We had a brief break from the rain this morning, so Steve and I headed out to Umstead to try and get in a quick bike ride before the next round of storms arrived.
With all the recent rain, the trail surface was quite soft and mushy but the temperatures were pleasant with just a hint of moisture in the air, signaling the impending rain. The greyness of the day gave the forest a mystical magical look and I would have been happy to lolligag and look around, taking pictures. But Steve was eager to get going.
It wasn't long into the ride - maybe three miles or so - when I mentioned to Steve that I felt like I was riding with cement legs, and the climbs were exceedingly hard this time, almost like riding with the brakes on. But I just attributed it to the fact that I hadn't ridden in a week, the trail surface was damp and mushy making for heavy rolling resistance, and I had made the supreme mistake of trying to ride this morning before breakfast, on an empty stomach. Regardless, the effort was really taking its toll on me, such that I began to feel almost sick trying to get up some of the bigger climbs. So that combined with ominous skies and the fast-approaching storms prompted the decision to shorten our loop. By this time, I was exhausted and even had to pedalhard to get down some of the downhill portions of trail, including the Graylyn descent, as the bike just did not seem to want to roll. We probably should have stopped and checked it, but knowing I'm out of shape right now, I simply figured it was me and my physical weakness, not the bike. However, when we arrived back at the trailhead, Steve took my bike to put it on the rack and noted that my front brake had seized up and that I had, in fact, been riding with the front brake essentially engaged for probably at least the past couple of miles - Yikes!
The Evil Seized Up Front Brake
I have to admit I was more than a little relieved to hear that, because despite my current lack of fitness, I would have been mortified to discover I was that out of shape. And I really don't think the 33x20 ratio I'm using is all that much gear to be honest.
Regardless, I'm counting riding the entirety of Graylyn Hill - and possibly even more of the trail than that - with the front brake on as a bonus workout, no matter how slowly I made the climb. And we're getting that front brake replaced pronto since Steve discovered upon closer inspection once we got home that the brake was, in fact, "done".