I figured I was due. I’ve been having a very smooth run and now that all the good habits are established it’s obviously time to be tested.
On the first of my big rides, last Friday, I had a puncture at about mile 12. It’s the third puncture of the year but the first that I had to deal with on a ride, the others were slow leaks that I found dead flat when leaving for the next ride. That puncture may have saved me though. While I was changing the tube I also ate a banana – only 45 minutes into a 4 hour ride. I would never have considered eating inside 90 minutes if I was rolling along and if I hadn’t I may have passed a threshold before I felt any physiological hints of my impending doom. After that though it was easy to remember I had eaten and about every 30-40 minutes I had something more to eat. But this isn’t a bonk story.
3 weeks ago I broke the first spoke in this set of wheels. Not bad for 5 year old wheels. Not great for 5000 kilometre (3000mi) old wheels. It’s worth noting that the spoke was on the cluster side (common) and it broke about 2 inches from the hub, but not at the point where it touches the spoke that it crossed over (weird). The second spoke broke a couple of days later. It was on the left side (uncommon) and snapped at the hub (not weird). My experience with spokes is that when you get a series of breakages it spells impending doom for the wheel. I don’t consider 2 spokes a series of breakages, but with the quality of the original bike (fair), the distance travelled (reasonable) and the weight of the rider/rig combo (ridiculous) I took the early hint to avoid later heartbreak.
So I bought 32 spokes and rebuilt it. This morning I rolled out at 6:15am for a brisk 25 miles (which would give me, in only 6 days, a new weekly best mileage since the start of the revolution). At the 1 mile mark I was out of my seat smashing up the 15 pedal stroke 15% mound that guards the entrance to our housing estate when I heard a ping. And heard a scuff, scuff, scuff. And felt a bump, bump, bump. One of my shiny new spokes had given up after only 300 miles. It caused a buckle that was so bad I couldn’t adjust the wheel to stop it rubbing on the stay. So gently home to notch up a DNF (the 1 mile home took all the rubber off the side wall so the threads are showing, but fortunately not frayed).
I’m on my way to the LBS to have them give it some love so that I can still put in 75 miles tomorrow, 55 Sunday and 90 on Monday (another public holiday, I love this time of year). And if worst comes to worst, I already have 150 miles under the bridge for the week.