At the end of the battle and not without tears streaming down my face I stood with the tattered remains of my vanquished foe held high before the front window where my Susan looked out at me.

“I do not quit,” I said in a quiet and quivering voice. And my Susan left the window and came through the house and out the front door and to me and put her arms around me and I think she got choked up a bit, too.

What was it that Susan had endured me fighting and failing for about two hours? Nothing more than the bottom bracket of my bike whose lockring refused — and I mean refused! — to budge.

And I almost gave up. Having bloodied one finger and smashed two others while stripping the teeth of the lockring so that the bottom bracket tool could barely find purchase I turned to my last resort: the big plumbing wrench almost entirely unsuited for the task of loosening the frozen thing from its threads. But it had worked before on another bike so I figured I had to give it a try.

That failed to do anything but simultaneously crush a fingertip and chip the paint on the bike when it slipped with me in full exertion mode.

And that was it. I threw in the towel. “I guess I’m beaten,” I said aloud. And I hated myself. And I hated the bottom bracket and the bike and the world. And I wanted to break the bike and the tools and the bricks I walked back and forth on in a tantrum while fighting the urge to cry like a little baby and curse at the top of my lungs.

I do not know what made me dig deep for one last attempt, but I picked up the bottom bracket tool and using it with a 32mm wrench on one side and the socket/ratchet arm on the other, I seated it as tightly as I could onto the thoroughly damaged lockring one more time and I took a deep breath and I leaned into it and with every last bit of me I gave it a twist and the lockring held just like it had for the last two hours, but this time so did the tool. So I leaned into it a little more, and this time instead of slipping off the ring and sending my fingers smashing into the bike frame, it turned. Befuckinggrudingly, it turned.

And I let out a “hell yeah!” through clenched teeth and kept up the pressure and it kept turning and in a few more rotations, I had the bottom bracket in my hand and I walked away from the bike and with tears of joy and pride and relief streaming down my face I stood with the tattered remains of my vanquished foe held high before the front window where my Susan looked out at me.

“I do not quit,” I said.