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May. 10, 2007
All knotted up
Jeff takes a stab at fixing Scott's chainThis is what happens when you sneak out of the office for an afternoon ride in the Berkeley Hills. Jeff fills us in on their adventure...

knot: noun 1: an interplacement of the parts of one or more flexible bodies forming a lump or knob. 2: something hard to solve. 3: Scott W's chain after descending down Wildcat Canyon Rd.

It's a beautiful, sunny day, with a small amount of fog expected to burn off—perfect for our morning ride. There's something about getting out mid-week for a nice 2-hour bike ride.

Once past Inspiration Point in Tilden Park, we're greeted with a spectacular descent down Wildcat Canyon Rd. to San Pablo Dam Road, perfect for watching riders ahead of me drop into tight corners and accelerate out of them.

As we make the final turn, I glance over my shoulder to make sure we've all made it down the hill safely and see Scott, standing over his bike, looking down at his compact crank as if it's just turned into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight. I roll up and notice his fingers are covered with a nice layer of grease. 

Imagine adding some 10W30 (or 40 depending upon what's in your garage) to your chain without ever removing the old dirt-laden WD40 from previous rides, and you get a pretty good idea of what Scott's chain looked like. "Have you ever seen this happen?" he asked.

all knotted upSomehow, while pedaling downhill he managed to twist his chain into not one, but 2 loops, kind of like that puzzle with the two nails bent around each other that you have to somehow separate without the aid of a hacksaw. Eric suggested we get both loops close together and untwist them at the same time—works perfectly. I wipe as much of the lube off my hands with whatever vegetation I can find, being sure to avoid the freshly-bloomed poison oak, and we're on our way…for about 100 yards. 

While looping his chain, Scott also managed to severely mangle a link to the point that he can't pedal the bike. Since I'm already covered in grease, I jump into action—this time with a scrap of paper that Pat found to keep my hands "clean(er)"—and bend the link enough to allow Scott to finish the ride.

At this point, we warn Scott to take it easy and not punch it at all because his chain could easily snap. He manages not to disappoint us and proceeds to go for all of the "non-sanctioned" sprints…just like we expect him to. Although, due to some team tactics, Pat and I manage to take him on the infamous 'John McCrosky Road Sprint'… a much-deserved reward for fixing Scott's bike all day.

I hope Scott (I mean Eric) gets his bike up and running in time for the Friday morning group ride.

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We like getting our heart rates up, taking a big breath of fresh air, savoring delicious food. But we also love telling stories and here's where we type 'em up. (BTW, it works both ways; leave a comment—please and thank you.)

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