I took the new wheel out for a spin yesterday.
I love riding in Corvallis in the spring. The singletrack trails are just incredibly beautiful. You ride under a canopy of fir/cedar/oak trees and pass moss covered nurse logs, wild rose, coastal iris, buttercups, sword and brachen ferns, and vine maple. I even spotted a rabbit while on the Midge Cramer path. Luckily, I didn't see any poison oak and haven't had any signs that I ran into any unseen (knock on wood).
The wheel finally came. I got the same rim back with a Chris King stainless steel rear hub. Two weekends ago I put on the new rotors (I scratched the others while riding on the Slick Rock trail because my brake pads wore out), adjusted the rear derailer but didn't go riding on the account of mango.
So yesterday was the first ride. It felt great. First of all, the wheel didn't break. It made the little buzzing noise that Chris King is known for, and it rode beautifully. And the weather was perfect, just a little sunny, and slightly cool. It had rained the day before, so the trails were a tiny bit muddy - and there's just nothing like riding around with a little mud splatter to make you look like a real mountain biker.
On my way back I rode on the road that cuts across the OSU farm/ranch land (and through the covered bridge). A college class of some sort had assembled on the path - so I whistled and they parted, making two columns of bodies for me to ride through. I felt like Lance Armstrong, riding in the French countryside with excited cycling fans eagerly waiting for a glimpse of greatness. Sure enough, their faces showed the disappointment when it wasn't Lance but an overweight weekend warrior wearing spandex and no giblet cover.
But, I didn't let that dampen my enthusiasm. I rode on.
Before I go, I recently found out that Chris King had moved to Portland. I'm very excited about this for three reasons.
First of all, they sound like an awesome company to work for. They seem to treat their employees very well, and their attitude toward the environment is incredible. Almost no waste leaves the building - they recycle their oil, their water, everything. Read about their environmentally sound manufacturing processes here, and why they choose to continue to manufacture their products in the US in this article.
Secondly, I want to go on a tour of their shop - and it's much easier now that they're in Portland (as opposed to southern California).
Third of all, if my rear hub breaks, I can drive up there and throw my rear wheel at them and yell, "Fix it damnit!"