Thursday, May 10, 2012

Cinco de Chaino

Exchanging Greetings at the Ride Start in Manchester
After a week of what seemed like steady rain, we caught a break last Saturday for a relatively dry Cinco de Mayo ride in Manchester. A few leftover sprinkles left the pavement wet at the ride start, but soon gave way to partly sunny skies and drier roads ahead. It was great to see some old friends at the ride start, renewing acquaintances and making new ones, and we set off up Rt.17 toward Readfield.

We stopped to regroup at the end of Scribner Hill Road, removing layers as it warmed up.
Regrouping after climbing the ridge along Scribner Hill Road
We made our way over to Wing's Mills, past some early season fishermen on the dam. Up to this point it had been a very pleasant, uneventful ride, but as we entered into the hilly home stretch, I had what might be described as a "multiple mechanical failure." It was as sudden as it was unexpected.

As I started up a steep pitch, I went to shift onto a small chainring and (a) nothing happened (except some excessive chain chatter), which (b) stopped abruptly as the chain snapped, as (c) I did also, just managing to free a foot to set down without toppling over. Everyone ahead was by then out of earshot, but I was unfazed, as I was prepared (as ride leader) with a chain tool. Or so I thought. With an increasing multitude of black flies swarming about, I discovered that: (d) the damn chain tool didn't work. Fortunately Ray and Jane came along, and: (e) Ray had no more luck getting the chain tool to work than I, which didn't solve anything but my feelings of ineptitude. Ray offered to ride on ahead with my car keys, fetch my car and return, which would enable me to make my daughters' piano recital in time, and really keep me out of hot water. Meanwhile, I packed up the broken chain and balky chain tool, and set off to practice my "scooter bike" technique, coasting down the hills as far as I could stretch them. By this time everyone who had finished the ride was wondering where I was, and several folks drove up alongside me as I was merrily coasting down hills, and I reluctantly had to stop. I almost finished the ride sans chain, which would have been something to boast about. But I was just as glad for all the assistance. Certainly made for an eventful ride! I'll have to follow up with a technical report in a later post. Till then, be with us next time, Saturday, May 12, in East Vassalboro, where Jeanine will get her chance to be ride leader. Hopefully just as interesting, but not quite so eventful. See you then!

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