I spent most of Wednesday prepping bikes and body for Ouachita. After making that last post (which, I noted, got a lot of “crickets” from the peanut gallery), I went for a quick spin, ate breakfast, then headed up to the shop to hang around and work on bikes. After getting Ryan’s Titus ready to go (wheel true, rear brake bleed), I left for a massage, then came back to work on my bike. Mine wasn’t quite as simple.
Remember my mention of XX shifting issues? I figured I’d try a few tips found on the internet and from conversation with Mike, the area Niner rep. This involved swapping my shift cables for non-coated, re-routing them to cross in front of the bike, and adjusting the B screw. This meant I needed to remove the crank, which I wanted to do anyway since the bottom bracket was so incredibly noisy during the 6 hour race.
I knew things weren’t going to be good when I had to wail on the crank with a rubber hammer to remove it. I quickly found the source of the noise- the BB30 bearings (especially the non-drive side) were partially seized and gritty feeling. Once I removed the CYA cups, I pulled the bearing seals. The bearings were filled with water (presumably from when I washed it earlier in the day). I had no idea that the seals were that loose, so it obviously wasn’t the first time they’d been fouled with water. Lucky for me, they weren’t rusted. I cleaned them as best I could, and re-packed them with grease. The drive side spins like a champ now, but I think that the non-drive bearing might not be so lucky.
The cable re-route was pretty straightforward. You have to remove the cover from the XX shifter to change cables out, which is annoying, but not difficult. The routing on the front end feels great. Unfortunately, the BB cable guide and piece of housing that runs through the chainstay creates a lot of friction for both derailleurs. If you grab a cable from the BB and shift before those parts are routed, there’s no drag on the cable. Once the cables are run through the guide in the BB and through the second housing, the drag is very apparent on both the front and rear. I really don’t want to run solid cable housing outside of the bike (or inside, for that matter- apparently some people are drilling their headbadge and doing that), but the shifting is already a little slow going to higher gears in the back. If it causes any more problems, I might have to go to solid housing as a last resort.
I finished my maintenance off with bleeding the X-loc on the suspension, which was previously feeling as if it was only working halfway. Today’s ride will tell if the efforts to improve the shift performance were successful. Unlike last time, when I was massively under-prepared for Spa City, I’m taking the Jet9 with me for backup. So, if my band-aid-ed bottom bracket decides to explode during tomorrow’s pre-ride, then I’ll have a plan B.
As far as body prep goes, I’m doing better than my bike. Yesterday’s tune-up ride yielded some nice power numbers and left me wanting more. The massage on Wednesday was excellent, and I believe will start to be a weekly addition to the my bodily upkeep. As the chiropractor said when he was laying in to one of many of the knots in my upper back- you’ve gone well past the point of exercising for health, and now it’s starting to break your body down. You have to be as vigilant in the maintenance of it as you are of the bike you race.