Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Act three: the gun on the mantle.

Disaster finally caught up with me today; as it must, since I've carried its seeds from my trip's inception.

It started as a minor nuisance: with the sloshing of my water jug and clanking of my carabiner-suspended brass knuckles (a souvenir of route 97 through the Yakama res). At first I thought my load was just out of balance. Soon I realized that what I had was a wheel out of true.

I'm not very mechanically inclined, and trueing wheels has always been something I thought best left to experts, so I rode into Lake View hoping to find a bike shop. In town, I spotted a man on a bike, and learned from him that there was no bike shop, but that I might find help at the True Value. At the True Value, I learned that the fellow in question was out, but would be in tomorrow.

Ridiculous, I thought. I have the world's accumulated knowledge at my fingertips, and if I can't true my own wheel, I shouldn't be out here. Google easily returned some simple instructions, and of course my multi-tool had a spoke wrench. I went to examine the wheel closer.

To my horror I found three spokes not merely loose, but snapped. There were no spokes to be had in Lake View, or Alturas, or anywhere between here and Reno. Help - in the form of someone who could bring spokes for me - was days away. And even if I had them, I'm not sure I'd have the expertise to apply them.

I did the only thing I could think of: I loosened the three opposing spokes, figuring to at least help balance the wheel laterally. I have disk breaks, so breaking is not an issue. I just have to keep the tire on the road for another 150 miles.

I will not stop here, I will not quit. Turning on to 395, in a moment of giddy loopiness, my mind offered up the theme from "The Greatest American Hero:"

Believe it or not, I'm walkin' on air,
I never thought I could feel so free...
Flyin' away on a wing and a prayer,
Believe it or not, it's just me!


rhia said...

Go Ivan, go!

August 23, 2007 9:38 AM  

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