2003 > San Francisco 200K > Paul's Report

Paul Rides the San Francisco 200k

It was indeed a pleasure to see so many Bikeaholics and DBCers at the start. Craig's description of the ride is very well done, and I dare to add but a few notes of my own.

Approaching Fairfax I was passed by a moving truck. I heard the loud pop of his air brakes and the hiss of them releasing on the downhill stretch. Funny, the rear end of my bicycle began to wobble at the very same moment. I watched several riders pass as I changed the flat. Cleverly, I used my winter commute bike. After all, this was only a 200K, right?

Later, when the clicking sound of a pedal occurred with every revolution, I decided to stop for repairs yet again. Just as with the flat, I slowly regained rider after rider and passed them. I joked with one surprised individual that my plan was working perfectly. I would have my entire bicycle rebuilt by the end of the ride.

Seeing a fellow DBC rider walking up the hills toward Pt. Reyes I was surprised. I pulled over to inquire, and found that he had snapped his rear derailleur cable. We were close to the lighthouse, and he labored on under the impression that a National Park Service ranger had a spare. As Craig described, the wind was rather stiff, although I personally believe sixty miles an hour may be an exaggeration. When I peeked into the visitor center, the highest I saw the wind meter read was fifty-eight miles an hour. The Winnebagos blowing across the centerline were still fun, regardless of the actual wind velocity.

After the control I went back to the stricken rider. The cable had snapped and actually wrapped itself around the internal cable run of the brifter lever. After half an hour of poking, prodding, and getting knocked around by the wind, a complete disassembly of the handle seemed to be the only way to restore function. It should be noted that we were inside a garage, getting pushed by the wind. These were not ideal conditions for a delicate mechanical project.

Low and behold, the ranger procured an ancient mountain bike friction shift lever. What the heck, it would pull cable I thought. We zip-tied it to the right side of his handlebar, and I ran a cable through the old housing to connect to the old lever. By holding the lever with one hand on the bars, the lever could be operated and restore function to seven out of nine of the rear cogs (seven out of nine? I hope I am not the only one who suspects Borg influence).

The DBC rider required instruction and practice to make this system work. I rode back and forth for a bit with him to make sure he could operate the jury-rigged system. Then I took my leave. I had two fellow riders expecting a ride back to Davis from me, and I knew they would be waiting. I would no longer make the appointed rendezvous time, but at least I could be back before dark.

Pushing the wind alone was not as awful an experience as it could have been. After all, I was riding and not repairing for a change. After the turnaround at Marshall life improved substantially. I regained my "legs" and basically cruised back to the Golden Gate bridge uneventfully. It would have been nice to have finished earlier, but as it was the day was gorgeous and the ride was a lot of fun.

We can only hope that it rains heavily for the 300K. After all, we want PBP to seem relatively easy, don't we?


-Paul "Good Thing I Brought My Rack, Parts, and Winter Toolkit" Guttenberg

P.S. Yes, I'm building another rear wheel as the freewheel I rode is also shot. Marine bearing grease only goes so far with pitted races.

Paul Guttenberg
Davis Bike Club
Adventure Cycling

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