True to my word, I am still easing back into logging trail miles on the mountain bike. Once again I headed to good ol reliable Gainesville College Trail, determined to do at least two passes this time around no matter how bad the bike was running.
Holy crap it was beautiful out! On the downside, I decided to wear there funky yellow lens glasses I found at Duncan Creek for some reason, AND I didn’t wear my contact lens, so the whole world looked flat and gold. This ouldn’t be too bad except that the leaves are in full fall effect at GCT now. The trail was covered, and most of them were yellow! Riding leave covered trails is not that easy….well, its easy until you wreck. The thing is, the leaves are -just enough- to cover roots that may cock your tire a way you arean’t expecting, so you have to be careful. Not a problem for me…I was creeping as usual.
Right away the shifting bullshit started. It feels like it the chain clunks ahead about 4-5 teeth every time I give it some power. When it happens I try to look down to see if it really is the chain skipping or if the whole freehub mechanism is skipping ahead, but I can never catch it at the right time. I’m going to have to have someone ride behind me and tell me I guess. I tried to have a very “flow with the water instead of against it” attitude…so I resorted to the dropping it into the granny up front, but it didn’t stop the problem. As soon as I could I put it back in the middle ring and left it there for the rest of the ride. I’m not fond of the granny at all anymore, but I know I’ll need it on more demanding trails.
Over the course of the ride I left a bunch of negative energy on the trail. Biking therapy. You know what I mean. I always feel better after a ride.
After I finished the first pass I decided to try and work with the derailluer tension adjustment and see if I could make matters better. I’d tried everything else that doesn’t require a visit to the shop, so why not? First I tried it with a LOT of tension on it, so that the chain was only in contact with the big rear cog about 40% of the surface area. By halfway through the second loop I decided this was sucking balls, so I tried adjusting it to the other extreme. This seems to be working out the best so far! I actually finished the ride with only one or two more kerchunks, and it all seemed to dial in a litttle by way of farting with the barrel adjuster. I know there is a sweet spot where everything will come together, because I had it working great previous to having the rear triangle replaced. I’m getting closer.
Overall, I’m glad I went. There are still a bunch of issues with the bike…the slop in the rear triangle, the silly fork, the not quite fixed yet shifting problem…but whatever, I still had fun. I think what I need to admit to myself is a matter of this bike not aging well. It’s only a $800 bike, and I have thrashed the hell out of it, so I guess I shouldn’t expect it to last a lifetime. I would like to get one more summer out of it though.
For the first time in months I have stats to put into the riding speadsheet! Yay for effort.
If you are in the Atlanta metro or north Georgia area, I hope you get a chance to ride today, the weather is unbelievable.