More 200km brevet aftermath stories

I like the local Sports Basement. See, Sports Basement is kind of like Trader Joes meets REI. They carry a variety of stuff for sporting-oriented folks but don’t specialize on any one thing like REI. But they have Trader Joe’s style selection. I used to live near one and you’d always be able to find some eggs or milk or certain things, but they’d get a deal on some product and have a bunch of them for cheap.. and then a month or two later, they’d all be gone. Same way with Sports Basement..

They also have the positive thing of being open late, which means that if something goes wrong on the way home.

It didn’t look that out of whack, but it turns out that my Rear Derailleur got it as well in the crash. I’d figured that it just needed adjustment after everything, but then I found I couldn’t get it back into adjustment. I looked at the pulley arm and found that it was bent.

SLX Derailleur

I’d never replaced a derailleur, but it didn’t look especially hard, so I just ordered a new SLX one online that moved in the traditional (not rapid-rise) direction just like the nothing-special Shimano Alivio rear derailleur that was now broken.

SLX contains “trickle down” technology from the XT and XTR groups. This means that there’s not a loop of cable housing anymore, it pretty much just goes straight from the last cable anchor to the derailleur. And it sticks out a little less so, in theory, it’s less likely to get caught on stuff. Furthermore, they took the cable adjuster to adjust the indexing away. This lets them claim it weighs less and, in my book, serves no practical benefit.

Coincidentally, my brake/shifter levers also omit the adjusting barrel so that everything’s a little cheaper. Thus, I ended up having no way to adjust the indexing outside of loosening the cable anchor and moving cable in and out. So, for a week or two, I rode with a poorly adjusted derailleur.

Then, once I picked up an adjuster barrel, I managed to fray the end of the shifter cable such that it wouldn’t go in and out of the ferrules correctly anymore. I couldn’t get it out of the plastic shifter, so I kinda took it to Sports Basement and hoped for mercy about getting help (because I’m sure the mechanics absolutely to fix up other people’s mistake). It turns out that there’s a super-secret shifter handshake with the pliers to get stubborn shifter cables out, but I still had to play the “I shop here frequently and even had a custom wheel built here” card to coax the guy to show me the secret trick to getting stubborn cables out.

I’ve been kinda fighting with patellar tendons in my right knee. The patellar tendons are the ones that run along side the kneecaps and connect to the quads. I’ve been laying down a lot of muscle in my quads in the past two years. You can see those muscles when I’m wearing shorts. But it tends to be that you don’t grow tendons nearly as fast as muscles… which is one of reasons why they tell you to be careful about how fast you add mileage.

I’m not sure if I’ve got a good answer and solution for it as of yet. With the saddle in one particular position, I’m fine. If I raise the saddle, I can ride faster, but then my tendon starts to give me trouble. I spent a bunch of time screwing around with things before I returned things back to the initial config and gave up on it. Which made the problem go away.

I’m trying to figure out if this means that I just shouldn’t bother raising my saddle any further or if, once I’ve given my tendons time to build up, I’ll be able to creep the saddle up and be OK.

Finally, and I’m working on this, I tried replacing my stock saddle with a replacement from REI. Except that, while it was better in many ways, it’s not quite right, so I had to take it back. I’ll write more on that later.