Thursday, September 20, 2007

Half day.

Photo: A new section of Turkey Creek Streamway Trail that includes one of the most terrifyingly steep grades I've ever seen in my whole life. I'm not sure who designed it. As fun as it is to tackle, I don't think it has any place on a recreational multi-use path.

My wife called me and she wasn't feeling well. I had Monday scheduled off, so I asked my boss if I could take two half days instead. With permission granted, I left at about 11:30 and headed home. I had to get my wife to her appointment at 2:00, so I wasn't in much of a hurry, but I did want to get home to make sure she's alright.

Once on Turkey Creek Trail, in preparation to tackle the evil climb shown above, I tested out the granny ring, and couldn't get it to shift in. Ugh. Roadside repairs: delightful. I busted out the Park MTB-3; I don't know what I'd do without it. It's that awesome.

The shift cable had plenty of slack, so that most likely meant that I had to adjust the low adjustment screw. When I went to adjust it, though, I noticed the whole front derailleur was loose. The bolt holding it to the bracket had backed out a bit, allowing the derailleur to wobble around. For the upper two chainrings, this was fine, but it was keeping the derailleur from aligning with the granny ring. I figured it would be best to tighten that up and see if it fixes the shifting problems. Tightening it didn't take away the cable slack, but I hopped on for about 50 feet and still couldn't get the granny ring to engage.

Long story short, I spent about 10 minutes on the trail fine-tuning both derailleurs and the cable stops, and my bike shifts better than ever before. It was 10 minutes well spent. I'm glad I switched to the granny ring, too. With a fully loaded bike, I would have needed one heck of a fast rolling start to climb that hill in my middle ring! As you can see in the photo, I didn't have enough room to build up any momentum without backtracking. Yes, that's my fault for stopping for the photo-op.

The trail extension leads to Switzer at about 71st street, then just dumps you out onto the road. I don't know if it will eventually cross Switzer and maybe eventually lead 2.5 miles west to connect to Blackfish Trail which connects to Mill Creek Trail already. If so, that'd be awesome. Get Indian Creek Trail in on it too, and you'd have a whole network of paths off the road, but they'd still be wildly inefficient for timely travel.

Instead of taking Switzer through the 79th street industrial park, I took Edgewood Blvd to Nieman. Edgewood is an interesting road. It's a separated boulevard. Two lanes on each side of a 15-foot (or so) median. BUT, each side of the median has two-way traffic. It's just a short, quiet residential street with an odd layout. From Nieman, I rode the rest of my route home as planned. I think I found a new favorite route home. I don't really like the monster climb on the trail, but it's only a few hundred feet and I could power up it every day if I had to. We'll see.

Random Tunage:
Art of Trance - Madagascar
York - Fields of Love

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