Total Elevation Gain (ft): 4087.3
Weather: Partly Sunny, Warm
Hillbilly Insults: 0
Roadkill: 15 (3 Birds, 6 Frogs, 1 Turtle, 1 Gopher, 1 Beaver, 3 Unknown)
Bugs Swallowed: 1
Mean Dogs Chasing: 0
Animal Rescue: 0
Falcon Day 3
In the 1777 Siege of Fort Ticonderoga, the British army succeeded in positioning artillery on Mount Defiance, an 800 foot hill, causing the Americans to withdraw from both Ft. Ticonderoga and Ft. Independence without a fight. However, despite the cowardice of the patriots, they call Ft. Ticonderoga, "America's Fort."
It's really a French fort that was seized by the English and now makes it's way as a museum. I rode by it and assumed that some tour guide with a Jersey accent would tell people, "Yeah, youse all should know that not much happened here, but the cannons are pretty cool and stuff."
The town of Ft. Ticonderoga is charming, like so many of the villages, hamlets and hovels of New England. I was especially glad to arrive here since my favorite director sportif, soigneur and domestique joined me for the last stretch of the ride. Katy flew into Portland and made the long drive to run support.
I'm surprised I made it to Ticonderoga because the Falcon derailleur lived up to its reputation as an epic failure. It gave up shifting altogether. This impotent lump of cheap steel forced me to get off the bike at the bottom of steep climbs to manually drop the chain. I'm from Oregon where mustachioed hipster men and women churn their own butter in 1820's wool garb and pickle vegetables, but there are limits to the Luddite lifestyle. The Falcon situation was one of them.
I stopped for service in an outfitter shop in Old Forge. Eli, the young mechanic in the back of the store, did all he could to get the bike semi-functional. He did an admirable job, seeing that I made 88 miles today through the foothills of the Green Mountains.
As a bonus, I had another mechanical issue resolved. For the last 600 miles or so, I've been plagued by an annoying squeak at every pedal stroke. Velocipedic Chinese water torture! No fewer than seven mechanics have tried to fix it. I changed pedals. I bought a new seat post. I cleaned and lubed the rear derailleur, disassembled the bottom bracket and checked the wheels for hub issues. Nothing.
My desperation strategy was to ignore the sound just like at home when I'm too lazy to change the battery in the fire alarms. Chirp! Chirp! Chirp! After a while, you don't hear it--just like Muzak, nagging spouses and construction.
A guy walked in the room and asked to hear the sound. We bounced, smacked and punched the bike to recreate the metal on metal chirp. Chris, the aforementioned guy, crouched and put his left ear all over the bike. It's hard to isolate an unwanted noise. Many cyclists know that sound origin is deceiving as its thrown around the frame ventriloquism style. Chris stood up and pointed at a tiny bolt on the rear rack. "There, it's right there. Spray some lube on it," he said.
Perfect outcome. No more water torture.
It turns out that Chris is the store's accountant. Accountant! Another example of the need to let those outside of one's domain solve problems. I wondered if Eli could balance some Excel database irregularity for Chris sometime.
Thankful for the help, I was off like a prom dress to my next destination!