Sunday, July 20, 2014

"E Ticket Ride"

I have a large collection of pictures like the one below going back to 1996.....some of the faces are the same, but everyone always has a really big smile on their faces, because within seconds of these pictures being taken we know we are all going to be plunging headlong down trails we know like the collective back of our collective hands.  Even though we have ridden the "Off the Top" trail hundreds of times over 18 years we never get tired of it.....the views a 1,000 feet above timberline are long, big and spectacular!  Behind the group picture are the "Minarets".

Left to right: Ryan, Paul, me, Brenda and her son 
Dalton (I know, what a cool name, huh?)

My very good friend, and mountain bike buddy, Paul (on the right)

Brenda and Dalton

The "gang" in the gondola

Within a few minutes of the group picture I discovered I had two serious mechanical issues on my bike.....somehow between the time I handed my bike to the attendant to load in the gondola, and the time it was taken out of the gondola, the chain had been twisted (damaged) causing it to keep "jumping" gears.  This problem, all by itself meant I needed to replace the chain right away.  The second issue has been lurking for a few weeks now, but seemed to come and go.  The "issue" was at above 15 mph I would hear this loud "buzzing" sound emanating from my rear wheel's hub.  This day it began almost immediately, and would not stop.   So, here I was just 3 miles into the first run and I already needed to head directly to the Adventure Center bike shop for repairs.....ugggh!

I decided to take the direct route back to the bottom (the Kamikaze Run)'s very steep and requires a lot of braking, but cuts about 25 minutes off the run.  My friends continued on with the hope that by the time they reached the bottom I would be ready to go again.

Fortunately, my very good, long time friend, Paul, had had this issue happen to him (he has the exact same wheelset I do) and told me what to tell the bike shop to do to fix it.  I reached the bike shop in about 10 minutes, and was able to get my bike in quickly for repairs.  The bike mechanic ("wrench") removed the cassette from the rear hub and squirted some oil in to fix the "buzzing" sound, then installed the new and out in 10 minutes for $30.....:D

I was barely back outside when the "gang" arrived (love it when a plan comes together) and we continued on with our ride.  The rear hub made that "buzzing" sound a couple more times, but within a mile, or so it quit completely so I thought the "problem"  was fixed......the operative word here is "thought".

About 3 miles into our first run

We reached the "Village" in another 40 minutes, and boarded the shuttle bus for the ride back to the Adventure Center and another gondola ride back to the top.  As we began our second run of the day I was barely a 100 yards into the run when the "buzzing" returned with a vengeance, much to my dismay.  At almost the same instant Paul's bike developed an issue with the rear hub causing his chain to keep coming off the sprockets, so we both exited the trail for the Kamikaze trail and headed for his car.  First we got his problem fixed, and then he took my rear hub apart  to really lubricate the internal workings, and this time it worked.

Before heading back to the gondola we got a bite to eat at the Yodler Restaurant, and then were back on the gondola for a "real" run.  This time all worked perfectly and we had the run of the day, at least for me.  In all we rode 32 miles of downhill (with a little pedaling here and there).

We were back at Motel 6 by 4:30 with plans to meet at the motel office at 5 pm to walk up to the Village and have dinner at our favorite local Mexican place, Gomez'.  We sat outside for two hours, consuming a few Margaritas, brews, and chips whilst talking about the day's adventures and looking forward to Sunday's ride.  We'll ride from 9 am til Noon, and then head for our respective homes.

It was a great day of "E ticket" rides.....for those of you who are under 40, "E ticket" is a referenced to the Disneyland tickets for their best rides back in the 50's and 60's.  Each ride was graded from A to E with "E" referring to the best, most popular rides.

Thanks for stopping by!

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