Saturday was an unusual bike ride for me.
I intended to ride 3 hours probably 60 Miles but that didn’t happen.
We started off with my friend “N” and her merry band of millennials. Immediately I was surprised because instead of taking our normal residential route they lead us straight down. “Old Cutler”
It’s still dark, the road is crappy and practically instantly I hear a “pop” and my front tire goes flat.
My friend “M” stops with me and we carefully check the tire because we both think it sounds like a blowout. We find the hole in the tube but no matching issue inside the tire so we change the tube (which takes forever because … it’s totally dark) and head back out.
Riding down Old Cutler is super scary. It’s a two way street with no shoulder. The trees are grown overhead and to be honest the road isn’t in the best of shape. Lots of traffic and it’s the day after St. Paddy’s.
We’re zipping along at a steady 21-22 and suddenly one of my bottles flings itself out onto the road. And I never lose bottles – never. My friends pick up the bottle. And the three of us older folks take a minute to agree that we wish we weren’t on this road. I think I’m the oldest at 43. Picture us ranting about these crazy young kids … where’s my cane?
But we decide it’s best to push forward a little longer on this road rather than double back. So we pedal off and catch up to the merry millenials. I tell my friend N that if we fall back again to not wait for us. So on we go and then we approach a yellow light where we will turn left and I can see cars stopped to the right. So, I shout stopping. I stop and they keep going through the red light which is fine because we had already agreed that they wouldn’t wait for us again. Given my luck of the day I felt better letting all those cars go by.
The old folks regroup and I will admit at this point I have one of those weird feelings about the day. It seems like everything is going wrong. I’m on edge and I am mentally trying to decide whether to push on or just call it. Still Ironman is all about overcoming adversity and all that had really happened was a flat tire. No biggie. We decide to go on to the next stop because we need a potty stop.
While there I want to put a little more air in the tire that had flatted because I didn’t think we put the whole canister in. It feels a little soft to me. So we stop. I get out my handy dandy pump and bring the valve to the top. Then when I go to put the pump on I see clear as day that there is a hole in the tire. Even though I had checked earlier carefully – I guess we missed it because of the dark. So, now I know why it flatted. Either the tire just failed or I went over something sharp.
I have been carrying a dollar bill in my flat kit for years ever since my friend C had a blow out during Ironman Texas. So we put that dollar bill in to protect the tube and agree to head back easily since we don’t know if it will hold.
We are heading back and there is a group of cyclists in the incoming lane and an SUV pulling a boat trailer passes them coming Ming within inches of running me and my friends off the road. So, for anybody who is counting we’re at 1 flat, 1 dropped bottle and 1 nearly run off the road.
Then sure enough about 5 minutes later pfft. Flat again.
Now we are near my friend Max’s house so instead of changing the tube we actually swap the whole wheel with another from his road bike. And then we are off on our way again.
About 2 miles from the cars we go around a corner and I feel the front wheel slide or wobble .. it just didn’t feel right at all. As you can imagine given the events of the day so far I’m hyper alert. We stop at a corner and I say, “You guys won’t believe this but I have another flat.”
So, new wheel, different tire, 3rd flat in 30 miles.
But that’s not all. We ride back to the car. We run. We go to breakfast. I think the day is getting better. I drop off my friend “b” at home.
I’m driving home. As always I check periodically to see that the bike is still there. It always is. But I do have a friend who recently lost a bike off her rack so I know that this happens. Then right by my house … I’m slowing to turn into my street and the driver behind me beeps and zips around me impatiently. I look in my mirror – no bike.
Wtf is my bike?
Where … is … my … bike?
I pull over which is actually into my street and hop out. I look around and there’s my poor bike in the street. Ugh.
Sigh. Can’t make this up.
Crazy … right?
So I collected my bike and headed home. It’s pretty scraped up on the side where it slid. The rear derailer is really scraped, the seat scraped, the handle bars scraped. But actually the frame didn’t get run over – I guess I’m lucky.
I am hugely thankful that it was only my bike and not my friends which had been there too. Also I was embarrassed that such a silly thing would happen to me. But it did.
So, decisions coming up. I have been saying for over a year that I wanted a new bike. In the meantime I’m off to find a Shaman to remove the hex from my day.
What is the most amount of flats you’ve ever personally had in a bike ride?