Tapering: My near disaster with my bike

This week, on Tri Talk Tuesday, I talked about Tapering. I mentioned a few tips on what to do and what not to do during your taper. What I failed to mention, but a fellow blogger, Cynthia did mention was NOT to tinker with your bike’s intimate parts. Guess what we did this week with my bike? That’s right……LOTS of tinkering with intimate parts! AND it was almost a major disaster!!

I mentioned last week how John and I were changing a few things on my bike to make it better able to climb hills. One of those things was changing out my Q-ring crank for a compact crank. This kind of crank is more conducive to biking up hills, and I’m going to be biking up a LOT of hills in Syracuse! Unfortunately, a compact crank is difficult to find, so we had to search on Ebay for a few days before we found one at a somewhat decent price. It FINALLY arrived on Monday, and we thought it would be a quick fix and I’d be testing it out on Tuesday. WRONG! IMG_1109[1]

Basically, what happened was we couldn’t get the one side of the crank to screw all the way into the other side. There was space between the ends of the crank and the bike-so when you pedaled, it wobbled back and forth. Not good. We took the crank to a bike mechanic friend of ours that night to see what he could do. He thought the nut on the crank needed to be loosened in order to screw it on the whole way. So, he tried to loosen it, but ended up tightening it. AND stripping it! It wasn’t his fault-we probably would have done the same thing. IMG_1112[1]

We left his garage with advice to purchase a specific hex wrench that would better be able to loosen the nut. We searched two hardware stores with no luck. Finally, we ended up ordering the tool from amazon.com and had it over-nighted.

The huge 16mm hex wrench we had to buy!

The huge 16mm hex wrench we had to buy!

The hex wrench arrived yesterday afternoon. I immediately took it and our crank set back to our bike friend who agreed to help. Unfortunately, we only succeeded in stripping the nut more…..

Using a vice grip in an attempt to loosen the nut....not happening.

Using a vice grip in an attempt to loosen the nut….not happening.

John decided to take the crank set to a local bike shop and see what they recommended. They advised us to purchase a larger bottom bracket (what the crank goes into) and a spacer so that the crank wouldn’t wobble. This was now our only hope, so he purchased these from the bike store and installed them on the bike.

Our life-saving spacers!

Our life-saving spacers!

Several hours later, after installing a new bottom bracket, spacers, moving the chain guard, and the derailleur down, it appears I have a fully functioning compact crank on my bike! I’m taking it for a test drive this morning, so wish me luck! If it doesn’t work, I’m stuck with my much larger bike crank for the race, and my legs are going to have to work really hard to get up those hills!

It was a pretty stressful three days, that’s for sure!

Have you ever made some VERY last minute changes on your bike that didn’t turn out so good for you?

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