Don’t Fix What Ain’t Broke

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2020 TRAINING

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WEEK 14 – June 15 > June 21, 2020

IRONMAN TRAINING IN THE TIME OF PANDEMIC – PART XIV

A few weeks ago I talked about how my bike was making some clicks, groans, and other annoying noises that I should probably address before they become bigger issues, and as I rode this week it seemed like they were really noisy to me, so I decided to see if I could figure some of them out.  I had heard some people say that the bike shops have 2-3 week backlogs in servicing bikes due to the shops dealing with Covid-19 crazy people who all of a sudden need to have their bikes fixed so that they can ride during the pandemic.  I figured that I have enough skill to handle fixing a bike.  It’s not a car for Pete’s sake. What’s the worst that can happen?

Since most bike noises are bearing related and usually just require some cleaning and repacking with grease, the front fork seemed like it would be a good starting point and something I could easily tackle before I attempt to deal with the chain, derailleur, bottom bracket, and wheel axles.  I probably shouldn’t have.

I often say that I am handy enough to be dangerous.  I know I’m not my father.  My dad was a “jack-of-all-trades” kind of guy, and a master of many.  He could pretty much do anything.  He wasn’t afraid to build an addition to the house, or put on a new roof, or build a small shed/barn.  And as a pipeline welder, he was pretty skilled.  He always said that he could weld anything – anything except a broken heart and a butt crack.  That always got a chuckle out of me as a kid.  He also had another saying though – “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  I think every dad probably has said that.  That is pretty good advice.

Technically, my front fork wasn’t broken, but I felt that if I let the popping sound I heard when I turned the handlebars go for too long it could lead to something bad.  So disassembly began by unscrewing a bolt that holds a plastic cap on over the top stem of the fork and covers a couple of bolts that are responsible for holding the handlebars on.  Yes, two bolts clamp the aero bars to the fork.  Not bolt the bars to the fork, but clamp them to it.  You would think that would not be enough to handle the forces that I apply to the bars while riding but somehow they do.  Then the fun began.

Two metal spacer pieces needed to come off and they decided to be a giant pain in the ass.  As I tried my best to not mar them up with pliers, I twisted them back and forth to loosen them and move them up and off the top of the fork.  But they didn’t really want to come off by twisting.  Time to apply a little “persuasion”, and I grabbed a rubber mallet.  That seemed to be working but with every blow to the fork, I was extremely nervous about damaging a very expensive carbon fiber bike frame and fork.  I eventually graduated to using a big screwdriver and prying in my attempt to remove them.  The top one came off pretty easily but the second one required a lot more work but eventually relented and came off.  Under the second one there was another piece that the bearings seemed to be attached to and it for sure wasn’t budging any further.  It was awkwardly shaped enough that any tool I had really wasn’t effective.  So I decided that maybe I should stop before I break something really expensive and admit defeat.  With a couple inches of play now I had room to at least clean the areas where the bearing housing sits on the frame on both the top and underside of the frame, added a dab of grease to the area, and claimed a minor victory.  Then I tried to put it back together.  It was at this point I realized that I should have let a sleeping dog lay, and never messed with it in the first place.  More persuasion with the rubber mallet took place, a pinched finger resulting in a pretty good blood blister occurred, some touch-up paint applied to my now badly scratched up spacers, and with some patience which I don’t normally have, I got the thing back together.

In the end, things seem to have turned out okay.  I relearned that some jobs should probably be left to the pros no matter how long it takes.  And by some stroke of luck, I no longer hear the loud click when I turn the handlebars.

~~~swim~~~bike~~~run~~~repeat~~~

The rest of the week went a little like this:

I opted to do the Monday hour-long swim instead of doing a 30-minute swim on Tuesday and Thursday.  It went okay, but it did wear me out a little.  I think I may alternate my swims by doing one hour-long swim one week and do the two 30-minute swims the next week.  I think it may be beneficial to get used to that hour of suffering.  And I wasn’t too bored to death.

My Saturday three and a half long ride started out okay but ended kind of bad.  The wind direction was favorable for a change and I got at it early (around 6:45am) to beat the heat and the crowded trails.  I had plenty of fuel and water and was hydrating well, but around 2.5 hours into it I could feel the bonk coming on and the heat was getting to me.  But just 10 minutes after that my rear tire went flat just like a week ago.  Not sure what caused it, probably a pinch flat.  Fortunately, there was a shady, grassy area nearby and I took my time to recover a little while I changed the tube.  When the job was done I got back to riding but I wasn’t in a good place.  About 15 minutes from home I rolled by a newly built home that wasn’t yet occupied and refilled my water bottle with cold water from the hose bib.  When I got home I skipped the 30-minute post-ride brick run and opted to rehydrate and cool off in the pool.  I basically staggered into the pool.  After a nap and some lunch, I felt good enough to do an easy 30 minutes of jogging.

I think the bonk was the result of dehydration and a little bit of heat exhaustion.  I was drinking, had salt capsules and really wasn’t overdoing it.  I just wasn’t exceeding my sweat rate with water consumption, I guess.  And the heat was just adding to the issue.  I did 2019 Ironman Chattanooga in 13:37 with 95 degree temps that felt hotter and did not feel like this.  Training is not just doing the workout; it’s not just swimming, biking, and running.  It’s also about learning to recognize the external factors and adapting, too.

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Thankfully I found some shade to do this repair.

The Tuesday run was fine and I texted my Gunner teammates that it felt effortless.  Wednesday’s bike/run brick wasn’t so effortless though.  I think I jinxed myself.  On Friday I ran for an hour and it called for 7.5 minutes of Z4 after 45 minutes.  I did fine on that but I think intervals longer than 3 minutes are tough for me to do because my mind will eventually wander, and my tempo will fall off and then all of a sudden I will realize – “Oh Yeah!  I’m supposed to be running hard right now!”  I’d rather do 2 X 3.5-minute repeats with a minute jog in between.  My mind can handle that I think.

 

TOTALS FOR WEEK 14:

  • Swim:  1 / 3000 yards
  • Bike:   3 rides  /   95 miles
  • Run:   5 runs  /  30 miles
Gunners-2-1
Next week – I attempt to fix the bottom bracket!  Happy Father’s Day!

Author: Ironman Chris

Family, running, triathlon and drumming are my things.

4 thoughts on “Don’t Fix What Ain’t Broke”

  1. Congratulations, I understand a bit how this feels. Yesterday, I repaired my bike and not because the shops are overflowing with people but because the only bike repair shop here is 18.3 miles away when there is no traffic, but when there’s traffic, it’s 5+ hours away.

    I figured since I have a bike, I might as well learn how to fix my own thing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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