Thursday, March 20, 2008

Mr. Rohloff and Me

Last year during the Trans Germany on stage 4 just before the start I had a major frame failure that had me riding the day on Matthias Mende's Rotor with Rohloff Speed Hub locked out for Single Speed. That day I had to deal with the disappointment of mechanical failure and the mental problems that come along with having to rely on someone else to accomplish my goal. The stage ended in Bischofsheim where I was greeted by a grinning Matthias who wanted to know how his bike rode set up in Single Speed fashion. We chatted for a bit and I told him that I would see him later at the nightly Pasta Party. Shortly after I finished my meal in the firehouse of Bischofsheim Frodo's Justice found me and delivered a message over my shoulder. "Mr. Rohloff is here and he would like to talk to you", Frodo whispered. I followed our new friend through the crowd and he took me right to Mr. Rohloff, Mrs. Rohloff, Matthias, his stoker and Albi. Doc Rohloff shook my hand and asked me about the SS ride on his 14 speed internally geared hub. I told him about the day, the bike and the gearing. Matthias is over 6 feet tall and the frame was huge, the seat post sunk all the way down was not enough. Albi almost exactly my size, stepped forward with his little Rotor with Rohloff hub and told me to take the bike all the way to Oberwiesenthal. We stood around drinking delicious beer while this group of humans stripped Albi's Rotor of cables and shifters and then locked out the hub in the equivalent of 34 x18 on 26". I thanked them for their help and Doc said he and his wife would see me in Oberwiesenthal when the race was over. That he did for 4 days later on the last Alpine Climb before the final descent Doc and his crew were singing a rap song with amplifiers pulling us up, "IT'S YOUR NATURE!" There were rolling high fives at the apex of the climb and then this amazing final descent into the finish. Beer, Champagne, smiles and the return of Albi's bike with brand new Race Face Carbon seat post and WTB saddle. A few weeks later when I was back in the USA someone sent me a link to Mr. Rohloff's Web site where he published these words about what he saw in the efforts of Becky and I. I am forever thankful for the genuine kindness of Mr Rohloff, Matthias, Albi, Frodos Justice and the entire German Rotor crew for helping me accomplish what I set out to do, without them I would have been left behind with my broken Spicer in Frammersbach.

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