Saturday, December 18, 2010

Wednesday: MIA

I went for a nice sunny ride up to Beals on Tuesday, except when I got up on Wednesday and went to RSVP yes for the Beatty Dr climbing practice ride on Thursday, I found out it was already Thursday and I had already missed the ride. What happened to Wednesday?  Can I have it back? It was a nice sunny day, even if the wind was pretty cold, and now it's rain, rain, rain again for 4-5 days.

Not wanting to risk dehydration, I left the windbreaker at home and went with a PI vest and heavy, long-sleeve jersey. I think that would have worked if I'd worn leg warmers, but as it was, though nice and sunny, it was a COLD ride, especially up at Beals where the cold wind coming off the lake cut like a knife.

I have a secret spot at Beals though. Right as you come in, on the left side, over behind the concessions area, there's a spot where the flower bed meets the building, and the afternoon sun beats on the cinder-block wall while the building completely blocks the wind. The roof hangs over the block wall, trapping the sun's warmth, while shielding it from the wind. The flower bed is mulched, which makes a nice insulator for the backside while sitting in it. It's a little slice of heaven on a cold day - as long as the sun is shining.

I broke out a PowerBar, took off my helmet to let the sun hit my black balaclava, pressed my back against the warm cinder-block, and watched a few runners dash into the bathrooms half frozen. I can't think the toilets were very comfortable at those temps either.

After 10 minutes or so, I'd gnawed through half the bar, swallowed some water, and decided to push off and make some heat before the sun got too low. As I clipped in I pointed a half-frozen couple running up to the drinking fountain to my secret spot and saw them break out in smiles as they huddled together and waved me off. I guess the secret is out now!

As it turned out leaving early was a good choice, as I ran over some glass somewhere around Negro Bar, and had to stop at the Aquatic Center to replace my tube. I finished up in 7-8 minutes, with the bike upside-down on a picnic table in the last rays of sunshine.

I was pretty chilled when I got home, and ran the heat at 80 degrees for an hour before I warmed up again. I could tell from the Garmin trace my cold legs weren't making as much power either, but it was still very nice to be out riding on a nice, sunny day.

Shimano rear hubs are a 2 piece assembly. Note the radial spoking on the non-drive side.

With rain coming down steadily yesterday, I decided to repack my mtb rear hub. I picked up a nice pair of Park Tools 15 & 17 mm cone wrenches from Performance Bike Shop, (who didn't know they had them when I spoke with them on the phone) as my neighbor wasn't home, and I wanted to get the bike out of the dining room.

The drive-side bearing cup is also a bearing cone!
Almost on a fluke I ended up looking at Park Tool's instructional site on repacking hubs, and found a most unexpected procedure - which works great. You mount the wheel OUTSIDE of the rear dropout, using the non-drive-side dropout and quick-release to hold the wheel and compress the axle. If I hadn't experienced it myself I would never believe how much a steel axle compresses! The bearings go from loose to snug (well, perfect by the time you're done) just by closing the QR.

All done, and happy to have it done. After 15 yrs the grease was separating into oil that was gone, and wax that remained, but the hub, cups, cones and seals were in perfect condition. Shimano has great quality,  and excellent seals. The freehub body is a sealed unit, so left that alone. Unlike my Alex hub that came stock on my road bike, the bearing cup is actually part of the freehub body on Shimano. An interesting design. Alex and Bontrager are the same system - probably both made by Alex in Taiwan.

I used FinishLine grease, but when squeezing it out of the tube, oil that had separated was coming out along-side of the rest of the grease. This is not good, especially since I just bought the grease. I finished up with Mobile 1 synthetic grease, which is also tackier, so holds the balls better. FinishLine makes a pure PTFE Teflon grease which I may try, but I will not use this grease again.

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