Sunday, March 3, 2013

How to tell when your cables need to be replaced

....when one (or more) stops working!

I remember asking once about how I might know when my bike cables needed to be replaced. Since they are routed internally on the Q Roo, there is nothing really to inspect. The bike "fettler" (to borrow the more poetic term from the British) said I would know because the bike would begin to have trouble shifting. In my mind I was thinking I would have ample time - weeks even - to notice, ponder the issue, and deliver my bike to the shop for repair before anything major happened.

Well the whole process from "trouble" to "noticing" to "not working at all" took about three minutes today.

As luck would have it this was one of my less comfortable days of riding with snow flurries and a "feels like" 15 degree F temperature. I was about 8 miles into an intended 30 miler when trouble hit. The bike was jumping gears like crazy in the back, then suddenly nothing. I had no rear shifting whatsoever. I was pretty sure the cable had snapped as the mini-barrel end of the cable was protruding from the front of my shifter and would not retract no matter what my frozen fingers tried from the shifter or derailleur ends of the problem.

I could still shift between my front chain rings and the rear was somewhat stable so I rode most of the way home. Then it began randomly jumping down so I called the hubs and got a lift for the final (uphill) mile.

I came home and finished up on the indoor trainer and caught up on an episode of the Biggest Loser. Jackson is my favorite!! I love his positivity and big heart.

Afterward, I went back to look at my bike, suddenly it was shifting again. I guess it was stuck, not broken. But I am taking no chances and the bike is heading into the shop tomorrow for new cables. I've had the bike two years without a cable swap and most experts recommend changing cables out yearly.

It was still a great training weekend with the two-part outdoor/indoor 30 mile recovery ride today following yesterday's 19.5 mile long run on the New River Trail (below). I did that run at just under my average marathon pace, which surprised me on that trail. Of course, I always run under my average marathon pace in a marathon too....that is until about mile 18 or 20 or 22 (depending), then that average starts flying back up!!

The good news though is that today the legs felt totally normal, without soreness. That's what really has me happy. REALLY. I'm not preoccupied by this or that hurting or not feeling right.

Six weeks until Boston. I'll be ready!