Well, the ride was going great. I’d thus far resisted the urge to get out of the saddle, and had done some serious climbage, or so I thought. But it was freezing, and when I got a flat 3 miles from home, I was not a happy camper. I immediately began looking at passing pickup trucks with the biggest, cutest blue eyes I could muster–and it worked. Actually that part’s fiction, I just did my best to look miserable.
It also helped that the wife in the truck knew me from a previous job, and the husband looked awfully familiar too.
Okay, so I stuck a new tube in there with my brand-new tire, which only occurred after much consternation. But the tire and tube looked fine–fully inflated and happy as a junebug (that sounded way too cutsie), so I left it and took my mountain bike out on Memorial Day to survey what I could of the course for an upcoming mountain bike race in my area. Well, unfortunately, I discovered my legs feeling sorta weak and wimpy. I barely finished the first climb and then slogged my way through the mud on the trail up to the peak (if molehills have peaks) trail. The last time I’d been up there, I’d killed that climb without thinking twice about it. Bummer.
Tuesday, one of my many bosses, the previously mentioned D, e-mailed me to invite me to go on a road ride tonight. I wasn’t feeling great, so I decided to do a quick recovery day–a nice warm bath, way too much food followed by way too much relaxing–which had the unintended result of making it difficult for me to sleep last night and making me extremely drowsy at work today.
As a side note, I was also informed that my company’s IT dept has taken web surveillance to new extremes. I guess my boss’ boss got a print out of every web site I’ve been too in the past week. Oh, and I’ve been advised that I need to stop blogging–at work anyway.
So today, I overate at every opportunity: french toast for breakfast, grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch, followed by a last-minute Clif Bar, a slice of someone’s retirement cake, a package of Sport Beans, and an apple. Despite my legs feeling a little weak, I was as ready as I was going to get.
We started off for the climb where we’d be meeting another co-worker at the top–a heavier guy who was supposed to be slower, but as we approached the climb, I suddenly noticed I was feeling more of the impact from the road through my rear wheel than I usually do. Yep, another flat–my third in a week, I believe. I pulled off the wheel and got to work.
Then the mythological cycling gods turned on me. My CO2 inflator was practically empty (gee, I wonder why), but no worries, D had his. But when we inserted the CO2 cartridge, it fizzled and quickly emptied. No problem, he had another one handy–same result. Okay, Al Maviva, I will never doubt your advice with regard to the necessity of carrying a pump on all long rides again. You’re right, and now I add what little clout I can to your assertion.
Fortunately, this particular climb is pretty popular with the local cyclists, and a passing rider had a pump handy. I got the tube in, got it pumped up, no pinching visible this time, and we got back on the climb–our rhythm totally squashed.
You’d think that would be the end of it. Oh no, I then had the regular troubles to deal with. I dropped D pretty easily on the first section, but then we met up with the other co-worker so we regrouped (rats!). Then we got on to the second section of the climb, and I dropped him again–temporarily. First, my chain slipped as I shifted from my large chainring to the middle one (yes, I ride a triple, and I’m not ashamed of it), and it took some effort to get it to catch on the middle chainring where I wanted it–basically, I stopped. Then, and this is the reason I will never ever own a Specialized bike, my Specialized clipless shoe velcro came undone right at the steepest part of the climb, so once again, I practically stopped dead to fix that little emergency. And as I rounded the last little corner, the elastic broke and I pulled over to the side of the road. As D passed, I gave him a little encouragement.
"See you at the top"–that’s encouraging, right?
I gave it one last little spurt, caught him again, and then petered out again. I didn’t show up far behind him, but I certainly didn’t win the KOM jersey today.
Anyway, hope y’all don’t mind my venting here. I promise not to do it all the time.