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Saturday, June 12, 2010


Vince brought the camera today...
(Actually yesterday - I guess it's getting late. 12:22 am)

His new friend.

I wanted to climb Mott Peak on the way back from our loop in Tilden Regional Park in Berkeley. We should have had about 15 miles of trails, and about the same of road riding behind us, and been heading home.

Didn't work out that way...

We climbed through Briones from the horse stables up over the top, along the ridge, and then down to the Bear Creek staging area. From there we were to spin over asphalt a few miles and climb up to Tilden. As we neared the Bear Creek parking lot Vince began muttering and acting strangely as if his bike had issues. Atypical to his style he came out of the saddle to come over the last hill, and I saw he was stuck in high gear. Definitely issues. Further inspection affirmed the worst ... broken derailleur cable - right next to the cable clamp.

After a little pondering we realized we could buy back enough length to get the cable back into the clamp by removing the last 6" section of housing. That solution came far too easy, so in putting it back together we bent the derailleur hanger for more excitement.

Not willing to improvise further we locked the Trek into low gear so that we could get out of the valley. What had been a 27 speed bike was now tamed to 3 - Vince's choice of 3 front chainrings (1st , 9th, or 18th gear). Unless he was headed downhill, his top speed was around 15 mph with a cadence that made you dizzy.

Continuing on toward Tilden seemed unwise, so we headed back via the Mott Peak trail. This climb gets me every time. I've climbed this before having walked only once, but today I was off the bike 3 times. I even tried following Vince's track, but still managed to spin my tire - stopping forward motion, and submitting to gravity. I think V. walked twice.

From the top of Mott it's nothing but down till the horse stables. Much of it is so steep that it doesn't matter what gear you're in - you're just trying to hang on and avoid confusing the front and rear brakes. (I've paid dearly for such a momentary lapse of braking judgment.)

But I wasn't done riding for the day and neither was V. We randomly decided to ride around the Crocket loop after I noticed that he had begun taking advantage of a few more cogs in the casette - increasing the options to 9 or 12 if he was willing to listen to the chatter. The road ride demanded far less hard shifting. We broke a record for the slowest ride around the loop.

Our final route bore little resemblance to the original plan. The derailleur modifications had effectively modified our route too. I got home earlier than planned, but enjoyed the adventure none the less.