Screwed!Posted: January 21, 2011
As I’m getting closer to the date of my first official race, I’m starting to see things that could use a lot of improvement. And, mark your calendars, for once I’m not talking about my riding. My wrenching could use a speed boost. Let me clarify that, it’s not the quality that’s an issue (most of the time) it’s the speed with which it drags on. I’m moving slower than a snail crossing fly paper. If you observe me long enough in my driveway you might actually see the wrench moving.
I know why wrenching usually pisses me off:
Exhibit A: I spend half the time looking for shit! Lack of organization in my driveway has something to do with it, stuff gets kicked and rolls downhill. Screws get dropped, washers disappear into the treacherous void between fairing panels. The screwdriver isn’t where I left it. Who the hell stole my socket extension? Where the fuck are my calipers? What asshole used the last of my blue Loc-Tite? You get the picture. And I am the culprit who is to blame. Mr. Slow doesn’t turn wrenches unless I make him. He damn sure knows better than to touch my toolbox unless I’m having him fetch a tool for me.
The more I have to look, the longer it drags on, and what should be an hour job turns into a three-hour metric nightmare. I hate that. It pisses me off. The other thing is that I usually run out of daylight because I never consider my tool-misplacement problem when I decide to start a project in the early afternoon. And in the dark stuff happens. Unspeakable horrors. Horrors such as scratched up clutch levers mounts and bent springs and stripped out threads on front master cylinder brackets due to over-torquing and a host of other calamities. I have finally learned to pack it up and leave it be when it gets too dark to see the little engraved numbers on the sockets.
Exhibit B: I hate it when I don’t have the right tool for the job. And what I dislike even more is my inability to just recognize that I need to buy (yet) another tool and do that, instead of trying to rig something that will do. Most of the time I end up going to the hardware or auto store anyway, but in frustrated state of mind. Why can’t I just learn not to do that? The rest of the time, the job looks lousy, ends up in stripped fasteners, rounded out bolts, bent retaining clips and other such nonsense, not to mention the scratches and marks it leaves behind on my baby. Shame on me.
So what is a girl to do? The reason why I’m putting myself through this hell? Because I have to. I can’t afford to constantly run to the shop and have it done for me. I don’t have any friends who can help either.
For example, to mount tires on rims that are still attached to their axles when you bring your bike in rather than just the wheels, they’ll charge you $90 and that does not include the rubber which is purchased elsewhere. If you bring in the wheels it sets you back $50. I spent a small fortune to get all the proper tools for changing my own tires. And now that I have them, it’s a matter of just doing it to get better and faster at it. I change a few more sets and I probably have recouped the cost of the tools. I tried my first tire change lacking a few essentials that I didn’t know I needed until I was actually doing the job. For instance, I needed a longer, heavier tire iron since I’m lacking in oomph just a little. But how could I have known that? Everybody warned about using too long of one and strong-arming it and bending a rim or damaging the tire’s bead. I don’t think I’ll have that problem. That was not a pretty scene, let me tell you. There’s a post about it on here somewhere. Rather embarrassing and revealing, I might add. Yikes!
Proper tools. No rigging, unless it’s an emergency. I’ve made myself that promise and I’m doing a lot better with it. For example, the tether kill switch install was the first wrenching job that I did right from start to finish. I planned. I thought aobut it. I thought some more. Ran it by Mr. Slow, who had no clue or didn’t want to get in the “middle of it” and kept his mouth shut; then ordered the proper tools that I was lacking; patiently waited until they arrived. Then methodically worked it out. Not a single profane word was uttered during that install. Nor did I screw anything up. That one is actually save for kids under 17 to read. 😉
Now, I’m thinking about racing and what kind of wrenching is done and how fast it has to be completed… and how it would go over so well if Miss Busa threw a temper tantrum in the pits. Yeah. I can see it now… No! That’s the stuff Lifetime movies are made of, because somebody’s gonna get killed by a low-flying wrench and then the poor victim’s family spend their entire lives hunting down the killer and bringing (big twist in plot here) HER to justice.
To avoid this I’m doing something very typical of the anal-retentive borderline pathological perfectionist that I am: I’m making a list. More of a spreadsheet type thing, really. A list of tools that are needed for each fastener on the bike, with torque values, tool type and size, quantity and location. A list of items needed to affect emergency repairs that would most likely be required during a race. I only bring what I need (plus a few emergency items), neatly organized, so I cut out all that time I waste hunting down the #12 socket and the #14 box wrench. I want one of those magnetic wristbands you can stick stuff to… no, make that two and a magnetic bowl to keep my nuts in (when I’m not using them).