… The rat (or hen) dances on the table, or in my case, in the garage.
So Martin left for Spain (lucky bastard), and Maria left for Åre (lucky bastard), while I was left in Umeå with the flu. Yes, poor poor me. After two nights on the couch restoring my health, while recapping on horribly awful Hollywood series and eating absurd amounts of ice cream, I got that itch, that irresistible urge to get them hands dirty. So I decided that I was well enough to spend my Friday night at Martin’s garage.
You know, if you would have asked me 10 years ago if I would like to spend my Friday night in a garage… I would probably have thought that that sounded like a great idea, as long as there was beer and good music, AND if I knew what I was doing.
Problem is, I don’t really know what I’m doing. Or, more precisely, I don’t know what I know, you know? My self-confidence for mechanics is zero, so I have always kept someone who does know close by to supervise me. That way, I always have someone to turn to when I don’t know where I’m heading. This Friday, I had no one to turn to. Just myself.
I wasn’t about to do anything difficult, just replacing my, grips, my derailleur and my forks, but doing it all alone still felt a bit, well lonely.
Doing things on your own really has its merits though. Since you don’t have anyone looking over your shoulder, you get to do stupid mistakes without anyone seeing it. And you get to do them real sloooow (I always get completely stressed out that I’m doing things too slow when someone’s looking).
I made a lot of mistakes of course (real slow). For instance, forgot that when you change your derailleur, you have to cut your inner cable. I of couse had not remembered to buy a new one… Since all stores were closed, I had no option but to turn my attention to the new fork, my shiny new (well semi-new) Pike, that according to plan would get to work its black little ass in Bygdsiljum bike park on Sunday (Downhill premier, wohoo!).
Removing the old forks went splendidly well, so I patted myself on the shoulder and let out a quiet hurray.
As I pulled the old forks out, a thingie fell into my hands. I of course hadn’t taken the time to read any manuals before I started, so I had no idea what the thingie was. All I knew was that my hands got VERY dirty and sticky from it.
That, and that it didn’t fit my new forks.
I could see that it should be the right size, but the steerer of the new bike did not seem completely round.
God damnit! I do NOT have the confidence to start bending or hammering on various unknown thingies all alone in the dark!
So I settled with exchanging my grips. They are red. They were supposed to be the same color as the details on the stumpy. Supposed. Of course they weren’t. But at least I managed to get them in place.
Not a night of great success. But, still not that bad actually. In the midst of my misery, Karin came by the garage and had a beer, and so I got to chat about working on my bike, even though I didn’t manage to actually work it that much. 🙂
Yesterday, after a pep talk from my coach in Spain, and an inner cable, I had gathered enough strength to go back to the garage and finish the job.
Changing the derailleur was a piece of cake (ok ok, I misplaced the chain first, but after that.. ok ok, it took FOREVER, to get the gears to work smoothly, no ok ok, I didn’t get them to work smoothly because in the end I realized that the derailleur hanger was crooked, but THEN). I felt like a pro.
Then onto the forks.
Now that I knew what the thingie was (the upper bearing and compression ring) and that it was possible to divide it into parts, placing it on the new forks was a piece of cake. Ha! And the crown race was no problem either (not my doing, it had a split). I felt strong!
I was still too much of a coward to dare taking out the file to smooth out the steerer though, so the upper race and the stem gave me hell. I gathered all my mental strength and squeezed the upper race into place. But the stem just wouldn’t get its sorry ass in place. Gah!
But wait! As I was standing there, banging to get it into place, with sweat dripping down my nose, it occurred to me that the axle on my new fork looked surprisingly thin… That would probably not work with my front wheel hub. Nope. In fact, my front wheel hub was way to wide to even fit between the legs of the fork. I needed I different wheel.
Oh fuck it.
I decided to do it all backwards again and put the old fork back on the bike (and of course tune the break pads AGAIN. Yes, I had removed the brake the night before too, and put it back again), and just leave it be.
Not a huge success, again, but I got to figure out myself why things don’t work and what I need to make it work. Thats good. I like hanging out in the garage and be stupid. It makes me smart (smarter, less stupid, whatever).
With a too flu-infested body to go biking in the afternoon, I instead went down town to visit the newly opened Kulturhusfestivalen, that will be going on all autumn. A bunch of incredible people have taken over the old roundhouses that got left over when the railway was modernized, and turned it into a house for all. It is completely and utterly amazing and fabulous.
Oh, but wait (again), I am forgetting the best part. New forks or not, I got to go to Bygdsiljum bike park for my downhill premier today! I haven’t dared riding downhill before due to my ankles, but since I’ve now ridden down Ryfjället, I thought it was about damn time I got some verticals for free.
It was one of the absolute best riding days of the year. I was completely (completely) useless on the table jumps (I wasn’t even close, actually, I don’t think you can say that I jumped), but I managed to ride some seriously tricky parts of Östdroppet that I’ve never managed to do before. And the fear of failing that I usually have when I ride lift assisted was gone with the wind. It was just fun all the way through. Karin and Lena had a lot to do with that. Thanks girls for a fantastic day!