A friend of mine, Jason Grantz, has been focusing on the definition of words for the past couple weeks. I’m going to utilize this idea and sum up how I feel the day after 6 Hours of Warrior Creek.
broken |ˈbrōkən| past participle of break
1 having been fractured or damaged and no longer in one piece or in working order : a broken arm.
• rejected, defeated, or despairing : he went to his grave a broken man | a broken heart.
• sick or weakened : broken health.
• (of a relationship) ended, typically by betrayal or faithlessness : a broken marriage.
• disrupted or divided : broken families.
• (of an agreement or promise) not observed by one of the parties involved.
2 having gaps or intervals that break a continuity : a broken white line across the road.
• spoken haltingly, as if overcome by emotion : he whispered in a broken voice.
The trail was amazing, the berms were buff, the climbs had traction and even the first lap wasn’t too muddy.The temperature ended up being around 70º in Wilkesboro, NC.
The pit crew, as always, was extraordinary. Kimberlee and Shelley were always there for food, smiles and a good kick in the butt.
Our pit mates, the guys from Luna Cycles, Dale and Robbie, and of course Darby.
The weather was perfect, a bit chilly in the morning ending up around 75 in the afternoon.
The other racers, encouraging, helpful, inspiring.
My teammate, Melissa. Always smiling and optimistic. Even when my last lap took twice as long as it should and we ended in last place.
The sweet lady next to our pits that recognized me as Bike Shop Girl and even stopped as I was suffering after the race to say she enjoyed my writing.
A flat tire at mile 5 on my second lap.
Losing tons of electrolytes and only having water on my back.
Walking a ton on that second lap.
The feeling of competitors passing you and not being able to do a damn thing about it.
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty, wtf happened?
Somewhere between the start of lap one, and the middle of lap two my bottom bracket started to seize up. Hills that I was able to spin up in a middle gear on my cassette I was grinding up in my easiest cog. My multi-tool didn’t have a 2.5mm allen wrench on it to back out the adjustable ring on the SRAM X-9 cranks.
The feeling when you realize why you are sucking is between happiness and a stupid sick gut wrenching. Especially when you realize you can’t fix the thing. I knew I had 5 miles more to go, and most of it was up hill. It got to a point that I was simply hoping that I would get through before 5pm for my lap to count.
For the rest of the lap I pushed, grinded, walked, tried to smile and hoped the miles would tick by. My knees ached from trying to climb the hills with my cranks not spinning freely, my stomach hurt and at times I hit hyperventilation in frustration and pain.
A couple days later I feel better. My knees still hurt, and my brain is rather screwed up from the event. Who knows if I could have done something differently. Maybe check over my bike better between laps. Maybe tell PF30 bottom brackets to kiss my ass.
I feel badly for letting down my team. I feel badly about many things. At the end of the day it is only a race, but to look forward to something for a complete year and it to end this way is a horrible feeling.
I’m a big fan of Starbucks and Apple. If you were to ask me two brands that I relate to in the most upwards of ways, it would be these two. I’m sure someone will hop on the comments and blast me about child labor or over priced coffee, but I like what I like.
Why does all this matter to bikes? Service matters.
I visit and pay full retail to the above places for the experience, customer service and reliability. I can walk into any Starbucks across the country and receive the same tasting green tea. I can walk into any Apple store and receive the same great shopping experience. I have used Apple products pretty strictly since 2002, they work, they last and they come loaded with many things I need. They are more expensive but the experience and product is worth it for me.
As I travel through my territory of the Southeast the question of online price wars comes up and I always bring up the examples of Apple and Starbucks. These two hold true to their core mission, and have well trained staff. When was the last time you went into look at Apple products and you saw a huge SALE sign? They actually go out of their way on their website to put discounted or refurbished product out of the main view of the consumer. (It is all the way on the bottom of the navigation bar on the left.)
When was the last time you asked the person making your coffee if you can give them less than their asking price?
Discounting product does not win customers for life.
Experienced staff, a pleasant shopping experience, reliability and amazing service is what wins customers for life. There is a reason that the Gap owns Old Navy, Gap and Banana Republic. Different shopping experiences, different quality of product and different prices. All of them have well trained staff, thoughtfully laid out merchandise and HAPPY staff.
I shop at all three depending what I need, and each location I walk away with a good experience.
Consumers, I encourage you to give feedback to your local shops.
Did you stop shopping there because they kept messing up your bike when you brought it in for a tuneup? Did they sell you the wrong tube size 3 times? Did someone rub you wrong because they were grouchy and lacked customer service? Was your experience one that left you shaking your head and heading straight to google to find what you needed online?
I still try local coffee shops when I’m traveling, I buy clothes from other places as well, but when in a pinch I know who I can rely on and in todays times when we are all running around like crazy, this matters more to me than saving 5%.
What’s your name and location?
Miranda from Dallas, y’all
What type of cycling do you enjoy?
Relaxed rides on trails and around lakes, commuter biking, road biking.
What is your first cycling memory?
Oh my goodness, this is an intense one. I remember riding around the church parking lot across from my house. My papa was watching my sisters and me and I wanted to show off my sweet moves for him. As I peddled around in dizzying circles, I lost control and fell hands first into the gravel. Since Papa was already old (he was my great grandfather), it took him a bit to come over. By the time he arrived, the blood had already congealed and covered up the piece of rock buried in my hand. Papa had only one choice. As he took out his pocket knife to clean it, my four year old self screamed bloody murder. My sisters held me down while Papa used the knife to cut the rock out of my hand and the hanging skin around it. I made it home where my mom bandaged it up. Definitely not a memory I easily forgot!
Who inspires you to ride, and better yet WHY?
I don’t know exactly who inspires me. I ride because it is a time to be by myself, to think, to experience the world, to spend time with God if you will. Yes, I love to ride with my friends, but biking has usually been about getting rid of stress or finding peace in the crazy days.
What has been your best moment on the bike so far this year?
Probably while I was in a small village called Santinetikan in India. There were no cars, so everyone got around by bike, foot, or motorcycle. We were able to rent out these (terrible) vintage, slightly rusted cruisers to get around. As the sun was setting and the rice workers were coming in, the twilight called all the lightning bugs out to play. I remember looking up at the dusky sky, surrounded by jungle and fireflies and all I could think of (which is cheesy I know) is that I am experiencing something magical. I wish everyone could experience that moment, stopping by the holy river, watching the villagers go about their life without knowing how special (even if poverty stricken) it is. In that moment I easily could have left everything here in the states for that rusty bicycle in that old village in the jungle.
Tell us all about your bikes
I have had many bikes over the years. My favorite, a light purple vintage Schwinn road bike with original gears named Fernando, was stolen a couple of years ago. Right now I am riding a cherry red vintage Takara that makes all the bikers in Dallas jealous for some reason. This bike is named Fabregas (I name my bikes after Barcelona futbol players) and was custom rebuilt for me by an after school program in Dallas called Mercy Street. It is awesome to still be able to go out to west Dallas and ride the levees with the kids that built this bike for me.
Motivational Monday, a Monday tradition at Bike Shop Girl, my goal to keep you motivated and to be striving on the bike even during a hard week or long hours at work. Are you a woman that bicycles? Fill out this easy form and be part of our motivational movement!