Saturday, July 4, 2009

Potential tragedy narrowly averted

And here I thought seeing a flat tire late Friday night was a bad thing.

I was busy doing something else last night, though now I can't remember what, when I noticed that Estela's back tire was flat. No biggie. I replaced the tube, finding a tiny little piece of wire about the thickness of a hair and about 5 mm long in the tire. Then I put everything back together, and reloaded the little saddle bag. Only then did I notice something odd about the back tire. It wasn't black. There were small gray diagonal stripes on it. I looked closer, and indeed, there were lots of gray stripes and even a couple small holes. All around the business end of the tire. I had worn away all the rubber. I would have taken my bike on a 100+K ride out into the hilly boonies on a tire that had very little rubber left. I don't like to think about how that could turn out.

My original plan was to head out early this morning to try to beat the weather. It turns out that MEC is the bike store that opens first on Saturdays. I went and bought a new tire, and a new tube, and some Clif's Shots. I figure it does no harm to have 2 spare tubes on the bike, and another in the house. There will come a day when I need all of them. The morning looked kind of cloudy, but when I was home and done tire changing stuff, it looked quite nice out. Still, the forecast called for thunderstorms late afternoon, and at this time of year that's a safe bet.

You can see a map of my route from a year ago here, and some info about that ride. I'd been wondering what to ride when I found that blog post, and decided to redo the ride. Hoping for some improvement over the year.

Out 22X was nice, with wind out of the south. There were clouds building ahead of me so I wondered if that was the day's thunderstorm. I could see away to the south it was still sunny, so I expected I might get rained on a bit, then break into the sun again once I got going south. I made pretty good time out to 762 with only the lightest sprinkles of rain, not even enough to get the road wet. I wasn't feeling strong or comfortable on the bike like I was the other day. I kept shifting around. My hands were going numb quicker than usual. My left ham was very slow to get with the program. Rode fairly easy till everything was tuned in.

Going south is a nice ride, not too much traffic, nice views, lots of hills. Into the wind. Firmly, directly. I barely made it to 50 K at the end of 2 hours. Across to Millarville is mostly downhill, and went fast. Last year I went into Millarville and stopped at the general store. This year I kept riding. I think that's the difference between the milage numbers. I hit 3 hours and 75 K just as I turned right to head east again on 549, going past the Millarville Racetrack. Into the wind stronger than ever. On really rough pavement. I'm so glad I've got a carbon fiber bike when I ride that road. Sometime when riding with someone my size who has an aluminum bike, I'll have to offer to swap bikes, just for a bit, to see how it feels.

This was beginning to hurt. I was getting sick of hearing the wind in my ears. There's a spot where the road goes up and around a big hill. Even more directly into the wind. I tried to stop thinking about it. I just put my head down and pedaled.

Just before turning north on 733 there is a tough hill. From a distance it looks like a wall. Up close it's still pretty wall-like. Getting up that was brutal. I was getting tired and there's still the Road to Nepal between me and home. At least this is the 'easy' way. Turning onto the new pavement is such a relief. Especially since I was mostly going with the wind. I sat up, relaxed a bit, nibbled, drank, and took stock of how I felt so I could figure how hard to push. Ah, not very.

I made good time to the top of the road, passing the 4 hour mark at just under 100 K. Or if you prefer to think about it this way, passed the 100K mark about 4:02. By now I was done the Clifs bars, and took in a gel just as I got to 22X. My neck, shoulders, and the top of my back were killing me. I was trying to stretch it out a bit by looking down at my cassette, and still riding safely.

By the time I got into my neighbourhood, my toes where on fire. They were sick of being in the shoes. I'd been spinning it out, trying to flush out my legs, but it wasn't going so well. The last few hundred meters to the house are a slight downhill. I took my feet out of my shoes and oh the bliss! I hit the button on my watch at 4:33. It took a few seconds to stand up straight.

Quick transition, then out for a short run. It looked pretty horrible for the first bit, but I was into a nice stride about 3/4 of a K into it, and the the second K was actually fairly quick, about a 6:30 K if I did the watch arithmetic right. My feet and legs felt pretty good, and my lungs were on top of things. I could have gone further than a couple K, but I didn't particularly want to. I have a strong suspicion the wheels would have fallen off the wagon about the 5 K mark, but who knows? Maybe not. Or maybe yes, considering I had no further nutrition since I was only planning to do the 2K

It was so nice to lie down on my yoga mat in my nice cool basement. I put my feet in the air for a while, and did some stretches. That felt so nice. No ice bath, but I ran pretty cold water over my legs for a while. What hurts now the most, after the fact is still my neck and shoulders. Just for the record, we had rain, thunder, and lightning less than an hour after I got home.

111.8 K ride distance
4:33:00 Watch time
4:31:35 bike time (I stopped once to pee, and that's the only time my feet touched the ground.)
24.7 Kph average speed
85.7 Kph max speed
69 RPM average cadence, which is lower than I like.
3:22 T2
13:53 run ~2 K.

4:50:21 Total workout time.

Weekly Summary
Swim .75 hrs
Bike 9.5 hrs
Run 2.25 hrs
Total 12.5 hrs

The astute or obsessive of you will note the swim number is really low. I decided to give my arm a bit more of a rest, while working on massage and mobility. My left shoulder is a bit creaky too, and I figured a rest would be good for it. Back into the pool on Monday.

For all my buddies in GWN tomorrow, HAVE A GREAT DAY! I'll be thinking of you all. I'll be sure to have my feet up sipping some fresh coffee during the swim start. For the cheering section, scream your lungs out, shake that bootie, and have fun. Can't wait for pics.

Lastly, for my American blogger buddies, Happy Fireworks and beer Day!

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