Friday, July 9, 2010

Damage assessment

The situation with JunkieBoy’s bike was made all the more acute because he was hoping to do the kids’ race at Miller Motorsports Park last night. So I decided to take the rest of the day off of work and see if I could piece together something for him to ride.

The vandals did a real number on it. One of the crankarms was broken where the pedal threads in, the chain guard was dented and scratched, the stem pad was tattered, and both wheels were completely destroyed. I seriously can’t even fathom how someone could do something like that to a little boy’s bike and think it’s fun.

We had one of Junkie Girl’s old bikes in the garage, from which I was able to steal crankarms, pedals, and some wheels. I disassembled and reassembled both bottom bracket and rear hub, which were both a nightmare. Sealed cartridge bearings, two-piece cranks, and freehub bodies are so much easier to deal with.

I think I screwed up the rear hub, maybe even leaving out a bearing somewhere, because it would barely coast. And both wheels were significantly out of true. But as long as he kept pedaling, it worked OK. He was just happy to have something to ride. And I was happy to see him smiling as he pedaled around the track.

His old man did OK at the grownup race. I felt confident I would do well if it came to a bunch sprint, but I suspected a break would go and stick. A few attacks came and went, which I covered. Each time I did, things came back together. Then Eric E. from Bikefix took a flyer, and I knew he’d have some staying power.

I bridged up to him and sat in for a bit until I felt almost recovered. A guy from Ozone was with us. Ozone and I each took one or two pulls, then Eric pulled through again and accelerated slightly. Ozone fell off, then I got detached as well. We faded back and hoped that the group working together could bring Eric back.

We couldn’t. About half the field didn’t even realize there was a guy off the front, but I don’t know how much that would have mattered—Eric was riding strong and took the prime lap and the win. It was an impressive performance. I managed to stay out front on the bunch sprint and took second.

So far this season, I have two 2nd place finishes, three 3rds, two 4ths, a 5th, a 6th, three 7ths, two 8ths, a 9th, and three 10ths. But no wins. I would like a win, even just one. My results are more consistent than last year, but so far that top step of the podium has eluded me. Maybe next week the drought will end. At least that’s what I keep telling myself. I think if I finally win something, I may just call it a season and relax.

After the race I went to the park with my big, intimidating mag light and shined it in teenagers’ eyes while I questioned them about the bike. No leads. Just more stories of thugs vandalizing other kids’ toys besides my son’s. Ick.


  1. I would insist on lie detector tests and fingerprinting. On second thought, do you have any old Asian maintenance men hanging around that could help fix the bike and teach your kid Karate and how to care for a Bonsai Tree?