Aside from the fact it's probably not a good idea to ride along taking pictures on the bike when there are cars whizzing past you at 60 miles per hour. . . .
Today I learned that if you happen to look down when you're riding all alone down a rural backroad and the two chainrings aren't running parallel when they turn, it's a very, very, very, very bad thing.
I also learned there's no cell phone coverage on said rural backroad, so if I am in trouble, I can't get through to our home phone anyway or let our babysitter know I'm going to be late. I'm on my own.
I think I already knew that it's definitely not supposed to look like this:
Everything came clear when I stopped and got off the bike to take a look. Of the five bolts that hold the two chainrings together, three were completely missing. The penultimate one fell off just as I was dismounting, and the two rings fell apart held together by only one bolt. As I was sitting on the side of the road, I worked hard to try to snap the two rings back together by hand and fit in the one bolt, but they just wouldn't go together at all, not even enough to limp back home. So I was totally stranded and had a 9-mile walk in bike shoes to look forward to if somebody didn't pick me up.
I have no idea when the bolts fell out - during my triathlon? I didn't really inspect the bike after that, just filled the tires and hit the road today. I guess it's a good thing no more than three fell out during my triathlon!!!
I also learned that a bike shop tuneup (by the Felt dealer that originally assembled this bike) and two separate pre-triathlon bike inspections in the last two months won't necessarily catch major problems. Double-check everything.
I also learned the name and number of a very nice contractor who lives a few blocks away from us and who was kind enough to pick up me and my bike and give us a lift home, and will drop off his portfolio soon for when we start thinking about putting on an addition.