Thursday, June 01, 2006

I Flatted---and Triumphed

Yesterday, I came equipped for a late afternoon bike ride. I planned to be home by 7, just in time to meet one of the new, potential pet sitters for an interview. I decided to go out 10 miles along the coast, turn around and come home to keep it simple. I felt very good. For some reason, my morning dead legs and blah feelings had dissipated, and I felt fresh and zippy. Plenty of other cyclists passed me but I was very happy with my 17 mph on the flats.

On the way back, I geared down and psyched myself up for the large Torrey Pines Hill. I was kind of in a hurry because the lure of biking had caused me to override a bit, and now I was in a hurry to get home in time. However, it was about 6:20, and I was only 6 miles from home. Plenty of time to get home for the sitter. About 1/3 of the way up the hill, I felt the dreaded, "thump, thump, thump, thump" as the back tire went round and round. "No, please, God, no," I begged. I went through the five stages of grieving--denial (kept pedaling), anger (I can't believe it!), bargaining (I promise I'll take better care of you, Bluebell), depression, and finally acceptance (I stopped and got off the bike).

I evaluated. Yup. It was flat. Always the back tire. Actually, I've never had a front flat but I've had several rear flats. However, this (of course, Murphy's law) was the 1st flat of the season. Had to happen sometime. Better now than race season. Luckily, I always travel with a patch kit, spare tube, tire levers, small pump, and cell phone (in case the rest fails) so I was prepared. I proceeded to fix the flat (see post below). By the way, I've decided the mosquitoes have followed me to San Diego. They all swarmed in as I worked on the roadside (of course, it was dusk). For some reason, every single one of them bypassed my legs (the usual site of entry) and went straight for my ass. Guess the thin layer of spandex wasn't a problem for them. Number of bites on my legs? O. Number of bites on my ass? 6! Should I be flattered?

Several people passed by and offered to help. At least 7. I was very impressed. I was stubborn and wanted to fix it myself. Usually, when I've flatted in the past, someone has always been around to help me change it. I knew how but I wanted to do it myself. I noticed a small hole in the tire itself as I was inspecting it for debris. Hmmm. Time for new tires?

20 minutes later, Whallah! New tube inside tire on rim and back on bike. I wasn't able to get the air pressure up to 120 psi but it was enough to get me home. I was 15 minutes late for the sitter. She was SO nice and waited for me (definite brownie points for her). Anyway, I was ecstatic! I fixed the flat by myself! Ah, the glorious feeling of freedom and independence.


Jodi said...

You rock!

I'm a big wuss and just carry my cell phone (blush). But I did just put down some good money on flat resistant tires. It was worth the piece of mind after 2 flats last year.

Oh, the bike porn. I have to go take a cold shower. :)

Anonymous said...

Great work on fixing your flat and getting back on the road! Sometimes, I go for 1-2 months w/out a flat, then other times, it's like it's not a ride unless I flat w/in the first 10 miles.

One time, my chain was just a greasy filthy mess, I flatted, wrestled with the chain, wiped my face and gave myself a big black greasy mustache for the rest of the day (I had no idea... must have been pretty dorky when I'd talk to people). Now I got a chain cleaner (25 bucks at most bike shops) and switched to polymer based chain lube. My bike may be dirty, but my chain is sparkly clean at all times.

Cliff said...

The dreaded flats..

the only way i learn to deal with them is when they happen. You don't have to worry about pumping it to 120 psi. With a small pump, it is very hard to pump any harder than that.