Pink FINALLY got to see some gravel travel. I was not feeling super great, but it was 78 out and a mild W/SW wind, perfect conditions for doing the Booneville route up to Adel, then back into town for a beer at 515 Brewing. The ride started out at a nice easy pace, this was just to be a fun spin on familiar gravel to test out the whole 650b/1×11 setup. The fit was the first thing to make itself known, the levers need to be raised a bit more, and that longer stem with a little rise would be helpful. I definitely found myself riding on the hoods more than usual, I’m a “corner curve” kind of person. I also noticed that I did not have the bars centered. WTF. The Rival 1 drivetrain was dialed in nicely, shifting was crisp and immediate. It was going to be interesting seeing how climbing went with a high end of 42×36, especially on Old Portland Road.
The WTB Byway ‘Road Plus’ tires on these ENVE rims are gold. Maybe platinum. I had a hell of a time getting the tires to seat properly (due to my shitty taping job), but now that they are there, hell yes. I was running around 45 psi and could have dropped them down to 38-40 for a little more squish, but they handled the intermittent loose/fresh rock spots with ease. The small climbs at the beginning of the route were no problem, but as I went on to a few of the steeper grades I found that the wheels still spun up the hill with ease, but I was already getting down to the 36 cog and was only 13-14 miles in. “This could turn into a slogger” I spoke quietly through dusty breaths.
It’s dry out there, and I hit some truck traffic that was kicking up giant clouds of dust. The mild winds were not helping matters, I would have traded a little extra effort on the flats for a good dust-clearing cross wind. It may be time to start restraining the beard and using a dust filter until conditions get a little less brittle.
So I was trucking along, thinking about hitting the B-road coming up and noticed my right foot was getting some odd feedback from the pedal. At mile 16.5 I stopped to assess the situation. I was wearing newish shoes, the cleat could need tightening. Nope. The crank arm could have worked loose. Nope. Everything I checked was copacetic, so onward and upward towards some fun hills. There was that weird, off balance feeling again. This time when I stopped I found that the pedal seemed to be loose, but not in a way that it was unthreading from the crank arm, but it was just flopping there. There was about a half inch of lateral play. NOT GOOD. I made some calls and found a sag, then limped ole Pink into the Booneville Tap to wait for a lift.
After a few drinks and an order of fries, my lift arrived and I was off to my home shop to see what the hell happened. It took a while to get the pedal out, and when I did it was a mess. The threads in the crank arm were all but gone, left behind was a pile of dust and metal shavings. It looks like they didn’t get the threaded insert in there during manufacturing (Thanks, Peter, for pointing that out), but the pedal installed fine. It’s going to the shop for a warranty call, and hopefully SRAM will replace this bad boy quickly. I need to get Pink back out on the road!