Sunday, April 1, 2012

106 Days Remaining Part 2: Long Ride, Flat Tire, Gummy Bears, Wind, and Lessons Learned

I came home after my long run in the morning and provided my kids with their Saturday morning donuts. I did eat one, but I felt it would not cause any issues after running 16.5 miles and having a long ride a few hours later. I also made a killer bacon, egg, cheese toasted sandwich and some OJ for a perfect recovery breakfast.

My legs were tired. I was not sore, but I could tell they were fatigued. After getting a thousand things done we were ready to get this ride going. I say we because Amanda is always involved in everything whether getting up with the kids early in the morning when I am out running when she wants to sleep or in this case helping me load everything up to drop me off on the Illinois side.

Prior to leaving I checked my tires and they felt a little low on air so I pumped the tires up and they felt good. Little did I know that this moment was my sign of bad things to come. I loaded my bike up with all my gear and then the kids and headed to Stoney Creek Inn to be dropped off.

We made it and Aiden snapped a picture of me before departing.


I had to make sure I was sporting my LIVE UNCOMMON gear. Riding to Fulton allows a ton of people to see the gear and hopefully make some of them check out what it is all about.

IMG_2573I had my bike loaded up with GU, a BONK bar(peanut butter and jelly), water, and bottle with a new GU product that I was trying out to see how my stomach would respond.

I  headed out on my ride and right away the ride felt tough. However, I just played it off as my legs being tight and needing to loosen up and the wind. The wind was strong coming off the river. I felt like I was pedaling with a lot of extra effort and not making much progress. My lack of biking experience did not make me think to stop and check everything over before beginning. I honestly think my tire was low on air to start and just became progressively worse.

I kept on riding. the path was bare as it was not the warmest of days and the wind was strong. I was able to just get in a groove as best I could. I started this knowing it was going to be a mental test. With this mindset I just kept thinking that the difficulties in riding was all part of the mental test.

Around mile 8 I knew something was up with my bike. My legs were tired and I knew I was putting way too much effort into pedaling to only go 15 mph. I know speed is not everything, but after last weekend I knew I was not pushing this hard and I was hovering around 17-18 mph. I could barely get above 15 mph during this ride.

Go figure that at the point when there was a massive stretch of no gas stations or places for air I decided to pull off the path and check my bike. I knew my front tire was not good because I tried to stand up and pedal to stretch my legs and I could hear my tire just grind on the ground. I also was not able to turn without the feeling of crashing.

Here is what I found when I checked my tire


I had a deflated tire. Now, if you are a cyclist you are thinking no big deal. Well, this rookie of the roads was not well equipped. I did not bring a tire repair kit even though I ordered one this week and left it at home.

Stupid, I know. But, I don't think I would know what to do with it anyways.

Here I was at the crossroads in the middle of nowhere - do I keep riding with my weight all on the back tire or give up and call Amanda? Being stubborn I decided to ride until I hit a gas station. After riding about 8 miles on a flat I kept on thinking a gas station was just up ahead. Well, I did not find a gas station until mile 29. It was a hard ride, frustrating, but a good test. Things are not always going to go according to plan. You have to find ways to persevere or solve the issue. I was not able to solve the issue because I was ill equipped. I had no choice but to persevere. I wanted these miles. I wanted this big ride. I kept.

Finally, I hit Albany and stopped at a gas station. Thank goodness I stashed some money in my pants. I bought some gummy bears(I ate the bag in about 7.3 seconds) to get change for the air. The clerk looked at me like I was crazy when I came in my bike pants and shoes. He was so confused. I called Amanda and told her my dilemma. I filled the tire and it appeared to be holding the air so I told her I was going to keep going.

I headed out and man the bike felt awesome. It is amazing how much easier it is to pedal when you have air in your tires! After about 2 minutes I knew the air was out and I was back to a flat.

I kept on riding thinking Fulton is just a few miles away. I pushed on. Getting angry. Angry at myself for not packing the kit. Angry because this was not in my plans. Then finally I got over my pity party. I always tell my kids and students and players there is no point to get angry over things you cannot control. On the basketball court you cannot control the refs. They make a bad call you cannot let that take you out of your game because there is nothing you can do about it. I could do nothing about my situation. I did not prepare well and so I have to deal with the consequences. I just kept riding and then.....

I heard a THUMP.........THUMP..........THUMP every time my tire made a complete rotation. My tired was getting worse. It was time to call it a day. This was just going to lead to more issues with my bike. I called Amanda and had her pick me up. I left her a text message as she did not answer her phone and just kept riding a little bit because I wanted to get to at least 34 miles. I ended up with 35 miles.

Here is my ride breakdown.  Not very good numbers, but a heck of a workout!

Comparing my ride from yesterday to the ride from last weekend you can see the difference a deflated tire can make. I have learned to check everything before a ride.

More importantly, today I will try to teach myself how to fix a flat tire so I can get my bike up and running. Running short on miles yesterday and not riding on Friday night eliminates this Sunday as a day of rest as I still have one more bike ride to fit in. My legs are tired, but not sore(which I am surprised).

Overall, I am happy. Between the running and this ride this does make for my biggest training day of 51 miles(1 more mile than my 50 mile ride last weekend). I learned many things from this day both good and bad.

On my last note, if you happen to know of any good bike deals or bikes for sale that would fit a 6"3' frame let me know. I am in pursuit of upgrading my bike from the one I have, but also am not loaded with money.

Enjoy your Sunday! Despite some hurdles I was able to GET IT DONE!

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