It was a perfect morning. Unlike normal November mornings, it was in the 40's. The moon was out, making the dawn even brighter than normal. In fact, I really should have left my light behind. I left with tights, a skull cap, arm warmers, and a vest. I was plenty warm, but not too hot. The ground was dry and crackled with leaves as I rolled along. The air was clear. There was only a hint of a breeze--not the normal morning gale of the canyon. I was feeling confident, too. I was ready to try new things, push myself a little faster.
I noticed a little rattling somewhere, but it could be anything. I wasn't going to let a little thing like that ruin my day.
The first climb over now, I started to hammer down the first loose descent with a sharp turn before climbing up out of the gully. I really was feeling on today.
More rattling. What could it be? Well, I have my light, so I point it down at the bike and start shaking things.
Solid. Everything feels really solid. Rear-shock? Nope. Seat? Nope. Front wheel? Nope. Ah well, on the bike again.
I'm pushing a faster pace than normal and loving it, but that rattle is really getting bad. A little rattle I can handle, but this is ridiculous. I've got to figure this out, I think. So, stopping once more, I suddenly wonder about my front caliper. Sure enough, it's loose. Missing one of the two bolts holding it on, and the other is barely there.
All of a sudden, a picture is opened up to my mind. I can see it clearly. I was getting ready for the ride this morning, plugging in my light and mounting the battery to my top-tube, when I saw my multi-tool. Should I bring it, I thought? Nah, I never need that on the trail. A pump, yes. A spare tube, of course. A multi-tool? What a waste of weight.
Always carry a multi-tool with you--especially if you're going it alone.
Lesson #2 (the more-important one)
Check your bike before leaving the garage/car/place where tools are. My morning ride started out so perfect, but only lasted about 15 minutes. Lesson learned.