February 5, 2016

Everything's an Adventure

I've been wanting to get a professional bit fit done for some time. I just had a hard time with the typical $300-$400 price tag. Lately, a few friends have been getting fits performed by Kaolin up at Flat Tire Bike shop in Cave Creek. They all had glowing reviews and then I heard what he charged: $75. Sold.

I made an appointment for 9a on Friday, but got held up in the morning rush on the 101 in Scottsdale. That freeway blows, I don't know how people deal with that garbage on a daily basis. Anyway, I arrived around 9:30 and Kaolin was already giving his first fit of the day.

I had mentioned in an email that my seatpost was stuck for perhaps the past 2 years!! I know, I know, there's a simple bike maintenance lesson in there somewhere. I had kinda forgotten about it as my bike really doesn't bother me...most of the time. It's the long 8+ hour rides where some discomfort sneaks in. Hence the need for a fit. I knew my setup was close, but I couldn't seem to pinpoint exactly what was off.
Solid bike shop, complete with restaurant and jeweler under one roof.
We were ready to get going, but first the whole seatpost thing had to be taken care of. Some anti-seize penetrating fluid was applied for a bit. We swapped out seats, then slid a large diameter pipe over the nose of the seat for leverage. One of the mechanics, Mark, is a pretty big dude so he was in charge of applying the necessary force. Mark torqued on the pipe while Kaolin and I held the bike and watched it flex a bit, but no movement on the post.

Next we tried a blunt force option, by striking the top of the seat with a large rubber mallet, Nothing.

The jeweler, Scott, was kind enough to let us come over to his shop and try an acetylene torch to heat up the steel. We were going to use a CO2 cartridge to quickly cool down the post, but then opted to use the walk-in freezer at Local Johnny's restaurant for 30 minutes or so. Yep, the Voodoo went into a freezer. Before Kaolin could tell the owner we 'borrowed' the freezer, he came over and quizzically asked 'Why is there a bike in the walk-in?' Uh, oops. He was cool with it. (See what I did there?)

The bike was frigid when we wheeled it back over to the jewelers shop, hit it with the torch and applied some torque. Nothing. We whacked it with the mallet again, nothing. Hmmm.

This thing was really jammed up. Meanwhile, more customers were coming in for bike fits, including one of my buddies, Richard. I don't see him too often since he lives on the west side, so it was good to chat for a bit.

So far nothing was working. It was time to go 'all-in'. The hacksaw came out and the post cut down.
Either the post comes out, or I retire the Voodoo.
A few more whacks of the hammer on the flat surface had no effect. Next up was to wrap some gorilla tape around a hacksaw blade and slowly cut the post from the inside. This appeared to be working, but it was taking forever. Plus, we couldn't really see how far down the inside it was cutting.

There was some talk about finding a large drill bit to tap out the post, but I wasn't too confident in that approach. There's not a lot of margin for error. Instead, I took the bike down the street to a local metal worker, Jay, at Cave Creek Welding.
They saved the day!
I told him everything we tried while he stoically looked the bike over. He ran a hooked wire down the tube to see how far in it went. That's going to be a tough one, he mentioned. I started to think this was the end of the line for the Voodoo. How could something so silly kill this bike. It's been through it all...and survived!!

The first thing he tried was a huge pipe wrench. All that did was mangle what was left of the post. Then he asked me if I cared about the paint on the bike? I said 'Does it look like I care about the paint?' He proceeded to get the torch going. A quick blast of heat popped off my AZT color badge and disintegrated the green instantaneously. Another crack at it with the pipe wrench yielded no results. Thankfully, Jay had one more trick up his sleeve: Sawzall. He prepped the tool and went to work. He carefully checked the depth of cut and about 10 minutes later punched through the wall of the post. Another round of pipe wrench torquing and the post moved!! A few back and forth turns and it was free, essentially unscrewing itself from the frame. The Voodoo LIVES!! 
Yet another character layer to the Voodoo.
I took my new trophy back to Flat Tire where the guys were very excited to see it removed. Kaolin was certain that I had fled the scene!! Now let's get this bike fit going.

Kaolin locked the Voodoo onto the trainer and I hopped on. He took note, made some measurements, dropped a plumb-line, made some adjustments to the seat (back a bit & raised the post about a cm). He also rocked my handlebars forward just a tad as well. These were all seemingly minor changes, but I could instantly tell the difference out in the parking lot. Damn.
Pile of metal shavings from sawing through the seatpost!
I was anxious to hit the trails, but since I was at the shop for about 6 hours it would have to be a shorter ride. I paid for the fit, new seatpost and yes, some lube for future applications!! And since Local Johnny's was right next store, I grabbed some lunch too. Then I was off to Brown's Ranch for a couple hours to check out a few new trails.
Still plenty of snow on Four Peaks.
Since I was running a bit short on time, I parked at the seldom used 136th St. trailhead and made a beeline for Coyote Canyon. This would lead me over to Soapberry Wash and that's where the first of two new trails was cut in recently.
New dirt coming out of Soapberry Wash.
The new trails have a bit more up & down and even a rock slab to ride down. There's a bit more topography in this area for the trail designers to play around with. The system is beginning to gain some character. I like it.

What I didn't like were the excessive amounts of fresh hoof prints all over both of the new trails. Signs are posted all over to remind trail users to stay off the trails during wet times. I guess they also need to remind people that new dirt = soft dirt. While you may want to enjoy a new trail on that four legged steed, perhaps you should wait a couple months until the tread firms up and can handle the weight. By no means did it ruin or spoil my ride, but c'mon people use some common sense. It's not like there aren't 100 adjacent trail miles to enjoy. /rant.
This WAS an entrance to another new trail that was under construction back in Dec. I guess the don't want anyone on it until is's completed OR they are tying it into the existing trails elsewhere.
I walked up the hill to see the new trail with the old Pima/Dynamite signage still erected. This was the old junction of trails 22 & 5.
Instead of doing an out-n-back, I made a figure 8 using Hawknest to get back to the first new trail where a second new trail split off at the base of the rock roll. The second trail had a bit more climbing as it crested a small ridgeline. There was a nice switchback on the descent too - whoa!!
Up on the ridgeline.
Shiny new seatpost & torch'd frame, but at first feel it rode great.
Fatman's Pass. I barely made it through, scuffing my shoulders.
Go through Fatman's Pass or go around.
I had just enough daylight left to make a slight detour off 136th Express to finish the ride on Granite Mtn & Bootlegger. That's a really fun way to wrap things up.

I'm anxious to give the Voodoo a long test to see how the fit feels after 8+ hours of riding. This was a good warmup spin in spite of the near fiasco earlier. The Voodoo rides on...for now.
Alpinglow enveloping the Four Peaks.
Rippin' fast on Granite Mtn. trail.

1 comment:

  1. Wow $5 tube of anti-seize when seatpost installed probably would of avoided all of your seatpost problems..we hardly think about corrosion in the desert..cool that you got the seatpost out..nice blog post. You gonna rattle-can spray paint your seat tube?