Sunday, July 21, 2013
Remember that title phrase. It may save you a lot of heart ache in your life. That's what was running through my head as I stood as patiently as possible, trying not to lose my cool with the 5,785, 862 gnats that continually stormed my eardrums, nostrils, and eye sockets. Their attempts at broaching my cranial orifices was unrelenting. Sexy sucks.
It was one of the first sunny days in a long time. I'd even snapped a pic half hour earlier, to prove to myself later that it wasn't just a dream. I was actually riding a dry bike, in the sunshine!!! I suppose with the better weather, came upbeat spirits, and a general overtone of feeling good. Who doesn't feel good when the sun shines warmly on your face? All these good feelings motivated my dumb ass right on into the A group ride, as it rolled from the parking lot. Now, I've not yet seen the end of this ride, while still WITH this ride. I take my beatings in stride, with a general understanding that these beatings should eventually lead to my seeing the end of the ride, at the same time as the rest of the ride, and not some mildly embarrassing moment in time later. The ride did it's usual, and I was redlining from time to time, but hanging on longer than I expected. Then sexy started sucking, and not in a good way.
PANG!!!!!! The front end shuddered, and I looked down to see the errant rock that had caused a lapse in my much needed concentration, were I still to be in contact at the top of this never ending hill. I see no rock, but notice, quite unhappily, that my front wheel is beginning the tell-tale wobble of one in which one of its spokes has suddenly become more passenger, than participant. It gets bad enough that I can feel the drag as the rim rubs the brakes with every revolution. I pull out of the group to assess the damage, and Mr Harvey stops alongside. I encourage him that I'm good, and that he should continue his campaign to hang with this bunch of skinny folk. He explains, through the same heavy breathing that I'm experiencing, that he's quite happy to see how my wheel is doing. I decide to disconnect my front brake cable to gain maximum brake clearance, and simply take it easy back the way we came, albeit with only a rear brake. Great plan, except that sexy really sucks!
It would seem that skimpy little 18 spoke wheels really do not like it when one spoke up and quits. The other 17 struggle to maintain a semblance of order but utterly fail .My rim was wedged tight against the fork blade, and would not roll. I accepted the evac offer of Mr Harvey, and watched as he rolled off to get his car.
I should know better. I DO know better. But the siren song of sexy has plagued men since the beginning of time, and I'm no desire free monk. I bought my first sexy wheels a long time ago. Dura Ace beauties, all low spoke count and deep rims. Spokes all in pretty little pairs, reaching from the hub to the opposite side of the rim. So much marketing mumbo-jumbo about lateral stiffness and low rotational weight. My first sexy wheels made my old Ultegra hubs and Mavic CXP rims looks downright dull. I rode them happily, and tried to ignore the weak points as they arose. At first the black anodized rims faded to some obscure mint green. No sweat. Probably my fault for using some harsh cleaner. I wondered if the front end of my bike was getting soft in corners. Surely, it couldn't be all that sexy up front. Everyone knows sexy is intended to make things stiffer. Then I broke a spoke. Sexy would never use a standard spoke. That would be...well....not sexy. So I head to the shop, and then another, and then another. Nobody carries sexy spokes? Why the hell not? I NEED a sexy spoke!!
After waiting for 2-3 weeks, I finally got what I needed. During that off time, I noticed that those were some fugly green rims I was running, and my 32 spoke back up wheels sure did turn nice. Reality sets in, the sexy wheels were traded for my first hydraulic disc brakes, and I built some damn fine wheels with NORMAL, everyday, run of the mill, get 'em at any shop around, spokes. I was back where I belonged. I've been building wheels for a long time, and I know what works. Funny thing, I rarely ever have trouble, with MY wheels. So I was happy as a clam, and safe again.
Hi! My name is Bigworm, and I am a sexy addict. Sexy just never lets up. First it's a stolen glance at the deep curve of a 40mm carbon rim. Then a friend gets a job at a sexy wheel manufacturer, and he tells you all the GREAT new ways that sexy can improve your life. But I do remember that sexy can bite, so I resist and resist, until I finally succumb to half-sexy. That's only half dangerous, right? These pre-built wheels have pretty bladed spokes, but at least they are not the DUMB aluminum ones. That's just silly-sexy!!! The rims are only a little deeper, AND they are aluminum, because carbon is just silly-sexy! My rationalization wins out, and I'm on a pre-built, wheel SYSTEM. Mavic takes us above and beyond simple wheels, into systems. How can you go wrong with a system?
Apparently you can go so wrong, that you end up on the side of the road, on the first sunny day in weeks, trying to see just how long you can go with 252 gnats in each ear, singing a rousing chorus of "We will eat your sanity!!!", without running screaming into the woods, clawing at bug filled nostrils and eyes! Seriously!!! Sexy sucks!!
Flash and I joked about it the next day, after I'd finally convinced my brain that there were no more small winged bugs deep in my ear canals. He offered up his back up wheels; the ultimate in un-sexy. He's got Ultegra hubs, Open Pro rims, and all silver. Not even some black laced spokes. Those wheels are the true blue granny panties of the wheel world. Nothing sexy whatsoever, but they offer full coverage, and they get the job done. I was so fed up with sexy at that moment, I almost offered to buy the damn things off him.
Like I said before, I'm Bigworm, and I'm a sexy addict. I'm not quite fully clean and sober, but I'm working on it. Hubs were ordered. Rims sit patiently in a corner. I'll be back on 32, gloriously traditional j-bend spokes, none too soon. I've learned my lesson again.....for now.