Broken spoke on Saturday.
On Saturday’s ride my bike suffered a ride-ending mechanical: a broken rear wheel spoke. The spoke broke shortly after I’d completed the solo 22 kilometer (13.5 mile) ride to meet my club for the main ride. We had only just set off, and I heard a loud “pop”! I didn’t hear anything rubbing, but a fellow rider pedaled up to me and said my rear wheel had a bad wobble. As soon as he said that, I knew I’d broken a spoke. I pulled off the road, and sure enough, one of the spokes was broken off at the spoke nipple.
I sort of knew this was coming. In fact, I was planning to take my rear wheel (Zipp 404 Firecrest) to my local Zipp dealer to have all the spokes replaced before Six Gap. The reason I wanted to have the spokes replaced is because more than half of them were twisted to various degrees. Despite my best efforts to prevent it, this twisting occurred during regular truing of the wheel:
Zipp wheels have bladed spokes, and Park makes a tool (the BSH-4) which is designed to prevent spoke twist while truing:
Of course I use this tool when I’m truing my wheels, but often the spokes are badly stuck at the nipple and twisting still occurs. I use a couple drops of lube on the nipple before truing, and I use a spoke wrench to try and loosen the nipple from the spoke (with small back and forth quarter turns), but sometimes the spokes still twist before they “pop” free.
The interesting thing is that my front wheel never has any spoke twisting issues, it’s just the rear one. The rear wheel came direct from Zipp’s factory to me (they rebuilt it after a crash), and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. I was talking with Richard Dybdahl–a fellow WMBC bike club rider and owner of Pure Cycles in Eustis–and he mentioned WheelSmith spoke prep. The product is designed to prevent binding caused by corrosion, and I wonder if perhaps Zipp failed to use it when they built up my crash replacement wheel? That would explain a lot.
Anyway, after the spoke broke I elected to not tighten the other spokes to bring the wheel somewhat back into true, as I didn’t want to risk damaging the wheel itself. Lisa came and picked me up, and when I got home I grabbed my rear indoor trainer wheel (relatively heavy and far from aero, but strong and true), threw my road tire on it and hit the road in an attempt to find my group. I never did find them, but at least I got some more miles in.
Yesterday I did a 167 kilometer (104 mile) ride, and a couple of interesting things happened on that ride, too. Those tales will need to wait until tomorrow, as I’m running behind schedule and I need to wrap this up and get my day going. See you tomorrow!