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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Da Xue Shan Climb (大雪山): My Last Ride on My Beloved Steed

For this chilly beginning of the New Year, I thought I would not stray too far in case I got too cold or something. I knew I wanted to do a bit of climbing after a two week lay off from any real riding.

I figured the 5000ft. of Daxue Shan would be perfect. Still, I wasn't sure how cold it would get up on the mountain.

I have done this ride a few times, so it was fun to see the change between seasons.

My first order of business was making sure I'd be warm enough. I bundled up in my cold weather gear and about 10 minutes out the door I was plenty warm.

By the time I got to Dong Shih, where I planned to really start my effort, I was even a bit toasty.
I started up at a pretty good clip, but I tried not to get too enthusiastic. I didn't know how long my legs would hold up.

All my landmarks just buzzed along in no time and I was feeling pretty happy with myself... especially after a period on not riding.

In no time my arm and leg warmers were in my jersey pockets. My long-finger gloves were replaced with my worn short-finger gloves. My jacket came off and I was rolling up my base-layer sleeves.

As I made it up to the 4000ft level I was feeling the climb in my legs, but had plenty left. I still heard a pit of noise coming from my bike and stopped to check out the source.

That is when I noticed a hairline fracture in my Head Tube.

That was the end of my ride. I gingerly paced my descent to avoid any surprise potholes, while I rehearsed breaking the news to my wife and friends.

I was also conscious of the fact that it would be our last ride together and did my best to enjoy it. She has been the perfect steed and it is sad to have ridden our final road together.

For our last 1/2 km home I attempted one more full sprint to the front door.

Salsa Las Cruces R.I.P. (October 22, 2007-January 2, 2011)

Friends, it is a sad day here in my family as my beloved Salsa Las Cruces has developed a hairline fracture in her head tube and will be retired immediately. I don't know how the fracture developed, but there it is. I guess it is all a part of owning and enjoying a good bike. Sometimes this stuff happens.

I bought this bike in October 2007 as my "Taiwan bike", and after a 6 month wait for parts in the midst of a cycling boom, she was ready to go by late April 2008.

This bike has taken me to so many places and been a major part of shaping my life over the past three years. I have logged 20,419km on her and beyond the distance she regularly helped put me in touch with all the things I love about Taiwan.

She has been a good friend and will be sorely missed.

Here is a little retrospective in honor of my favorite bike: