I was bummed about not being able to use the Spectrum during Knoxville and was determined to get it back in riding condition. So, yesterday, in the garage, I found another wheel with a Campagnolo cassette body and put the 12-29 cassette on it, but the cassette body wasn't wide enough to accommodate all the cogs. Damn! I put the cassette back on the original wheel and decided to play with rear derailleur tension. That improved things somewhat but not to my complete satisfaction and by then I'd exhausted my bike mechanic skills. It was time to call a professional. Not just any professional, Tim Parker at Cycle Sports.
Now, what I did wasn't completely kosher by bike shop MO. I called the shop at 4:30 p.m. and asked to speak with Tim. "Tim," I said, "are you really busy now?" "Not too busy," he replied, "what's up?" "I have a drivetrain noise issue. Any chance you could take a look at it now?" Tim was willing, so I jumped in the car and sped off. When I came in, Tim was working on someone's commuter and seemed glad to have my bike in the stand. I demonstrated the rumble and the noise. Tim took out the bike for a test ride, then, when he returned, he removed the rear wheel and played with the hub. "Your cassette body is pretty well shot and the bearings on the other side are pretty rough. It seems like it's been ridden in the rain a lot," was the spot-on diagnosis -- this was the bike that spent six hours in the rain of Solvang Double in addition to other wet rides I'd done on it. Tim ordered a new cassette body and repacked the bearings on the other side with grease. All that took just half an hour. Short-term, the wheel is good to go. I'll have the cassette body replaced when it comes in and the hub should be as good as new. And the great news is now I have my ridiculously puny 30x29 gear.