Friday, May 16, 2014

My mate Snorky

When I got smoked from behind by a car last week, I was riding my cyclocross bike. While my tri bike tends to get all the flashy attention (because I am, after all, primarily a triathlon dork), my 'cross bike is my workhorse and my ticket to some of the most wonderful rides I've ever had.

August 11th, 2010 - just arrived at his new home!

I spotted him out front of The Hub Bicycle Shop in Hespeler one August evening - resplendent in my beloved country's red and white, he looked to be just my size. The shop had advertised amazing deals available, so we'd stopped in to have a look, but this sweetheart caught my eye as he sat racked on the sidewalk. I saw that he wasn't brand new - there were a few signs of wear - but I had to ask about him.

He'd been a demo model for the shop, but was now up for sale at half the MSRP. I'd been looking for a cyclocross bike, as all I had at in my quiver at the time were my time trial/triathlon bike (a bit high strung for everyday riding, and certainly not at home anywhere but pavement) and my old rigid steel mountain bike (which was not exactly suited to racking up the training miles on the road). A moment later a set of flat pedals had been spun onto the crankarms and I could take him for a test ride..

We'd headed over straight from work, so I wasn't exactly dressed for the occasion. Tanker still rues not having got a photo of that test ride, though it has burned itself into his memory. In a probably-too-short skirt and no helmet at all, I pounded the pedals through the hills of Hespeler village, my unfettered hair streaming out behind my helmetless head. It was a moment of childlike bliss as I flew through the streets, the bike translating the staccato beat of my legs into an intoxicating wind in my face.

It was love.

First real ride, though still with flat pedals.

It was still more money than I could really afford, but Tanker insisted I must have it - our anniversary had been just a couple of days previous, and he said this would be my gift from him. I married a keeper, and that day acquired another one. He was fast, gorgeous, and even made by a Canadian company!

As the days and months passed, I modified the bike a little and came to enjoy it a lot. It opened up new possibilities to me as I now had a ride that could go almost anywhere - he was equally happy on the roads and most of the local trails, so I could take Tanker (on his own CX bike) exploring both near and far. We rode 100km to Wilkes Dam in Brantford and back via rail trail, we rode to the farmers' market in town, we rode for coffee, we rode in the Tour de Grand and we rode through the mud of Paris to Ancaster.

I even threw on my tri bike's wheels and rode it in the Cambridge Crit

P2A 2011
P2A 2012

P2A 2013

I rode my one and only true century on the bike that came to be called Snorky, on the hottest day I think I've ever experienced. I've rode him in the snow and weather cold enough to make my bottles freeze up. He's always ready to go for a ride, and has never let me down.

161km at the 2012 Tour de Grand

Wheeling along at the 2013 Tour de Grand

The poor bike even deals with this indignity most of the winter

When I was hit last Monday, I had no idea what the damage might be to good old reliable Snorky. His rear wheel was certainly destroyed, but I felt like I'd absorbed most of the impact from the hood of the car and subsequent skid on the ground (I still have some fascinating bruises and bits of me that are not yet entirely functional) - his bar tape hadn't even been torn, and the frame looked ok. I wasn't going to rely on "looks like", though, so last Saturday he was delivered to the caring hands at The Hub for a thorough inspection.

Never bring a bike to a car fight

After a few days of anxious waiting (sorry for the million text messages Cliff!), my old friend and battle partner was checked over and found to need...

..a new barrel adjuster on the rear derailleur.

He lives!

It seems that between the rear wheel and I, we successfully cushioned the frame from bending out of shape or cracking. It was like finding out a beloved pet doesn't need to be put down - he just needs a new collar and leash!

(Tour de Grand 2011)

Thanks to my incredible mom & husband, I'll even be getting a spanky new wheelset to replace the writeoff rear and make him even prettier.

These will practically turn him into a ghost bike, which seems appropriate somehow.

So we're going to pick Snorky up from the shop again on Saturday, and soon I'll be tearing up the roads and trails with my ever-eager pal once more. I see blue skies and summer clouds, leaf buds opening and flowers in bloom all over the place. It's the absolute most inspiring time for cycling, and I can't wait to go for a rip!

The trails are calling!

Before I even take a single pedal stroke, though I probably won't be able to help but show my buddy a little bit of love.

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