Flats.

I don’t think my bike has had a flat tire in over a year. But on Sunday, I guess the time had come–and I felt my back tire feeling not so secure as I rode along the Pacific Coast Highway (somewhere near Manhattan Beach). I pulled over and was determined to fix it completely on my own. Usually, cyclists stop & eventually take over & I say many thank yous, but I also feel insanely dependent and incompetent. So I tried to look like I knew what I was doing. Also, since I was on the highway, there were fewer cyclists around. I got my new tube that I keep with me & began airing it up a bit, only to realize that it must not be a new tube–because the air was leaking right out. Well, I couldn’t patch the leak on the first flat tire–because of the placement, so I patched up the other one & got it on the bike. I tried pumping it full of air, but it would only get about 1/2 way filled up–certainly not enough to make the 15 miles still left in the journey. So I get out my fancy C02 cartridge–which blasts the tire full of carbon dioxide faster than you can type carbon dioxide. Or I mean faster than you can type car. I’m surprised the whole thing didn’t explode from the pressure, but I was so impressed with how full the tire felt! I was a super star! Sure, it took me about 30-45 minutes, but I was feeling well-rested again and ready to ride.

I was on a “post-fixing-flat-bike-ride high” for a good 30 minutes. On my way home, I was exiting the bike path & making a final turn back onto streets when I again felt an unstable back tire. I stopped & felt it–nope, still pretty pumped up & then saw part of the tube coming out of the tire–a huge bubble that exploded like a gun shot as soon as I touched it. Quite frightening. Then I realized that I had two tubes that were basically unfixable (always keep 2 spares! lesson learned!). But I was so smart because I remembered to bring my cell phone with me. Hooray! I call Chuck to ask for a ride, and my poor phone dies as I try to explain the problem. Completely dead. (always charge your phone! lesson learned!). So I walked home. Now, normally–this distance is nothing…only a couple of miles. But when you have a bike with you & you’re walking in bike shoes (these things have huge cleats), it becomes very slow and painful. Especially when you had just spent the previous hours riding at 18mph.

It didn’t really phase me, though. Triathlons/marathons have taught me not to be phased. You just puked on your bike ride? No biggie. Run 6 miles on an infected spider bike? Pick up the pace! Those waves are 9 ft high…swim through em! You feel like maybe your little toe just fell off? Finish the race! Really there is not much of a choice other than to keep on going, flats and all. And to still be impressed by the 30 or so miles I travelled (on bike and on foot). And to thank God that I don’t live in a cold weather place. I was walking in sunshine, fixing my flat in sunshine, riding in the sun—so the Vitamin D was being absorbed for sure.

I must also say that I didn’t get on my bike once all week after that happened. That my bike is still sitting in my garage, flat tire and all. I’ll fix it tonight & be back out there tomorrow. I must also say I took three days off working out mid-week (a mental flat tire). This was not really part of the plan, but I’ve been building pretty steadily for 3 weeks–so it also wasn’t all that surprising. It happens. But I made it back to the pool this morning & will hit the gym tonight & do some great workouts this weekend, so I don’t stress out as much as I used to. Or try to do something crazy like make all the workouts up. It’s never worth it. I made sure I got some extra naps, so let’s call that “recovery time.”

Work is shutting down this Friday afternoon & I’m off for my most painful half hour of the week–seeing my Active Release Technique guy who insists on killing my leg with something you could call “massage,” but you’d be wrong. Really, he’s great–but I’m so happy when it’s over & I get to go home! Have a great weekend!

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