First, the new Dura Ace 7900 10 speed compact cranks work GREAT with my 9 speed drivetrain. A few times I shifted under load from the big ring to the small ring and it shifted flawlessly--with the FSA crankset the chain would have jumped right off the cranks.
Now the bad news...well first an editorial. Luddite Grant of Rivendell may have a point when he bemoans lighter and lighter bike equipment that compromises on reliability. Of course this point gets lost in Grant bemoaning ad nauseam STI shifters and Lycra bike clothes and bike shoes and.... But with my FSA bottom bracket failing for the second time in 4 years and now my American Classic hub crapping out (Hugi hub cracked 2 years ago--but company nicely replaced the shell) , and with the Zero Gravity Brakes needing constant adjustment (company also replace one that fell apart) maybe it is time to add 50 grams and more quality to most bike parts.
Anyway having a great ride. Rode 4/5ths up Mines Road to the Junction (30 miles of mostly going up--semi steep in parts) in a paceline with our club's best sprinter, James (young Boonen), Super Joe, our best climber and Brother Joe, our most aggressive rider who will constantly attack. The pace was constantly high, especially when Sprinter James tried to get ride of Climber Joe. Fuck. After a long stay at the junction (thanks to our arrival 10 minutes before the pelaton--and I wedged into my DMD spot in the shade) we had a much more friendly group head up Mt. Hamilton the hard way; about a dozen miles of rollers with increasing severity and then 1 mile and 5 mile climb that is dotted with steep hairpins and other sections with NO tree cover.
I enjoyed the first warm day of the year, and started a sing along (will apologies to Isaac Hayes. )
Who is the man who can climb
up Mt. Hamilton in the BIG chainring
Can you dig it.
Who is the man who will sneer at flipping the
wheel of a fixed gear on Sierra Road
Ward decided to do spring cleaning--in a section with falling rocks he got them off the road. Near the top brother Vic was hurting and we gave him some (legal) drugs and then rode in together.
Up top Stephan/ June wanted to go down the other side of Hamilton and do a loop NOT involving Sierra Road but would still entail a long climb. I was partial to having an easy ride--going back the way we came--and maybe do some bonus miles toward Patterson--the only other road out of the Junction. Gradually everyone apart from Stephan/ June decided they wanted to do the out and back--but the decision was a long time in the making so some people gradually started back down. Ward, Chris and Retro Guy and I were last train to pull out.
Group shot from on top of Mt. Hamilton--oh that's right, only me (someone needs a haircut) as our usually cohesive bonus mile group quickly went down the toilet. (Photo by Wardocrazy)
Going back down Hamilton Livermore side is no fun--the steep climb up is now a twisty descent down with lots of gravel on the road. I didn't feel like I had good control of the bike, which was strange as I had a great ride down Diablo a few days ago. A few people from the Stockton Bike Club on the Road and they hook in with us , Ward and I doing moist of the pulling. We take a long time at the Junction--it's beautiful sitting in the Oak Grove and its kinda quiet--without the dozen motorcyclists that were here earlier in the day. Retro guy wonders why we don't all wear mirrors on our glasses like he does. I'm still thinking of Patterson but I'll have to solo and it is getting late--heck, we started a hilly Century at 9:00. So luckily I decide to ride out with the group and not do double bonus miles.
Out of the Junction is an annoying section, a long semi steep climb, but after a few minutes of loosening up it wasn't bad. Then a fast downhill where I had to ride hard to recatch the group, and when i went to the front I felt great and pulled for awhile until--MY BIKE STARTED SOUNDING LIKE A BROKEN WASHING MACHINE.
First I thought the new cranks or bottom bracket had exploded. When I couldn't "turn the radio up louder" to get rid of the noise we stopped. The noise was coming from the rear hub, and it looked like the cassette was about to fall off. But it was in tight with the lock ring. Retightened the wheel and started up again. As long as i wasn't pushing the pace it was OK but on the first roller when I gave it a little juice RRRRRRRGGGG. For the next few miles I coasted on the downhills and really soft pedaled on the uphill, but on one I wanted to get going and RRRRRRRRRRRRGGGG PPPPft---the chain spun but the wheel did not. Mile 84 and my ride was over--the remaining sections were mostly downhill and then flat. I pulled over under an Oak Tree, spread out my vest, and went to sleep for an hour while Ward went to get his truck.
While not happy that $200-500 will fly out the window dependant if the hub can be fixed or needs to be replaced--I was kinda lucky with the timing. The American Classic is my "event wheel" as its my lightest wheel for the climbs and the deep dish helps on the flats. Three weeks ago I did Devil Mountain Double on it. Two weeks ago I did Chico Wildflower on it. If it had 100 miles left on its life it would have crapped out on last weeks Santa Rosa Wine County Century but as raining I took my GT bike with a different wheelset. And I was going to use it next on the Davis Double next week, but used it today as it is the only wheel I have with an x27 cassette and wanted that for Mt. Hamilton. So if had to fail--today was the day for it, and near the end of our self supported century.
My new mantra--only
parts are going on my bikes! from now on (OK, PAUL for the fixed gear)
Whose the man who thinks components from
secondary vendors are shit
Oh shut your mouth.
No, we're talking about SHAFT!
Then sing it brother.