go from riding to photographing in seconds, not minutes.

Another exciting thing about yesterday’s ride is that it was my first ride using the Cotton Carrier DSLR camera carry rig. I’ll be posting a full review soon, but for now I’ll just say that I’m 100% thrilled with this system. It’s exactly what I was looking for, and the product allowed me to mountain bike and take pictures without one activity getting in the way of the other. I’ve got a lot more to say about the system, so look for the full review soon.

OK, so when I got home from the ride I was physically and mentally exhausted. The heat was physically draining, and mentally I was punch-drunk because I had to be extremely focused during most of the ride. Still, my routine when I get home from a ride is to wash, clean, inspect, adjust and lube my bike. I like to have that stuff out of the way so everything is all set to go for the next ride.

Everything checked out and I was almost done, but when I gave the front wheel a spin I heard a small amount of brake pad rub on the rotor. The rotor is fine (I just had my wheels trued and the rotors checked at the bike shop on Saturday), so this is a really basic repair that I’ve done many times: you simply loosen the two bolts that mount the brake caliper to the frame, squeeze the brake lever and re-tighten the caliper mount bolts. If your wheel and rotor are both straight, this little trick will fix rub most of the time.

The problem is that I was so tired that I inadvertently loosened the caliper body bolts instead of the caliper mount bolts. As soon as I loosened the wrong bolts hydraulic brake fluid began to drip out. I instantly knew what I did, but it was too late. Hydraulic brake systems are closed systems, and once that system is compromised it’s game over. What I mean by that is you simply can’t re-tighten the caliper and top off the fluid: you have to go through a complete brake fluid refilling and bleeding procedure that adds fresh hydraulic fluid and removes all the air from the system. So I’m out of action until my Avid hydraulic disc brake bleed kit arrives on Tuesday. Oh well, I’ll just consider this some added bike maintenance experience. I won’t make that mistake again, that’s for sure!

John Stone Fitness Comments

6 Responses to “Challenging 28.3 mile ride: heat, smoke, humidity and rain; Made a dumb mistake.”
  1. Yeah, I’ve seen all the videos. They make it look much easier then it actually is. Just make sure to remove your pads and insert the block and wipe down any dripped fluid with alcohol, that DOT fluid will take paint and powdercoat right off. I do my own but I hate doing it. Kudos to you trying it, good luck!

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    • You know me, I always gotta do it myself if I can. 🙂

      The videos are nice and clear, and I also have some great instruction specific to the Avid bleed kit in my Zinn bike repair book.

      The wheel is off, the break pads are out and I’ve got my rubbing alcohol and shop rags all set. Being careful not to squeeze the brake lever until the block arrives with the kit tomorrow.

      GD Star Rating
      loading...
  2. I run avid Elixir CR brakes and they are a huge pain to bleed. Air always gets stuck in the levers/calipers. I got so frustrated with the bleed kit that I went out and bought a peristaltic pump to continuously circulate fluid through each brake while I tap the components/tubing to get the air bubbles to release from the walls. Here is the pump I bought if anyone is interested:

    http://www.omega.com/googlebase/product.html?pn=FPU402

    When you’re done with the bleed, don’t forget to flip the bike upside down while testing the brakes. If the bleed is complete, the lever reach will be the same regardless of orientation. If not, you run the risk of a bubble escaping while riding and then losing the brake in the middle of the ride.

    Good luck with the bleed!

    GD Star Rating
    loading...

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...

You must be logged in to post a comment. Not yet a member? Registration is fast and free!