Wednesday, April 15, 2009

this hasn't been my week

this hasn't been my week, for serious.

I hope bad things do come in threes, because yesterday rounded out #3.

It all started when I walked out to my car to head to work last Monday... I notice that the Gas Door is open - Strange. I look in the window, the contents of my glovebox are strewn about the front seat/floor and the center console's contents are in the driver's seat. Fantastic.

I unlock(at least they didn't want anyone else getting in!) the car and cram everything back into it's spot, trying to figure out what was missing... hmm. Electric Razor, Maui Jim Sunglasses, Thule Rack Key (you think you're clever!), Watch, $20 emergency gas cash, two umbrellas (it was sleeting that night), and a bike multitool.

Nice little haul amounting to $750 or so.

I replaced the Thule locks that night so I wouldn't come out to find the rack missing the next day.

The rest of the week wasn't too bad - managed to ride almost 265 miles with little problem, until mile 264.7, three blocks from home. I'm just south of Belmont on Sheffield and reaching for a water bottle when the perfect storm of who-knows-what broadsides me with some serious instability. Feeling the pending loss of control, I put my left hand onto the bars as quickly as possible - right on top of my powertap computer. Anyone who's ever used a powertap has probably wondered how durable that bracket is. Notsomuch.

Powertap bracket snaps, sending my hand over the bars and my right hand forward, shoving the front wheel to the left and my shoulder into the pavement. Two wheels untrued, derailleur hangar bent. I drag myself up out of the street, snap my Garmin back onto my handlebars (it popped out of the bracket also), and find my powertap computer in the other lane, smashed. Fantastic.

After I'm home and cleaned up, time to get the bike back in action. The trusty cross bike helps me get the Stallion Hed Ardennes into Roscoe Village Bikes (fantastic shop, btw) to be trued up (same-day, RAWK!) then head out in search of a derailleur hangar. After hitting 3 or 4 shops, it's apparent I need to order one. The crazy italian guy over at Pet Ego who's responsible for our team's fantastic relationship with Hed and Max Lelli says he's got some on the way from Italy, it'll just be a few days.

Easter Sunday, I head out on the Cafe Deluca ride on my 'B' bike, the orange Cannondale. No incidents.

Tuesday, I head to xXx Sprint Practice down at Northerly Island, where Coach Randy takes us through various sprint drills. On the 6th sprint of 7, I was to be trackstanding at the line when another rider passed me, then I had to accelerate and catch his wheel. Since I was on my 'B' bike with my always-before-stable Mavic Open Pro/Ultegra Hub wheels, I gave no thought whatsoever to putting every ounce of effort into catching The Car Whisperer as he blasted past me at the start line. About ten kicks into the acceleration, I hear a bunch of sad bike noises and a loud crack as I am hurled over my handlebars, my face and helmet smashing into the ground. Ow. Face + Asphalt at 26mph.

Instincts kick in immediately and I get up and drag myself out of the "street" (we were on a closed course) to go sit on the curb. As I'm walking over I hear someone say "oh man, he's bleeding!" and notice a drop of blood fall from above my left eye. I sit down, take off my helmet, and people converge around me. I never lost lucidity, nor passed out, but I was definitely shaken up. After about 15 minutes, Matt gives me a ride home and Tracy and I head to the ER at Illinois Masonic where the great staff hooked me up with seven stitches for my lightning-bolt shaped scar.

this is the prettiest it's been.

Job well done, Rudy Actyum.

My Rudy Project Actyum helmet did its job and cracked at the point of impact. I'm sad that I've lost the nicest helmet that I've ever owned, but I'm glad the helmet cracked instead of my skull. The cut on my face was most definitely caused by the jagged, sharp frame from my glasses... I suppose the lenses have to be shatterproof, but the frame doesn't?

I'm quite glad that Tuesday's wheel incident didn't happen on the Sunday DeLuca ride where we were double paceline all the way out on Ogden. Eight spokes were left de-tensioned in that wheel, and I just can't figure out how the hell that happened.

I told the tale of the Saturday crash to the great folks at Saris and they informed me that they'd warranty replace my powertap computer and mount, then provided me with an RMA # and address to send it to. This is what customer service used to be and should still be. Saris, you've most definitely turned me into a customer advocate for your products.
Smith Optics has been similarly cool about the whole situation. I called and they informed me that they don't make the white V-Ti's any more, but the guy I spoke with said he'd seen a few in the warehouse and that they'd sell me the frame only for $50 even though they don't normally sell to consumers, nor do they even sell anything other than full kits. Thanks, Smith Optics.

The shop where I purchased the wheels was pretty suspiscious that I was lying about not running that front wheel into some kind of an object, but I stuck to my story and mentioned that fifteen people saw the wheel buckle underneath me which pretty much struck the tale into stone for them. I'll update once I've heard from Mavic and the shop - I'm hoping that they'll help me out with a new helmet and glasses since both were destroyed as a result of the wheel failure. Hopefully this shop will provide a high level of customer service and I'll keep shopping there, but
I really doubt that I'll ever purchase wheels from them again - too important a piece of equipment to trust "just anyone" to. I'll stick to handbuilt wheels either from Hed or known local reliable wheelbuilders such as Alex or Marcus.
Speaking of Hed's wheels, my good Italian friend and cheese-pusher relayed this story to the folks over at Hed, and they're interested in coming up with a set of wheels for me that will not only be strong as hell, will look smooth and be fast. I'll update with more information on that front later.


Bob Mitera said...

Hope you're on the mend. Nasty. How is replacement going on your PowerTap?

Erik said...

Sent it off to Madison yesterday, I'm hoping to have it back sometime next week.

I've heard wonderful things about Saris' customer service and so far it all seems to be very true! They were great on the phone.

Seth said...

Oh, man! What a crappy, crappy week dude! Glad it's about over and you made it through. Here's to better ones to come!