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P #90 Report
P # 90 - Jan. 22: Done!
I've been maintaining my early season training so I was looking forward to putting this ride behind me, number 11 in my P 12 quest. The weather looked 'OK', although not great with light showers in the forecast and temperatures in the +1 to +6C range. Both conditions very manageable. When I started the ride it was +2C and still dark. I was wearing my new multi-coloured light vest which I bought as a lark. A local neighbour who commutes the 15km to work in Chilliwack, has one. On the ride from the start, the 10+km to Yarrow the skies lightened up and it was dry. It is very common to hit rain showers along this stretch when it is dry all around. No sooner had I reached Yarrow that it started to drizzle. No worries, I had my light rain gear on. Usually once out onto the Sumas flats away from Vedder Mtn. the rain lets up and usually stops. As I approached my first control (Birchwood Dairy) the rain was not letting up, it was getting heavier. The rain gear was holding. Soon I went up Farmer Rd. and onto Huntington Rd., where it was pouring. Then some light showers - I could feel the water seeping through my 'light' raingear. Time to add more protection so I stopped under cover at the Canco gas station near the Abby airport. Too late - I was soaked and the temp was only +3C. Of course the rain stopped shortly after leaving there. I was freezing, but a novel sight drew my attention elsewhere as I turned onto O Ave. It has only been over the past 5 or 6 years that I've seen snow geese in the local fields, I guess it's getting too crowded for them at Reifel. A huge open field looked as if it was deep in snow, and I mean a HUGE field. I could see a man and dog walking towards them, and on-mass literally thousands of birds were airborne. The noise, the mass movement... spectacular!!!!
It has been a while since I've ridden through the industrial/warehousing area along 192St. I know the big boys, Walmark, UPS, Amazon, etc. have massive facilitates there, but what sort of small companies are filling the hundreds of small strip mall style buildings. They are obviously occupied but short of going up and reading the signage on the front office doors there is no clue to what they all do.
Anyway, the kilometers clicked off, through Ft. Langley (very quiet) then up and over the 264St. climbs and down onto the Matsqui Prairie. I had just turned onto Townshipline Rd. when I heard a snapping sound and the chain was off the chainring. There was the chain stuck into the derailleur and a loop of chain hanging down into the spokes. Holly Sh..... I did the usual - shift the front derailleur to get the chain to climb back up onto the big chain ring. It wasn't as smooth as usual as there was no chain tension, but it worked, so on I went. A short distance later I went to shift and momentarily took the pressure of the pedals and again the same situation. I stopped had a look at to see if I could determine what was happening, I couldn't see the cause. I should have looked harder. It would have saved me a lot of grief.
My route takes me along Gladys Ave. ( aka:Tent City Ave in Abby) onto Sumas Hwy, through the intersection with Marshall Rd. then onto Delair Rd where I turn east towards Whatcom Rd. This section is not bike friendly and it was extremely crowed and busy. Every time I hesitated my pedal stroke, the chain fell off. Not a good situation at ALL. I walked along Sumas Way, used the pedestrian X walks to get onto Delair where I could get the chain onto the front chain rings. By this point I had figured it out that if I never stopped putting at least some pressure on the pedals I could keep going. I had lost precious time. I would now have to ride much longing into the rapidly cooling night. 75km to go!!!!
I was not looking forward to climbing back into Cultus Lake (where I live) from the finish with a crippled bike so I called my wife to come and get me. As I was removing the rear pannier from the bike I saw that one of the tension cords (on the right side) that holds the pannier down and tight to the frame was gone. Darn I love this style of pannier. They are old and are no longer available. I assumed the missing parts had just failing off somewhere during the ride.
After every ride I tend clean the bike and to put it on the work stand. In this case I had an additional challenge, what had caused the derailleur problem. Interestingly, towards the end of the ride to problem seemed to self-correct. Once on the work stand I was rather surprised to see the missing components from my pannier jammed into the spokes. I thought I had heard a faint whirling sound at times. I now had a possible cause for the noise and the shifting/chain issues. The whirling noise was likely the result of the broken bungle/tension cord as it spun around flapping amongst the spokes. I suspect the shifting and chain issue was caused by the attachment buckle somehow jamming into the derailleur. The self-correction happened when it came loose and got caught in the spokes. As I said earlier, I should have inspected the derailleur more carefully when the problem first started.
All this finishes on several positive notes. I still have all my toes (the temperature dropped like a stone after 5pm), I finished the ride, and all the detached fastening hardware that broke loose was intact. There is an incredible Cobbler in Mission. I'll take the damaged pannier to him and ask, "Do you think you can repair this?". I'm 110% certain he will say, "YES"! You should see the amazing repairs he made to my worn out SIDI cycling shoes.