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Snap

Out on the road last night. Roughly 10 kilometers from home. Wind was calm. Moving along at a fine pace on the flat road. 36km/h.

SNAP!

Rear wheel locks up. Adrenalin rush. I’ve been hit? Wrench the machine back into balance. Don’t spill. Execute a panic stop.

Relief. I did not go down hard on the road. I was able to keep the bike in balance. What happened?

I ride on Roval Rapide SL Carbon wheels. Standard issue on the big S Specialized bikes. Very expensive wheels. Almost $3,000 a pair. Tires extra.

These carbon wheels are very lightweight at 1,450 grams and feature DT Swiss AeroLite spokes. One of those spokes snapped on the rear wheel. Because of tension, the loss of one spoke immediately took the wheel out of true which caused the tire to jam against the frame.

I was fortunate that I was able to keep control of the bike. However, I had no way to execute a roadside repair. The bike was down.

Amongst other things, I always carry a cellphone with me when I ride. Lorraine had gone downtown and by good fortune was on her way back and not too far from me. My roadside wait was less than 5 minutes. I took the bike down to my local shop — the wonderful folks at J&J Cycle — where the owner graciously lent me a CycleOps PowerTap wheel. My rear wheel will be out of commission for repairs for the week but I can still ride.

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