I was standing in the kitchen listening to music when the garage door opened abruptly with one angry-looking Chris emerging from the other side.
“LIZ,” Chris called out by the door. He had been in the garage disassembling our bikes for shipment to Texas. I had been entirely left out of this project – probably for the best – until this moment when he busted into the house to call me out.
Quick, think fast. What do I do? Surely this wasn’t good. The urgency in Chris’ voice suggested that he had either impaled himself with a bicycle spoke or discovered that I had impaled one of tires with a spoke and then ridden it 100 miles on the rim through the rain. In other words, it sounded pretty bad.
At that moment, Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens began playing on my laptop; one of my favorite Louis Jordan songs. I looked around - seriously, did somebody cue that?
“Yes?” I responded with shy weakness and a slight bit of fear. I was like a kid in the corner of the room caught with a crayon on the hand and the threat of anonymously signed scribbles on the wall.
“HOW DID YOU BREAK YOUR DERAILLEUR?” he asked, a little urgent and huffy, but nonetheless the question cut through the air in such that even the chickens ran away.
Really, I thought, you must have the wrong Liz. There’s nothing wrong with my derailleur, I just used it the other day. Bike shifted smooth like butter through 4 x 10 minute intervals in zone 3. Not a word from the derailleur – front nor back.
“It’s broken,” he said.
“It can’t be broken if it still works,” I explained. I didn’t need to have an Engineering to know that if it works it is most definitely not broken. Must we argue the semantics of it?
“It’s broken but it still works,” he clarified.
“How could that have happened?” I asked – remember rule #1 – admit nothing.
“Changing the wheel, pulling on the chain, tugging at the derailleur,” he rattled off a list of things only an idiot would do to their bike. A list of things clearly I had not been guilty of in the past few weeks.
See blog dated March xx, 2007…
“Or dropping the frame?” I added – I figured I might as well make his list complete.
“Yes, OR DROPPING THE FRAME.”
Well in that case, then you have the right Liz.
He went on to explain how I had probably broken the derailleur when I dropped the bike but it still worked. You see, I broke the pin that holds it which normally isn’t a problem until you take the wheel off and then, in his words, the chain goes crazy.
I thought back to my wheel changing experience a few weeks ago, and thought that the chain may have exhibited some degree of crazy behavior.
“You mean like tying itself into knots crazy?” I asked.
“Yes, it would curl all up,” he explained.
Knowing there was an explanation made me feel better because I remember thinking to myself how inexplicable the whole situation was where I dropped the bike and then in some strange twist the chain had twisted itself into impenetrable coils. Crazy chain.
He ran downstairs and reappeared with assorted bike parts. He stood in the kitchen looking at me.
“This only proves my theory that every time you touch a wheel you break something,” he said, reaffirming his own theory by saying it out loud. “And this only proves why I need to keep the parts for an extra bike laying around the house.”
With that, he disappeared into the garage to repair my bike – yet again – perhaps the 10th time this season – and it’s only April – that he has fixed, replaced, overhauled something on my bike because of it’s own death by way of Liz’s hands.
Husband, as I call him, may snore at times, and leave his oatmeal bowl in the sink, but I’ll admit that every time he fixes my bike without charging a fee, or throwing something out of frustration, or making me feel bad for breaking something again, I love him a little more and can’t help but think how lucky I am to have man that knows how to use the tools to fix my mistakes.
Every triathlete should be so lucky in love...