I was back to my routine today – up at 06.00, and on the road by 07.00. I was glad to be on the go again, having spent a while sidelined by my mehanical problems.
After getting out of Springfield city itself I made really good time – although there were some nasty climbs they were short, and I felt fresh after a day off. It was cool again this morning, but not cold as it had been, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky – perfect conditions. I reached Golden City, way over half way to Pittsburg (my destination) by 12.00, and decided to stop for lunch. On an whim I decided to try ‘Cookies Café’ – as it turns out they keep a cyclist log book, signed by transam riders going right back to the mid 90’s. It was great to read other riders stories, and see just how many people ride this route. From the book, I gathered that Cookies Café is an anticipated highlight for a lot of riders – so I was really lucky just to stumble upon it. The book also showed that I am only the fourth person to come through there this year – confirming reports from other places that I has been a slow start to the year on the transam trail. Cory and Tom passed by on the 21st of April, and Mark on the 25th. So Hopefully I’ll catch up with them at some point.
Throughout the morning I had felt something was not quite right with my rear wheel, but I couldn’t put my finger on the problem and thought that I might just be a bit paranoid after the problems I’ve had over the last couple of days. I had covered most of the days ride by lunch and so decided to continue on to Pittsburg and get it checked out at a bike shop when I arrived. According to the map I only had 30 miles to go until I arrived – this wasn’t taking into account road works. About 10 miles after I had left Golden City, I passed a sign advertising that the road was diverted – I decided to ignore it. 9 times out of 10 you can get through these kind of road works on a bike where you couldn’t in a car. The road was fine for 6 miles, and then … It vanished – the entire road had been taken up. I had no choice but to turn around and follow the diversion. The diversion + my aborted atempt to push through added about 20 miles to the day.
When I rejoined the route my bike was in really bad shape – it was rocking from side to side really badly, and was making a lot of noise. I had no choice but to push on, and resolve to take it to the bike shop when I got there. By the time I stopped for a brake on the side of the road about 10 miles outside of Pittsburg I had slowed up a lot – my bike was almost unridable, and I was tired having already riden 115 miles courtesy of the diversion. I was just about to set off again, when a local student pulled up in his truck and asked me if I was OK – when he heard my predicament he offered to give me a lift into town. I accepted, and as it turns out he was a cyclist himself and knew what it’s like to be stranded. The only downside to this was that I drove over the Kansas boarder, and so couldn’t take a photo of the ‘Welcome to Kansas’ sign – at least I’m now on state 5/10! With his help I was at the shop in no time. One look at my bike and the guy in the shop could tell it was in bad condition – despite a complete overhaul a day before.
I went on a ride around the block with him so he could see what the problem was – as I was riding along he moved on his bike all around me, like a giant fly, looking at different things and coming up with a diagnosis. He is now going to completely re-build the wheel I bought yesterday, and is going to reinforce my rack – which he said was about to collapse – and will address a creak that has developed since my bottom bracked was cleaned out. He says that the wheel wasn’t constructed too well, and all the nuts holding the spokes in place had loosened. Finally he is going to adjust my gears, as apparently the other shop didn’t do it right! He tells me that on the route that I’m going there are no more bike shops for 700 miles; so I REALLY hope that the problem can be solved this time around. The upshot of this is that I am going to have to stay here tomorrow while he repairs my bike. The shop has also given me a bike on loan, so at least I can get around town easily enough. Although it is a mountain bike that is way too small for me – which is a bit of a change from riding my loaded bike.
At least I’m going to be well rested by the time I get going again.