Anyway, the bolt that holds the outside of the cage to the SPD had disappeared, as had the spring inside. It made a terrible rattle but didn't really affect the ride. But I figured being left like that for the rest of the ride home it might suffer even more damage so I jerry-rigged it back together using some folded note paper just like you'd see McGyver do. It got me home.
During my lunch break today I took the bike to The Trail Store to see if replacing the bolt and spring were an easy matter. Initial analysis revealed that with the purchase of just a few parts there was a good chance the pedal could be saved. The friendly mechanic whipped off the pedals and replaced them with some new platforms so I'd be able to get home, as ordering in the parts would take a couple of days and it seemed pointless to leave the whole bike in the shop for the sake of repairing a pedal.
Unfortunately further investigation of the pedal revealed more damage inside. In other shops, in other parts of the world, the mechanic would simply suggest buying new pedals but The Trail Store mechanic was keen to save my pedal with the purchase of a few parts from Shimano.
It was the first time I'd seen the schematic of a Shimano DX pedal and there sure are a lot of fiddly little parts in there. So in the end it was I who suggested to the mechanic maybe it would just be easier to simply purchase some new pedals. After all, the existing ones had lasted me a good 9 years initially for racing and later for commuting, they'd done their job and deserved retirement.
So now I've got some shiny new Shimano XT pedals on order. The new SPD design sheds mud a lot easier than the old so there is less need of a platform as backup when your shoe and pedal are clogged up with mud. Therefore I forwent the platform and saved almost 200g in the process.
After the purchase of a new bike, the replacement of an entire set of Hayes brakes with Shimano XT, and now the purchase of new Shimano XT pedals I certainly hope this is the last of my purchases for a long while as my wallet is starting to sting.
I'm not on The Trail Store payroll, they don't even know this blog exists, but I mention them at every opportunity because each time I go there the staff are friendly and the service is faultless. If you're a cyclist of the mountain bike, downhill, dirt jumping, freestyle or trials persuasion I couldn't recommend The Trail Store more highly.