Sunday, May 16, 2010

One Tire, Two Flats

Friday afternoon I was in the land of invoices. It's not a sector of the world I care to be in for long, which probably seems weird since invoices = money. I just hate doing them. A lot.

Around 1 p.m. I decided to take a break and go on a bike ride. I originally had wanted to get through a certain chunk of invoices and then use the bike ride as the reward, but I caved early. I just needed some fresh air! So I changed, had a snack, filled up my water bottle and went down to the trail.

It took me a few miles to warm up. I was riding into a headwind. Eventually I got up to cruising speed between 16 - 18 mph, mostly in the 16s. It felt pretty easy. My breathing was easy, but I did feel the fight against the wind in my legs. I originally thought I'd just do 20 miles and push hard the whole time. But then I decided I should do 30 since I didn't do the longish ride Monday night. I was happy that I was gliding along at the pace I was going, and was really looking forward to flying back with the wind gently pushing my back. I was curious what kind of speed I would settle into on the return.

14... 14.5... 15 - there! I'll turn around now. I made the tight turn in the trail width, just above Morrow. Then I stopped and was going to take a picture of some cool rolled up grass I saw off the side of the trail in the sun when I heard a very loud hissing noise. It came from my back tire... no no no no! I put my finger over the obvious location and the hissing changed to a loud squeak, like the sound you can make with a balloon by pulling on the part you put your mouth on to inflate. Took my finger off, put it back on, took it off, put it back on... crap! I was in denial. This will be flat in 2 more seconds. There was no time to ride on it for a bit to get closer to home. Oh well, I guess it's time to actually change a flat!

I've only ever had one other flat. It was during the Tri for Joe in 2006 or 2007, I forget which. I got a puncture maybe around mile 12 in my front tire. After noticing it, and asking various race volunteers if they by chance had pumps (none did), the only thing I could do was race it back. It was a slow leak. I made it back just in time, and had a pretty good bike average speed thanks to it! :)

This flat was sudden and all the air was gone. I walked my bike up to a bridge area and took the back wheel off.

Then I got the tire off of the rim and the punctured tube out.

The chain made for some dirty hands. I need to clean my chain. I also got grease on my new jersey. Hope it comes out.

Then began the fun part, which I've never done... putting the new tube in and tire back on. In summary, this didn't go well. I spent many many minutes, while the springtime gnats munched on me, wrestling with tire and tube. I had to let one passer-by help get the tire back on – and it took him a long time and three breaks resting his hands before he was successful. Then I couldn't get the new tube pumped up (don't ask – combo of pump I've never used before and missing part on valve stem), and had to allow another guy to help with that. But as he was pumping up the tire, a fresh hissing began. The next tube was also punctured. Crap again!

I had rubbed my thumb along the inside of the tire, trying to remove any debris that maybe had stayed inside after I plucked out the shrapnel that punctured the first tube. But apparently the slit was so large, some of the wire that is in the tire was frayed and sticking out, puncturing the tube as it got nearer to full size. So, now I need a whole new tire too. :(

With a completely flat tire, that meant I had to walk, in my rigid bike shoes. I called my friend Erin, who works near by. She was my only hope of someone possibly being able to come get me. I was so mad and disappointed. I couldn't believe I was done for the day. Initially I was disappointed because I needed help to get the flat changed and get back on the road. I would really like to be able to do this myself. But after the second puncture, I can't even say that I got a flat, had a little help, and was able to ride back! Argh! 

After about a 1.5 mile walk down the trail to Morrow (glad it was only that far), awesome Erin found me at the old train depot near Miranda's ice cream shop (which I have yet to try). 

View along the bridge just north of Morrow.

Main street and the bike trail.

I took my wheels off and shoved my bike in Erin's car. She drove me back to my studio where I put my bike into my own car, grabbed my clothes and went home. (Thanks so much, Erin!!)  It was 5. Ug.

There is a lot of disappointment I feel because of this ride. Changing tires unsuccessfully, interrupting someone's day to come pick me up (and so soon after having to have people come pick me up after bonking), not having a ride partner(s) so I can go out on rides like this more often and with support. But hey, it's only May. I suppose I have some time to iron out all the kinks of my road biking through the season.

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