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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Flats are FUEL *or* Three, no wait FOUR Strikes and You're OUT!

Originally uploaded by neqadk.

This past weekend was not a cycling success. It was a failure in many ways and I'm having a hard time getting my head around what exactly happened.

A close friend crashed 20+ miles in out on Decker Lane on Sunday. Thankfully her helmet protected her head and her left hip took the brunt of the fall. She was in and then out of the hospital that afternoon only suffering an ankle sprain, serious road rash and contusions. Not to mention her poor, beat up bike and a dented helmet that needs replacing. Please keep her in your thoughts as she recovers. After the ambulance and fire fighters checked her out, they carted her off to St David's. I, however, still had to ride 20 miles back. And they were a hard 20 miles full of worry and trauma. The moment I got back from my ride, it was off to St. David's to support and be there for my friend. Come to think of it, though, the 20 miles back were not hard physically, though that was the longest distance I've cycled yet, it was more difficult mentally and emotionally.

So now let's talk about why I was riding Sunday at all. As you may know, I was slated and all signed up to ride Pedal Through the Pines 50 miler the day before, Saturday. That's another lot of strikes and failures. Suffice to say that I learned a lot but I'm still incredibly frustrated with the whole experience. Saturday started with me waking up, checking out my bike, and realizing the my front tire was completely flat. "BOO-HISS!" I thought, "Oh, should be quick fix, I'll change it when I get to Bastrop" I thought, and a packed my bike up and drove out to the start of the ride. I was so excited, 50 miles was the magic distance, a half century ride. I really wanted to do it. My buddies had agreed to do it with me. I changed the tire with the help of the same close friend who crashed on Sunday. Easy-peasy, we thought. Then, as we were pumping it up, the tire popped with a loud BANG and it went flat again. Slightly annoyed, I ran off to borrowed a spare tube from a kind soul from Austin Fit, my running group. I looked at my watch, it was only 8:30 AM at that point, plenty of time to change the blow out. My buddy and I worked faster on the second flat. We changed the tire again, together. It went great. All said and done, I got on my gear with 10 minutes to spare until the start of the ride.

I hopped on my awesome ride, happy, excited that we had made it through those difficulties and were still going to be able to ride. As soon as those positive emotions flowed through me, I then hit something, and my back tire blew out. I stopped to look back at it in horror and shock, all without clipping out. I subsequently fell over in exasperation and frustration. Another flat! The THIRD one of the day! 10 minutes before the start of the ride! I started thinking 'Three strikes and you're out' but no, we had to try. I didn't want to give up on the 50 miles ahead of me before even starting. So we somehow scrounged around and decided to use my friend's last spare tube. We changed the tire like pros, only slightly exasperated. As we were pumping it up, my friend pulled off the pump and the stem of the tube popped off. The tire instantly deflated, and so did our hopes of riding on Saturday. We all drove home. I took my little Fizgig over to Jack and Adam's to have them take a look at it. I decided I'd had enough of flats for the day, and I had a professional fix the back tube. I tried to psyche myself up for another 40 mile ride the next day, but my feelings were, quite literally, deflated.

As I was loading up my bike later that evening for the ride the next day, I stopped dead in my tracks in horror. The back tire, that the professional and J & A had JUST FIXED, was FLAT AGAIN. I was livid. I took it immediately to the bike shop, where I knew a few friends were having a triathlon training party. I walked up to the front of the shop, the lights were on. The door was locked. Pitifully, I stood there, staring at my flat back tire. I was about to cry when Desiree Ficker and Jack Murry walk up to the door. Jack said that I just looked too pitiful standing there, he just HAD to re-open the shop for me. He fixed the tire lickety split and I haven't had problems since. I was overjoyed to get the chance to talk with Desiree and that Jack re-opened the shop for me. The day had started to get better. I went outside, saw some friends and drank a very necessary beer to celebrate the fact that I was finally flat free. I decided later with the help of my Ironwoman friend, Moe that these flats can be fuel to get back out there and tear it up (with a lot of extra tubes)! So I've found a positive spin on all of this, I think.

Three flats...no wait, FOUR flats...and you're out. Let's just hope my friend is better soon so we can get out there riding again and really using these flats and these falls as fuel for more great riding. I'll have a great ride soon, I just know it. My injured friend and more friends will be out there soon for the Rosedale Ride on 03/28. We'll be sure to be carrying lots of extra tubes anywhere we can stick them! And awesome, protective helmets, too.

Be careful out there, everyone.

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  • At 3:32 PM, March 11, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Assuming the weather isn't so bad Sunday, my friend Mary and I are going to add another 30-miles after the J&A Sunsay ride. Saturday looks too bad to do a long ride, I don't mind rain or cold, but not both together!

    I'm going to take the group around the Decker Lake loop this week, once we get back Mary and I will head up to 360 from the shop, all the way to the top and then wind our way back downtown through the 'hoods after that. You'd be welcome to come along...

  • At 1:37 PM, March 14, 2009, Blogger Waly said…

    Great story. Hope your friend's doing better. And I KNOW you've had your quota of flats for a long time to come!

  • At 1:15 PM, March 17, 2009, Blogger Jessica, a Austin Runner AND triathlete said…

    i had two flats in a tri one time (last danskin) but never 4! wow! may that be all the bad tire karma for the rest of the year!

    anyhow, let me know about the ride radar....and keep me in the loop! we will soon workout together...i can feel it!


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I am a marathoner. That means I have a tummy that could sieze a spider.