THE TRAINING ROUTE
- We met north of Lake Wheeler in subdivision, with very narrow streets, in which a Team Alliance member lives. The ride was advertised as a 25-30 mile ride.
WHAT I LEARNED
- Actually we all learned this: we have too many people to meet in a subdivision with narrow streets. We're doing this route again next weekend, and we're going to meet at Wake Tech instead.
- Lightening can strike twice, sometimes three times! Excuse me while I break into prose:
Turning out of the subdivision onto the first main road of the route, a loud "POW!" took place. My beautiful new back tire tube went instantly flat. GRRRRRRRRRRR! Folks rode by me, saying, "Aww," "Dang," and "What a way to start!" Since I had put my spare tube in on Wednesday after my "pothole flat," and hadn't gotten to REI to replace it, I was without a spare. My fellow rider, and friend, Joe stopped to help me, giving me his spare tube.
We actually changed it pretty fast; it's easier with two folks. Everyone had passed us up though of course, so we got back on, and started to try and at least catch up with the rear of the pack. About a hundred yards up the road, "POW!" The new tire tube blew! "
When I got back on that narrow street where my car was, there were two kids riding their bikes along their road. They were brother and sister, the boy about 7 or 8, and the girl about 11 or 12. She had a helmet on; he didn't. He was on a child's mountain bike.
The conversation between me (M), the boy (B), and the girl (G) went like this:
G: Where'd y'all go riding?
M: Well, they went on a 25-mile loop right around this area.
B: 25 miles?
B: What happened to you?
M: I got two flat tires, one right after the other, and I don't have any more tubes.
B: You can ride my bike. [Sees me looking at his little bike.] It's a mountain bike, in our garage.
M: Oh, that's very nice of you. I appreciate it, but I need to train on my own bike, and I need to go get it fixed for another training ride tomorrow.
B: When will the other riders be back?
M: Probably in about 2 hours.
G: Excuse me, sir, did you say a 25-mile loop, around here?
M: Well, it's not really a loop, I guess, we have a route mapped out around here, down Donnybrook, then Fayetteville Road, then Hilltop Needmore, all around here, ending back here.
B: Wow! We only ride up and down our street here.
M: We're training for a charity ride that we're doing in June. We'll ride 330 miles, from here to Washington, DC.
G: Wow! 330 miles?
M: Yes. And we each have to raise $2500, too.
G: Twenty-five hundred dollars?
B: Has anyone ever died doing that?
M: You mean from a traffic accident, or from a heart-attack, something like that?
B: No, from dehydration.
M: Oh no. It's a very organized ride. During it, they have lots of volunteers all along the way, and you can stop every 15 or 20 miles, and they give you drinks and snacks, like an energy bar.
B: Are you thirsty? Do you need a snack?
M: No, thank you. I have two full water bottles here, and some snacks in my seat pack. You are a very generous boy, though, and I appreciate you.
M: Well, you guys be careful riding along your street here. [To the boy:] And you should wear a helmet whenever you ride.
B: [Gripping his handle bars:] My bike is real sturdy.
M: Yeah, well whenever people do die from biking, it's usually from a head injury. And I want you to stay alive and grow old.
B: [Pouting:] I don't wanna grow old!
On the way home, I stopped by the Farmer's Market and had breakfast. I sat down, ordered two hotcakes with link sausage, some orange juice, and coffee, and went and washed my hands. While waiting for my order to arrive, I captured the above conversation on paper while it was still fresh.
On about the third bite of the delicious pancakes, a huge flash of lightening and a loud crash of thunder made me look out the huge glass windows of the place. The downpour was fierce! I thought of those two kids scrambling up their street, and about my fellow riders, probably about 15 miles out, now, training in the rain.
I got a voice mail message later in the day that said, "John-John. It was probably a sign that you didn't ride today. I am wet in places I didn't even know could get wet."
During the day I started thinking about my flat tires, and how unlikely it was to get two flats that close together. I thought about what had happened on Wednesday banging into the edge of that pothole like I did, and started wondering if perhaps I had damaged the rim of my wheel. I checked it out, and sure enough, there were two spots on the rim, which had been damaged, exposing real sharp "slices" of metal. These are probably what are puncturing the tubes.
I got to REI at about 5 minutes before it closed at 8:00. I was looking for some sandpaper, and perhaps some kind of liquid that might dry hard coating the places after I sanded them. I had no luck, and one of the sales folks suggested I might need a steel file instead of sandpaper. I bought four new tire tubes, and left.
I stopped at Wal-mart on the way home, and bought: a steel file, some sandpaper (because it said it sanded metal on it), some silicone, which could be used for sealing cracks, and some electrical tape.
At home, I removed the damaged tube, and sanded the rim down with the sandpaper. That actually worked quite well, and I didn't need the steel file. I put some silicone goo on it, and let it dry for about a half-hour. Then I put strips of electrical tape over those two spots. I felt carefully, over and over, around the rim for other possible sharp edges. I also felt up inside the tire, all around, to make sure nothing was stuck up in there. I put in one of the new tubes, and pumped it up to 100PSI. Looks good, anyway. My confidence level that the two spots I covered were the only two spots, though, is probably only about 65%.
- No pain. No gain.
HOW I FEEL
- At once: sorry to have missed out on the training in the rain experience, and not.
- Antsy about tomorrow's training, getting a little ways out, and popping another tube because I've missed a spot, or that's not what was causing the blowouts at all.
I decided that I would leave enough time in the morning to ride around the parking lot before the ride to make sure that if it were going to blow again, I wouldn't be several miles out on the route.
I went to Flex, and ran into Ross, and two of his friends, Glen and Mike. We watched some pool, and chatted for a while. Then Glen and Mike left to go over to CCs. After about 15 more minutes, I wanted to go over to CCs to, as I had planned to do that before ever running into him and his friends. He wanted to finish his beer, so I walked over there alone.
Right before I entered the door to CCs, I heard my name called from behind. It was Wes! Hugs all around, and we went in, where we also ran into Joe! Since Joe and Wes hadn't met, that was cool. I have to admit, that while we were all hugging, the thought of SARS crossed my mind.
Shortly after that, Wes walked away and Joe filled me in on the horrible ride in the rain earlier that day. While we were talking a guy standing against the wall started to have a seizure, and fell down to the ground. People nearby caught him before he could hit his head.
After a while, I hooked back up with Glen, Ross, and Mike, and spent the rest of the night pretty much talking with them. Turns out Joe knows Ross from Erie. Eerie!