Tour de Hope and a Few Good Men

The standard pre ride photo.

I woke up to the sound of heavy rain falling outside this morning and this really strange dream:  I had to go over this scary suspension bridge that led to an arcade, a really old dingy arcade full of cigarette smoke and pac-man machines.  I was directed to tunnel in the back of the arcade that led to a very constricted set of spiral stairs.  I started climbing and when I worked my way to the top I was coming out of a large display fountain thing inside a ford dealership.  There was a man at a desk with many controls who was able to make the spiral staircase get smaller trapping me and starting to squish me.  I realized the man at the desk was my old boss then I woke up.

The radar seemed to indicate that the rain was going to be finished passing through the area long before the ride started so I picked up Luke and headed to Marion for the Tour de Hope.  Because I’d waited so long thinking about the rain I had to scramble to get there in time and left my gloves on the roof of my car.  Luckily I noticed one blow off and drove back to pick up the other one before I got to far from home. 

There was a small group of riders at the Marion square preparing for the ride.  We barely made it and only had a few minutes before the ride started.  This is starting to become a problem.  I’ve got to start getting to these things earlier.   I was surprised that the 100 mile route was a completely different direction from the other routes.  Everyone took off one way and the small group of us doing the 100 mile route took off another way.  This kind of annoyed me because there were several people I wanted to talk to on the warm up section of the ride but most of them went the other way. 

The small but dedicated crowd of riders await the beginning of the ride.

The roads were wet and spray from back wheels was annoying but at least Rob was thinking of others and put a trick fender on his bike.  Unfortunately it began to rain again and any notion I had of staying dry was gone.  My vest was not waterproof I found out, but I had arm and leg warmers so I was pretty comfortable.  I kept thinking about riding in Belgium.  All the pros seem to have a story about riding in Belgium, 200 mile per hour winds and rain, flat roads that go on for miles, and hard men that can handle those conditions firing snot rockets out of their nostrils.  Inspiring.  That reminds me,  I’m not sure what the cool wet ride will do for my cold and sinus congestion.  I was feeling alot better this morning and hopefully this ride didn’t set me back any.   

I can't believe my camera still works after this ride.

I found myself riding with 2 guys that race and one guy who is real fast and I knew it would just be a matter of time before the bubble burst, but until then I was going to ride it for all I was worth.  I had little problem keeping up and felt like I was just cruising then I looked at my heart rate and saw I was in the 170s and 180s.  Heart rate is so strange, when I’m alone training I can’t seem to push myself hard enough get my pulse that high, and in this group ride it was that high seemingly without pushing at all or any discomfort. 

mavic ksyrium broken spoke

My broke spoke

The 100 mile route on the Tour de Hope starts off flat but eventually gets into some nice hills South of Marion, but I would never see those hills today.  At 40 miles in my back wheel popped a spoke.  I’ve been riding Ksyrium Elite wheels for about a year and half and found their performance to be rock solid.  I’m not going to let one broken spoke tarnish their reputation, but if this continues I’ll be looking for a more traditional set of wheels. 

With only 20 spokes on the back wheel a missing one meant I was pretty much screwed.  My rim was hitting my brakes so bad I had to take them all the way out, and it even was thumping the frame a bit.  I urged my ride companions on and slowed way down after adjusting my brakes.  This is one of those times a cell phone would have been nice.  I was on a charity tour and I guess I should have just waited for a sag vehicle but I hadn’t seen a sag vehicle all morning so I was pretty sure I wouldn’t see one for a while, but I’m not really a sit down and wait kind of person.  I decided to take the shortest route back to my car. 

After cutting off almost half the mileage I had a few hours to wait for Luke, though I thought about just leaving him a note, I mean if you can ride 100 miles what’s 25 more back home.  I jest.   When the guys pulled into the finish they looked good and tired from a strong effort on a 100 mile ride.  I was cold, wet and bored, but I’m not going to complain, everyone’s going to have a mechanical problem every now and again, it’s not a big deal and I wouldn’t have kept up with those guys when they hit the big hills anyway. 

Luke finishes up his century.So yeah I rode in cold rain, yeah I had a mechanical, yeah I might have ruined a tire, but you want to know the truth, we live in a world with charity rides, and those rides have to be ridden by men on bikes, whose going to do it, guys that sit on the couch and watch football all weekend?  The world needs us on those bikes!


About Matt Gholson

Cycling, school teaching, husband.
This entry was posted in Bikes and components, Rides, Stories and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Tour de Hope and a Few Good Men

  1. Jim Russell says:

    Sorry to hear that your wheel ruined your ride today; just bad luck I suppose. Not sure why the 100 mile route starts a different direction, I believe they done this last year also. They had a much larger turn out last year; of course the weather was not so great today. I glanced at the radar and also thought the rain would clear out; it didn’t.

    Wasn’t a good ride for me today, I was doing the easy 30 mile trip and I just didn’t feel right for some reason. Felt fatigued right from the start; just one those days I guess. I had my rain gear so the weather didn’t bother me too much, of course a nice sunny day would have been nice.

    By the way, I won the top prize in the lottery drawing; a Specialized Airtool Pro air pump. It lists for $80 and is one fantastic air pump; I never thought I would own an $80 air pump.

  2. James C Wise says:

    check out Boyd Cycling: I hear they make some good wheels with lots of spokes the may they were meant to be made. I watched the weather. I knew the rain was hanging around for a while. I wasn’t going to ride anyway. ;->

  3. Steve says:

    You do an excellent Colonel Jessup impression! Your attitude is far better than mine would have been in your situation. I don’t know much about your wheels, but I do not a lot about broken spokes. In addition to letting the brake out, I have found that you can tighten some remaining spokes to counterbalance the lost one. It won’t be anything close to true, but it definitely helps.

  4. Jason Armes says:


    I think the older Ksryiums may be a little tougher then the newer ones. I still think they are very good wheels.

    Your wheel should still be under Warranty. I had a front spoke break on 1 of my newer Ksyriums like yours. A spoke nipple actually pulled out of them rim. The dealer sent it back to Mavic for repair. Mavic got the wheel back to me in a few weeks. It looks like they re-tapped the rim and put the spoke back in. It seems to be holding.

    I did have a rear spoke break on my older Ksryiums. It was mainly due to rider error. Last year when I broke my drive side chainstay, my chain kept jumping and would eventually get stuck between my large cog and spokes. I kept riding the bike anyway to get back to my vehicle. I had a hard time pulling the chain loose a couple times. I later noticed that a couple spokes were bent. I rode the wheels anyway. Eventually 1 of them broke on a very cold ride last winter. I rode the bike home and ordered some spokes at a local bike shop. I replaced the 2 spokes and the wheel is still holding up well.


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