Yesterday I lost my bearings twice. We were a mile from the finish of our Sunday ride when my crankset started to self destruct. Half expecting metal shavings and sparks to accompany the horrible sounds coming from the bottom bracket, I limped home, searching for a gear and a cadence that would minimize the damage to the Cervelo.
I bundled the stricken bike into the car for the drive down to my LBS but rather than take the obvious highway South I wanted to reconnoiter a new surface route to ride later. Somewhere along the way I missed the left I was looking for and found myself on Stevens Canyon Road. I hadn't ridden that road in months, and then I saw the roadside memorial and remembered.
Passing the flowers and notes I slowed but kept my attention on the road that tragically claimed the lives of Kristy Gough and Matt Peterson on another Sunday morning. As incongruous as the accident accounts had been, the reality of the actual location was incomprehensible. I'd pictured a sharp, blind corner but the sight lines here were clear and unobstructed. How? I drove on, thinking about how exposed we all are. I'm sure you have days when you think about the risks you run to enjoy your passion for riding. And here was the absolute confirmation that we ride on the edge.
As the miles passed the feeling slowly left me and my mood lifted. I admired a rider tackling a steep section of Mt. Eden road, out of the saddle working hard and I wanted to be back on the bike.
The bike shop was bustling when I walked in, a good Spring Sunday – riders circling the parking lot, customers at the tech counter, traffic at the registers. I explained the problem and left the bike with Mykle with the understanding that I'd source some replacement bearings so he had the parts to affect a quick turnaround. As a Trek store they don't stock many parts from the factory in Vicenza, but ironically Mykle's own Madone runs Campy.
It took much longer than I expected. Ultra Torque bearings are press fit onto the crank spindles, there is no conventional bottom bracket. I eventually sourced a specific tool for removing the bearings from Chicagoland Bicycle but balked at the $229.99 CeramicSpeed bearing kit they carried.
I found several good technical documents explaining how to install and maintain the Ultra Torque cranks and finally figured out the bearing designation was 6805. Normally these bearings are 25 x 37 x 7 mm, but it seems the "thin" variant, 25 x 37 x 6 mm is preferred for the Ultra Torque application. VXB Bearings carries a hybrid model that I settled on for $49.00 each. They have full ceramics too, but I still think the jury is out on the cost/benefit of these fittings. I hit the purchase button and closed the laptop.
The day was done. I'd managed a good ride with TJ, made it home safely in spite of the mechanical difficulties, got lost, reflected on a tragic loss and our common vulnerabilities and significantly increased my maintenance knowledge. Finally and metaphorically I found my bearings again. I kissed my wife and went to sleep.