Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Misadventures in Cycling

13 Miles
Monday was Sarah's and my anniversary so to celebrate we took the mountain bikes up on top of the rims for a joy ride.  Of course she enjoyed floating over the sandstone rims (I'll probably get corrected on the type of rock) with her new mountain bike with 4 inches of travel on the suspension.  Me, however, I got rattled to the core.

The ride started out to be treacherous with the trail leading to the main trail being washed out and rutted deeply from the last rain storms.  It was bad enough that we had to walk most of it.  The parts that we did attempt were challenging and I ended up slipping or hitting a pedal on the ground several times, once causing me to slam my knee on the handlebars.   We finally made it to the top and started the trail.  There were areas that were really washed out or covered by landslides there as well.  We took the trail slower than normal because we didn't know what to expect up ahead.

I pulled a Lance Armstrong on this ride.  Anyone following the Tour de France knows that Lance was involved in three collisions on Sunday in Stage 7 of the tour causing him to loose 10 minutes on the leaders and essentially ending his hopes at an 8th Tour victory.  My wrecks were in no way as severe as Lance's but they did hurt my ego.  I hit the ground with my pedals two more times, once bucking me completely off the bike and the other banging my knee on the handle bar one more time.  On the final spill of the evening I hit some loose sand and my back tire slipped sending me skidding to the ground.  Besides whacking my knee twice, I was not physically hurt from the wrecks but my pride was black and blue.  Sarah really showed me up on this ride.

It didn't last long though.  On our way home, while in Downtown Billings, the sky turned green, the wind kicked up, and it started pouring.  The rain was weird though.  Rather than dumping on us, it was a slow, steady rain with enormous rain drops that soaked everything they hit.  The roads were wet and slick almost instantly.  I hollered at Sarah to take a right but a little later than I should have.  She braked hard, locked the disc brakes, and her tires slid out from underneath her.  She hit hard.  When she was able to stand up she was covered with road grime and beneath the grime somewhere was some good road rash.

Regardless of our mishaps, we had a great time.  Not the most romantic anniversary date but it was sure fun despite the wipe-outs, bad weather and a flat tire. 

36 Miles
I've been riding again with Mike in the mornings.  This morning I met him at his house and we rode out towards Laurel for a country ride on flat roads.  I did 24 miles this morning with no incedents.

Later this afternoon I had a meeting to go to and couldn't get a company vehicle so I decided to pedal the 4 or 5 miles to the meeting.  I was already running late when I noticed my tire was completely flat.  I quickly pulled the tire off and found the problem, the valve stem had severed from the tube.  The tube was trashed so I pulled out my spare, a patched tube that had been sitting in my saddle bag for who knows how long.  I pumped it up the best I could and headed out to my meeting.

I missed the meeting so I talked to the client briefly, had him sign some documents and then headed over to the contractor's office to follow up and get his signature.  All was well until I was about halfway back to the office and noticed that my tire was getting spongy again.  I stopped to add some air and in the process I snapped the valve right off.  The tire still held air so I booked it back to the office as fast as I could hoping I could make it all the way.  I made it and it ended up being an 11 mile trip.

When I left the office this afternoon I felt the tire, really spongy, but I thought I'd give it a shot.  I made it about 50 feet before I decided to walk home.  Bummer!  In three years this was the first time I've had to walk the bike home.  And I was prepared with a spare tube and a patch kit but there's not much you can do when you destroy two tubes in one trip.

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