Back in the beginning of December we loaded up the gear and headed out to Topeka to take part in Flat Tire a benefit for the Topeka Community Cycle Project.
The shop facility space for the TCCP is huge and the people connected to it were great hosts. Which was nice since we ended up needing their tools, work stands and then, embarrassingly, some of their parts to pull KC Sprints off that night.
The night was riddled with one problem after another. Which was too bad because we went in to it ready to put on a great show & help raise money for the TCCP.
And according to the TCCP crew we did just that, although it didn't look that way from our end.
There were problems right from the get go.
First there was a communication issue with the restaurant Bosco's that our part of the event was in. The organizers were under the impression they were going to stop serving dinner early so we could pack the place to race. Bosco's either didn't want to or just didn't realize that was the plan. We could understand why. It is a nice place. Really nice. We couldn't believe we were going to race in there. Plus it was a Friday night. Prime eating out time for one of the nicer eateries in Topeka.
No matter. We worked around it.
Of the nights hurtles it was a small one.
While Jevon working on getting the software set up, Jones and tag along Rudy set up the rollers etc & I took the bikes down the block to the TCCP shop. The rigs were in desperate need of new rubber & a once over, something I hadn't had the opportunity to deal with.
As I said before for being a bike collective run by volunteers with donated equipment the TCCP facility was really nice.
I got the new ThickSlicks from Freedom by WTB installed (a company we should hit up for sponsorship) wiped down the frames, tightened the stems etc & hustled back down to Bosco's to finish the set up.
It wasn't until the bikes were back on the rollers and we were test riding that I realized the next issue. The Blue/White bike's short chain combined with the new bigger tire meant that when the bike was weighted the tire rubbed the frame. Back to the shop to scrounge up a little chunk of chain.
While I was correcting that problem Jevon let me know that we were also having some software problems. An automatic software update that happened over night wasn't working properly. Well OK thats putting it nicely. It didn't work at all.
OK. Don't panic. No need for the normal projector and screen.
Jevon had a plan B.
Plan B was to put our spare little computer screen in front of the riders so they could see their progress.
But when we plugged it in we discovered that apparently its had a rough life since we used it last and the screen was cracked.
No worries. Jevon had a Plan C.
Plan C consisted of Jones squatted down in front of the racers relaying the hand singles that Jev was giving him showing who was leading who. No easy task since Jev was determining who was leading who by watching code stream across his laptop screen.
It looked something like this:
OK. So finally we are racing. Problems are solved.
Well not all of them. Not yet.
About 1/2 way though the grudge matches the Blue/White bike started having problems again. The seat post was slipping down during the race. We kept clamping it tighter but it kept slipping. Finally I pulled the seat post then loosened up the quick release all the way to take it off and give it a look. When I did so I discovered that the resin washer (for lack of proper term that I know it has) had broken in half, which then promptly fell out.
I stuck a regular flat metal washer that we had in the tool box in its place but it still wouldn't hold. So it was time for another trip back to the TCCP shop to dig around in their parts.
Thankfully I found exactly what we needed and we were back to racing again.
At this point we (Jones, Jevon & I) had all individually decided that after a couple more races we were going to suggest packing it up & going home.
As it happens we only had a few more races before we realized something else was wrong. This time with the Red/Black bike.
At first we thought that we had a bearing going bad on the rollers, which would have been really odd. More so on a sets of nice CycleOps Rollers that were only a few years old. But it was much simpler than that. Apparently when I had replaced the tires I had managed to pinch the tube giving it a nice sloooow leak. The new fat ThickSlick tires hid this obvious detail until a rider was on the bike. Which would explain why some riders were out of the saddle leaning dangerously over the handle bars when on the Red/Black bike.
Oops. Sorry about that guys.
That however, was the last straw and good enough reason as any to call it quits for the day.
Now while all this was going on in the basement restaurant upstairs the other 1/2 of the Flat Tire event to benefit the TCCP was taking place. Consisting of 3 bands & a silent auction.
We didn't stick around though. We were fed up with our poor performance & frankly a little embarrassed.
However, the fine people of the Topeka Community Cycle Project said that the event was great. They got what they wanted out of it and they had a big & successful turn out.
Which is good. Since that was what it was all about anyway.
If you want to see more photos from the event you can see some more of the above either at uNkY jOIns or the One Eyed z Flickr pages.
KC Sprints want to thank the good people of the Topeka Community Cycle Project for letting us be a part of their event. Not to mention the use of shop, tools and the couple little parts we "borrowed".
Up next (besides some serious software, bicycle & equipment check overs) KC Sprints returns to Duffy's Tavern in Lincoln, NE January 15th.
Last year Lincoln was not only our 1st out of town event but by far the best event of the season. Lincoln set the bar pretty high for our KC Sprint events. We are hoping that all the kinks are worked out of the system so that in 2011 the Lincoln event can be even better than it was in 2010.
Don't worry Kansas City, we haven't forgotten where we came from.
KC Sprints holds its first Kansas City race January 28th at the Buzzard Beach. It will be the January Critical Mass post party.
Should be lots of fun. Hope to see you at the races!