Thursday, August 18, 2011

Risky Business

In my last post, I lamented about the fork failing on my daulie again. I needed to ship that bike out to Colorado in advance of my trip. So Sunday I tore the fork down, and sure enough, the top-out spring was broken. This is the second time in about a year I've experienced this odd failure.

I called Fox to order another air shaft assembly (you can't order just the small spring). Next day delivery was needed, but because I was so tied up at work, I didn't call in time to make Monday shipment, so I wouldn't get the part until Wednesday night. I needed to ship my bike the next day. A major fork overhaul with zero riding time on it before a big week of riding is risky business.

The rep at Fox was quite willing to answer my questions, like why this keeps failing. He asked what I weigh and what pressure I run. I do tend to run my air forks firm. Apparently these top-out springs don't like firm and Fox is serious about setting a minimum amount of sag. They don't have warranties on replacement parts, but he offered a 50% discount since I just bought one of these about a year ago. That was cool.

While I was at it, I replaced the top seals and wipers. Fox seals are notorious for leaking. I bought Enduro Fork Seals, which are claimed to be a much more robust two-part sealing system.

I wasn't in the best of moods (more on that in a moment) putting the fork back together. I use a food baster syringe to measure out exact amounts of hydraulic fluid. It was binding something fierce, probably because prior exposure to oil cause the rubber plunger to expand. While extracting oil from a bowl with considerable force, the rubber plunger on the end of the syringe piston pulled free. Of course, my hand flew into the bowl of oil, flipping it at high speed, spraying a pint of oil all over my bike and shop floor. How Cathy upstairs didn't hear the tirade that followed is beyond me.

Eventually I got the lower and upper chambers filled. Aired the fork up. No immediate fluid leaks. Seemed to hold air. Time to box up for FedEx. I sure hope I don't have a puddle in my box with a flat fork when I get to Colorado Springs in a week.

My fork just before boxing up bike. Maybe third air shaft
assembly will be a charm. Top-out spring is smaller spring
inside the bigger spring.

So what possibly might have had me in a foul mood to begin with? My weight is down 8 lbs the hard way. Think in terms of unplanned colon cleansing. Seems I picked up a nasty bug a couple days ago. In two days, I've lost eight pounds from a recent high. This really sucks, as I have the second hardest MTB race I have ever attempted this weekend. I cannot race if I'm severely dehydrated. I've been ok so far today, so there is hope for Sunday.

I cannot think of anything I ate that would have triggered this. The last time I had a bout of back door trots like this was in 2003. It was the same week in fact, and I missed the Mt Washington Hillclimb race because of it. What struck me as odd when I reviewed my training log from back then, was that I rode in rain at lunchtime before I fell ill that same evening. I've long known that all kinds of nastiness flies up into your face from wet roads. On Tuesday of this week, I rode in the rain, and by that evening, I was not feeling well. Coincidence, or is there a causal connection? There is a lot of dead animal juice on the road when it rains. Some of that goes in your mouth and up your nose. I use a flamingo fender on the back on an as-needed basis, but maybe it's time to do something for the front wheel too.


DaveP said...

Thanks for sharing your colon while eating my breakfast.

CB2 said...

Stop doing intervals on the road to the sewage plant!

Hill Junkie said...

Dave, I had a graphic metaphor involving outdoor faucet in mind just for you, but I wanted to spare my readers.

Charlie - Ha! Nearly every lunch ride goes past the Merrimack treatment plant. Hard to avoid, since my work campus is pretty much across the street from it. On calm mornings, the air can be nearly unbreathable getting out of the car. I never see traffic going down the hill to the plant though. Has to be the dead critters on the road. There are lots of them. Winter riding has advantages - no dead animal juice in the face.