Monday, August 10, 2020

Great Cycle Challenge 2020: Plot twist!

I've been doing the Great Cycle Challenge again this year, to raise funds to fight pediatric cancer. This is my third year, and every year I've kind of been raising the stakes. First time around I aimed for 750 km ridden in a month. That turned out not to be too tough, so last year I aimed for 800 and ended up beating that too. So this year, sure, I set my goal at 1,000 km. 

It had apparently slipped my mind when I set my goal that there is a pandemic and I'm not bookending my work day with a 10- to 12-km ride every day. I posted my fundraising page on social media, and people started responding with variations on "A THOUSAND kilometres? Wow, good luck!" and only then did I do the math. 

Thirty-three km a day. I'm not the speediest, so that's about two hours per day on average.

Hoo boy. 

But I was doing okay. August kicked off with a long weekend, and I got some 40- and 50-kilometre rides in right off the bat to try and front-load my mileage. And with a few long evening rides (including one 30-km push on the way home from friends' at midnight) I had made it, by August 7, to 250 kilometres. A quarter of the way in the first week, so I was on track. 

Then, on Saturday, August 8, I was riding toward Britannia Beach when I ducked off the path onto the Mud Lake trails, just for some variety. I wound up behind a family who were walking the trail and stopped: they noticed me and stepped aside so I could go by. I said thanks, stepped on the pedal, and there was a crack and the chain spun uselessly. Broken pawl in the cassette. 

I have had this happen before, so I knew what it was. I waved off the helpful family, who couldn't help me, stopped my Strava, and walked the bike despondently to Britannia Beach. A friend came to save me with her van, and got me and the bike home. 

The kilometres I still have to ride are slowly gathering. 

McCrank's doorway - shop full of bikes and bike parts
Luckily, McCrank's is open on Sundays and is a delightful shop. I gave them a call the moment they opened Sunday morning, and brought the wheel down to have a look. 

Angie pulled the hub out, and tried heroic measures to get one of the parts they still had around the shop to work, since there's a real run on bike parts right now (who would have expected a global pandemic to be so good for bike shops? Apocalypse movies without bikes in them are now outside my suspension of disbelief.). 

She couldn't get any of the bits in the shop to work, so I did have to order a new wheel. But, wonder of wonders, there was one available at fairly short notice: it's due in tomorrow, so I'm still in the game! (I did also have offers of spare bikes from a couple of friends. And I would have had a second bike to use if my Trek hadn't been stolen a couple of weeks back, alas.)

Also, have to say that McCrank's is technically closed on Tuesdays, but Angie said she'd give me a call anyway to come get the wheel. All hail the small bike shop!

I see this as Stage Two in the four-stage story structure. This is the Upping the Stakes section, where we smash cut from the montage of our protagonist working away at the challenge to the moment where something Goes Wrong. Cue the "dun dun DUNNN!" sound effect. 

(You can support my ride by donating on my page, or by offering moral support over on social media.)