Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Last time I was at Twinline, I decided I felt enough residual energy from the day to learn a bit of mechanicking. So, after I finished what I was doing on the computer, Ian gave me his race-bike cylinder to clean out.

"Normally I don't start interns on rebuilding engines, but this just happens to be what I'm working on tonight," he said.

I spiffed that cylinder up real nice and learned how to work the air nozzle to dry it. (Isaac jumped when I let loose the first blast right behind him.) Then I gooped up the bores with some kind of grease, which was fun.

Next on the agenda was sliding the cylinder onto the pistons, a tricky maneuver. I volunteered to help, but Ian selected Isaac as his assistant for some reason. Maybe it had something to do with Isaac's scads of experience compared to my zero experience--I don't know. I wandered over to chat with Brian so as not disturb the procedure.

Brian was messing with some electrical stuff, making lights blink on and off. I supplied a river of helpful advice, based on the way I imagined electricity should work.

Suddenly, disaster struck from the direction of Ian's work table: one of the piston rings broke. Those particular pistons had taken a week to arrive from eBay.

Then, even worse: "Dude, it scratched the bore," Isaac pointed out.

Ian went through various stages of grief. Since I have an electronics disruption field, which makes digital and electrical things go wonky, I have grown accustomed to taking the blame when things go wrong in my vicinity.

When he got to the anger stage, Ian yelled, "Superball!"

"It wasn't me!" I said. "There's nothing electrical about that! Yet."

So I got to be Ian's sounding board until he reached a modicum of acceptance. We called it good for the night.

I received a text from Ian a few days later: "No shop this week, yo. Me hurt good." That's the last I heard until today.

It turns out he high-sided the same bike (not his race bike--still a touchy subject) twice over the course of three weeks, with the same injuries (elbow and shoulder).

Yep, racing can hurt.