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Sunday, May 6, 2007

My very first flat...

...during a ride. The weather here has been as rainy and thundery as it could possibly get. The last 3-4 days have been nothing but rain and the forcasters are predicting about 4-5 more days of this. It was Sunday afternoon and I noticed that the clouds were parting. I checked the radar and it showed a hole in the weather for about 3 hours. I had been dreading a trainer ride in the basement all morning so I was excited to have the chance to get outside. I was hoping for a 25 miler on my WSD Specialized Dolce road bike. I rode out with a 25 mph wind in my face for about 9 miles. I averaged a crawl of about 11.5 mph. I typically do my easy rides on a local paved trail. It is nice because it ducks under the streets and railroad tracks with little underpasses. A lot of the trail (the whole section that I rode today) runs next to a creek/sewage runoff. WIth all the recent rain I could see that the water had risen quite a bit above it's normal level and then had receeded and left lots of yucky debris in its place. There were wads of dead grass and weeds, aluminum cans, pieces of broken glass and food wrappers in piles, large branches floating down the swollen creek, and lots of mud on those usually so helpful underpasses. I slowed pedaled through one or two 1- 1.5" deep mud pits. After my wheels nearly slid out from under me, I decided to try and cross the streets above on my way home. I had been glad to turn around and increase my speed to an average of 19.5 mph but I had to keep stopping to cross streets. I had mud and water spattered all over my front and back (no big deal) and had mud in between the toes of my left foot from where I had had to put foot down to keep from wiping out (annoying). At one of the crossings there was no way to get back down to the trail except through the grass. I had to decide if I was going to carry my bike and get more mud and water in my cycling shoes or ride my bike through the tall grass and weeds. Unfortunately for me, I opted for #2, I rode. I thought I felt like something was not right as I was crossing a long wooden bridge but I looked down and everything looked fine. A few minutes later I felt that squishy feeling that means you better have your CO2 and your tire lever ready. I looked at the sky. I could still make it, everything was still looking clear. I was about 6 miles from home, maybe less. I jumped off and took a deep breath. I thought to myself, "Ok self, you can do this, you've seen it done a million times." ...

And then I decided to call my husband.

I know, cowardly, but it proved to be a good decision. He said he would be right there. "Just hang tight." And I did and then it started to rain. I decided to see how far I could get on my own. I took off the back wheel and got the tube out. I got out the spare tube and CO2 tank and cartridge. That is when it started to pour. I was cold, mad, drenched, and embarassed that I didn't know what I was doing. In fact, I told about three or four others out on bikes that I was fine. Big, fat lie. I had no idea how to use the CO2. I had bought that so long ago that I couldn't remember anything about it. Just as a really naughty word was beginning to pass my lips, I saw Patrick walking in the pouring rain towards me with tools and a pump. I am not going to lie, it was almost as good as our wedding day. I was so glad to see him. Being the bike mechanic that he is, he had things fixed in no time. I had a minor issue with the rear derauiller and the chain that he righted and then he sent me on my way. Is he awesome or what?! He met me back at home and as I showered off all the mud and sand all over me he patiently cleaned every inch of my bike and put it away. He never said a word about it, but in his own way he was telling me that maybe next time I should think about what the road conditions will be before I take off on my own.


It seemed like a rotten ride at the time but tonight we are practicing changing a tire with both the pump and CO2 cartridges and hopefully if this ever happens in a race I will be good to go on my own. Had to learn that one the hard way.

3 comments:

Jameson said...

I had almost the same experience (twice) in the last two weeks! Minus the weather tho...

I've gotten better at changing out a popped tube, especially when it is either learn how, or walk 10 miles home in cycling shoes. I think no matter how good I ever get at it, i'll still have a few choice words to yell out whenever I flat...

be sure to inflate your tires enough! I think thats why I flatted both times.

-Jamie
www.sbrtv.wordpress.com

Drew Holmes said...

We have all made that call...as sad as that is......"Honey can you come get me????"

Cindy Jo said...

I flatted at mile 8 of my second Ironman. It was my firt time using my race wheels and I had glued the tires on completely, so I had to wait almost 45 min. for the tech truck, cursing and pulling at my tire the entire time!

Its always good to practice, as inconvenient as it may be! Flatting in a race is NOT the time to figure it out...