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Hiss and Pop

I should start off explaining that the flat tire is my worst nightmare. I’ve changed out tubes in the past and each time, it’s either taken me hours to get the beads of the tire over the edge of the wheel or I brought it to work or a friend’s house to have them do it. Yeah, it’s that bad. So much so, that I constantly live in fear of getting a flat on the road because I’d be faced with the decision of walking my bike home (flat tire, road shoes with cleats; not a pretty picture), spend two hours fixing the flat, or calling someone.

We canceled last Thursday’s ride because Josh had a garage flat and, of course, we couldn’t get the tire back on. So he said he’d take it to the LBS to get it fixed. Last night he returns my call and suggests we ride today at 8AM. On a Sunday. What the? I hesitated and he made it 9. The ride was great. Our second best time! Afterward, we went to get lunch with Jamie at Cody’s.

After the meal, I went to work to review a document and while I was there, Liz calls. She wants to go on a bike ride. Wowsers. Can’t pass that up. So she rides her bike over at 3:30. I am psyched to go riding again. I even put on my new jersey and a fresh pair of MTB shorts since the stuff from the first ride was in the hamper. We take a route I’ve never gone before – Los Carneros, past Turnpike and San Marcos. Did you know are were hills there? They are sick. After we went over the first one, we go to the bottom, turned around, and went up the hill again. Like masochists. It was smooth sailing from there.

Then it happened. A quarter block from the Los Carneros turnoff, I hear a loud pop! I look down and noticed I ran over some debris. No big deal, I’ve never had a flat on the road. “It’s your rear tire,” said Liz. Damn. I immediately apologize, telling her about how terrible I am at this. She confesses she has the same cycling fear I do! We sat down on the side of the road, in the grass, and got to work. I got the new tube in and tire back on in two minutes. Woohoo! Then I noticed something terrible. The reason my tube exploded is whatever I ran over slashed through my tire and tube. A pretty big chunk too.

As I am using my co2 inflater, I can see the black rubber tube pushing itself through the cut in the wheel. I let some pressure out so it would not be under so much stress. We went on our way and a few yards later, I realized I simply cannot ride with that little air. My back end was really wobbly so I stopped and pumped more air in and then my second tube exploded too! Liz volunteered to drive home (remember, she biked over). I told her to ride as fast as she could. I just sat on the side of the road. Soon after, I realized I was just a ninety-degree turn and an overpass from home. I didn’t want to start walking and have her return and not find me.

So, I stayed. Many motorists passed and a few bikers. All except one ignored me. The one that did say something was busy listening to his friend (who didn’t even notice me) tell a story. When they were pass me he asked if i have everything I need. I started explaining about my slashed tire and he looked forward again and kept riding. Liz came and I had my rear wheel off because I had decided to spend my time practicing using a patch kit (that was a disaster too). So rather than put the rear wheel back on, and taking the front off, we decided to load it into her car as is. We learned that was a big mistake twice. First when we ripped a hole in her car and again when it took us forever to unload the bike.

So now I have to go get an non-matching tire for my rear wheel. I thought I saved my previous wheels but I can’t find them. I also have grease all over my new red jersey, new gloves, and Brooks saddle. But at least I can change a flat now, huh?

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