Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Caesar's Creek 1, Me 0

I'm not sure why I keep going to Caesar's Creek. Maybe for a change of pace, maybe for an old school trail feel, maybe for the easy drive down I-71, but often when I go there, the experience isn't great.

Sunday was to be no different.

The strong storms that rained out our Clippers game on Saturday night seemed to have mostly missed CC, so I thought the trail conditions would be OK. I loaded up and headed south early Sunday morning.

I parked at the Harvesburg road trail head, and endured some slimy, mucky trails to head north to the Ward Road parking lot. Some day I'll remember to ride the western side of that loop, which tends to be drier and much nicer overall. I passed by the Ward Road trail head and continued north.

I wasn't really feeling much love for my Jones on this ride. The new (shorter) stem/(setback) seatpost setup left me feeling cramped and a bit unbalanced on the bike, and less weight on the front end left it feeling too light and imprecise. Maybe I was just having an off day.

The new singlespeed setup was working just fine, though, until it wasn't anymore. Powering up a short hill, I heard a "pop!" as my progress stopped. I thought I had just dropped my chain, but I was not so lucky:

A broken chain. Normally, this wouldn't be more than a minor inconvenience. I was never a boy scout, but "Be Prepared" is a guiding principle for me. But in this case, I wasn't prepared. In shifting from Camelback to underseat bag back to Camelback, I must have gotten my tools mixed up. Instead of my usual multi tool with a chain breaker and some spare links of chain, I only had a spare master link. This might have been OK, except the popped link on the chain was still in place. It turns out that a rock and a small allen key from a folding tool aren't very effective to drive a pin out:

After my allen key bent, I tried to twist the link out with a screwdriver. That popped a link out, but not the one I was trying to fix. So now, even if I had a chain breaker, my chain would be too short.

Nothing to do for it, I spent the next 1:15 walking, jogging, scootering, and coasting the several miles back to the car. For once in my biking life I found a need to drop my seat post; it made jumping on and off the bike easier:

Unfortunately, most of the trails at Caesar's aren't like the picture above. They're narrow, wet, brushy, and chock full of poison ivy. My legs were pretty beat up when I got back to my Accord:

When I got home, I immediately applied some anti-poison ivy stuff to my legs. They seem fine, but my right forearm is burning with it. Always a good time at Caesar's Creek.

I took an inventory of my Camelback later that day:

I had:
- 1 mini pump
- 1 patch kit
- 1 spare tube, 29 x 2.3
- 4 tire levers
- my broken chain and two new, yet worthless, master links
- a folding multi tool and a spare small allen key
- 2 torx wrenches for disc rotors. Why two? No idea.
- a granola bar and a mini Clif bar wrapper
- a map of Mohican SP
- an ink pen
- 1 $5 bill
- half a dozen small zip ties
- a handful of Kleenex now too dirty to ever use, and some clean ones in a plastic baggy.

Needless to say, I fixed my chain, swapped the bar and stem back to what I had originally, sorted through my tools, and should be more prepared for next time.

Apropos of the Clippers game, I had free tickets from work, so after the twins backed out, Henry and I invited neighbor Brian and his son to go with us:

We had good seats:

Henry enjoyed the snacks:

Unfortunately, it started to sprinkle after about four innings. We decided to leave at that point, and just as we left the stadium, it really let loose. We followed our sketchy path back to the car, but we got soaked:

By the time we got to the car, we were all soaked to the skin and laughing hysterically. A good night!


  1. Happened to me a couple of years ago. Good thing most of the trail back to the car was downhill. Now I've got a chain tool for each bike.

    By the way, what is the white tape on the top of the struts on the truss fork?

    1. The white tape is handlebar tape, it's located where the truss fork would contact the top tube in case of a fork spinning wreck.


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