The day was uneventful, work-wise, with only the usual e-mails from Jim E. that sometime make me feel like he sends just to make sure I'm there.
I quit at 3:15, and loaded my bike. I rode out to Litchford rode, to Ken's apartment complex, and checked in with Robert on the way to share that card with him. It's nice to have someone to share with.
THE TRAINING ROUTE
- As there were no organized rides this past weekend, and I didn't take the initiative to go out on my own, I wanted to take a mid-week ride. I worked from home today, so I could start at 6:30AM and end at 3:00PM to get a ride in before dark.
- I decided to ride the same route as on March 23rd, the "Falls of Neuse" ride. It's a 25-mile ride, and for the most part, a low-traffic route -- though it does have its moments.
- I started off a little confused about which way to turn on Falls of Neuse and Durant. After turning around once, I got on the right path. I got down Durant, then onto Raven Ridge, then Hardee, and then Possum Track.
- At the intersection of Possum Track and Chatsworth, I thought the house on the corner was Chris and John's house, and I turned down Chatsworth to ride by the house. Once past it, I turned around and before I could react I there was a huge pothole in front of me. I couldn't stop, so just went into/over it. My back tire bounced on the front edge of the pothole and it immediately pinched two holes in my tube.
- A flat tire. I've been training for this! I thought, "Thank goodness I have a spare tube in my seat pack." Fortunately I thought this through before removing the back wheel, and the tube from tire.
WHAT I LEARNED
- Those two little holes on either side of a tire tube that happen when your tire gets slammed against the rim as your back wheel pounds into the edge of a huge pothole, really do look like "snake bites."
- Owning a bicycle pump is a good thing. It still being in the Wal-Mart bag at home on your couch — when you get your flat tire — is not.
- To hail a ride, cell phones work better than thumbs.
- People are nice. While waiting for Mike, a lady, whose dog was walking her, came by, and said, "You're not waiting for a bus out here are you?" I told her my plight, and she said, "I think we have a pump somewhere in our garage. Though I'm not sure it would even work."
- It pays to have supporters who live in the vicinity of your demise. (Thanks, Mike, for rescuing me in your pickup truck, and recommending that I defuse my stress with a Caramel Mocha Frappacino at Starbucks. God, was that good! All that, and a $100 donation! Thank you for all your support!)
- Experiencing the changing of a back tire myself. I was glad I'd been to the flat tire clinic. I was glad to be doing it in my living room and not on the side of the road in 90-degree heat. It was fairly painless — I got to try my new floor pump, I installed the portable pump holder on my bike frame, and I actually placed the portable pump into the holder for future mishaps. Bring on the anacondas!
- I wasn't on the bike long enough for anything to hurt. I'd only gotten about 6.5 miles out when I was derailed.
HOW I FEEL
- Thankful for another lesson while training instead of in the actual ride. More confident.
- Today, before I left for my ride, I received the most incredible card in the U.S. mail, which so overwhelmed me that it moved me to tears. It was from a couple whom I’ve never met. It said: [Note: Nibby is my uncle, who is married to my father’s sister.]
First let me introduce myself. I’m Mr. & Mrs. X. I am the older brother of [a person I've solicited for support]. I read the wonderful letter you wrote to him and your aunt and we were very impressed with your concern and dedication to this wonderful cause, “Tour de Friends.” We can relate to your anguish, because our youngest son has been afflicted with this dreadful disease for the last 8 ½ years. So maybe this small contribution will help in finding a cure for this dreadful disease.
May God bless you and reward you for your wonderful effort.
Mr. & Mrs. X
Enclosed was a check for $75.00.]
- Angst. I decided to take advantage of ending my ride early, in time to get to the clinic for my once-every-six-months-whether-I-need-it-o
Other thoughts about today's ride:
Fortunately, I had my cell phone with me, and Mike W. lives less than a mile from where I was. I called him, got his mom, who said he'd be back shortly, and he returned my call in about 5 minutes. In the meantime a lady, whose dog was walking her, came by, and said, "You're not waiting for a bus out here are you?" I told her my plight, and she said, "I think we have a pump somewhere in our garage. Though I'm not sure it would even work." I thanked her and told her that a friend I'd left a message for was going to be returning my call shortly, and he would be able to help me.
Mike called very shortly after that, and came to my rescue in his new little red pickup truck. A pickup, and delivery, indeed. I thanked him profusely for being, now, both a monetary supporter, and a bicycle maintenance support person. I really like him.
He dropped my off at my car, I loaded my bike, and then rewarded myself (for what I'm not sure) with a Carmel Mocha Frappacino at Starbucks. Actually, Mike recommended it. He said Norma gets those things, and loves them. I love carmel and mocha, so how could it be bad. It wasn't! :-)
Since it was just before 5:00, and I was on that side of town, I decided to take advantage of getting my HIV test over off New Bern Ave. There were two hot boys (I'm sure they were family) in the waiting room with me. It took a long time in there even though there weren't very many people waiting. One of the boys, a real young kid, was sitting in front of a rack of children's books there in the waiting room. This cutest little black girl walked up to the rack, and he had to sort of lean away from it so she could pick out a book. When she was done she brought it back over to him as if he were the librarian, and then she'd pick out another book. So cute! I couldn't notice how cute the boy was, too. Nice hair on his arms.
I got the nicest nurse, Kim. While we were waiting for the other nurse to finish up (with the cute young kid, actually), I asked her about getting "false positives" on these tests, wondering if when you came for your results and they told you you were positive, is it standard practice to ask for a retest? She said, "No. If the results are positive, they've checked the blood at least three times before they give you the results. They take you right to "Clinic A," and get you started down the treatment path. Scary.
I got home and changed my flat tire before getting a shower to go to Flex. I felt most excellent about having removed that back tire, removed the defective tube, found the hole (of which there were two -- the classic "snake bite"), and replaced the tube. The holes were quite large, which doesn't surprise me by how hard I hit that pothole with all my weight. I got the tire back on, and pumped up with little problem, learning lots along the way. I'm totally prepared to change a flat on the ride now. Yippee!
There were supposed to be a couple of guys, Bob and Andy, at Flex at 8:00 for "private lessons." Andy arrived at about 10 or quarter after. He had told me that he was coming, and Bob had told Carl, who also made it a point to get there at 8 to teach him. He ended up not getting there until well after nine. Not very nice.
I taught Andy two dances, Boot Scootin' Boogie, and Peace Train. He caught on quickly, and then did them later with us during the night. Cool.
The night was a blast, and Van and Ross started an e-mail sign-up sheet for the "regular dancers," so we can be in touch whenever a decision is made about where we'll be dancing on Saturday nights. I hope they settle it soon.
Robert arrived between 10 and 10:30, and we had a few dances together. I love waltzing with him. He spent the night, and the boys next door were quiet. Life is good.