Monday, March 28, 2011

Last long ride... cut a bit short

I was very happy when I woke up Saturday morning that it would be my last long ride in Tucson.  There are a couple of stretches of road that have been involved in all of these rides that I have no problem knowing I'll never have to ride down again.  I was physically and mentally pretty darn tired, but of course off I went, a little after 6am which was perhaps a bit earlier than advisable considering the daylight situation at that time, but I just wanted to get it over with. 

Things were uneventful, as usual, as I spent most of the time just thinking about hours later when I'd be comfortably sprawled on the couch taking a nap.  My thoughts then drifted to the fact that I had not suffered a flat tire the entire time I've been riding here in Tucson.  Well, unless you count the one I got when I was checking the tire before heading out for a ride in January, and I pulled a thorn out of the tire which promptly deflated.  But an at-home tire change is a lot different than on the fly.  And considering the fact that I flatted a couple of times week it seemed when I was in Phoenix, I was amazed.  There's plenty of glass on the roads and rough pavement and all sorts of obstacles.

I should never have thought about that, because as I was riding I suddenly felt like something wasn't quite right.  Now, this happens sometimes when I feel like I might be flatting, but I'm not.  Maybe if I don't look at the tire, it will stay inflated.  Except finally I glanced down at the front tire and saw that it definitely didn't have as much air in it as it did when I started.  I thought back to a few minutes before and remembered hitting a bump or something awkwardly and wondered if that was the culprit.  So I pulled over and checked the tire, which was quite deflated though not completely empty.  I didn't see any glass or anything in it, and then went to fix it. 

Except I didn't have anything to fix it with.  My saddle bag was conspicuously absent.  Oh, great.  Now what?  At the time I thought maybe it had fallen off somewhere, but it only occurred to me a few hours after I got home that it had obviously been missing for a week.  On last week's long ride one of my rear bottle cages broke clean off.  Guess what was attached to it? 

The only good news was that I was twelve miles from home instead of fifty.  I thought for a minute, try and ride it back?  Like I said, it wasn't completely empty.  So I got on and started pedaling, but immediately it just seemed like a terrible, terrible idea.  Let's not forget that aside from the rough pavement I'd have to cross a few cattle guards to get home.  Cattle guards on a wheel rim did not seem like a good idea.  So I stopped again and then just sort of stood there for a few minutes, wondering what my next move should be.  I had my phone in my back pocket, but it occurred to me that was pretty useless as I didn't really have anybody to call.  Makes me wonder why I've tossed it in my pocket for all these rides these past few months. 

Well, fortunately as I sat there with zero ideas popping into my head aside from walking my bike home twelve miles, a guy pulled up on his bike and asked if I was ok.  He was on a hybrid comfort bike, so even if he had tubes or something they wouldn't have fit.  But he did actually call his wife and she came and got me and brought me home.  This is actually the third time in my life I've had to accept a ride from a stranger in a dire flat situation.  The first was actually back home, I was about fifteen miles out and I don't think I had my phone.  My family was all away I think and I had run over something and destroyed both tires and a nice couple stopped and offered me a ride.  The second time I was in Phoenix, riding in the middle of nowhere on a cold, rainy day in January when I got my second flat.  I was in the middle of changing it and this woman stopped and insisted on bringing me to a bike shop or something.  I could've been stuck 30 miles from nowhere with no more spares and decided to take the ride even though I didn't need it... at least not yet.  I think I bought like six spares when I got to the bike shop so I'd have them to carry with me for the rest of the ride.

Anyway, I've definitely been lucky in this aspect so far.  But it gave me another reason as to why I am immensely tired of being here by myself.  And if I don't have more than seven channels to pick from soon I'm going to have to kill somebody.  Probably me, because I don't know anybody else.  I am so looking forward to hitting the road on Thursday!

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