Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Tale of Two Rides

We've hit a heat wave here the last few days in Iowa. Temps have been in the 70s so it would have been so wasteful to not get out and ride and take advantage of the warm spell. My last outdoor ride had been in sub-40 weather so I was really chomping at the bit to get out there in some nice weather.

The plan yesterday was to ride about 40 miles, head north and hit some of the good hills that, while big by Iowa standards, probably still won't prepare me properly for Alcatraz. On my longer rides I will use a 48 oz bottle that straps into the aerobars for easy access while riding. The bottle is secured with a couple of rubber bands. After a couple of years of use these were looking pretty brittle and worn. I made a mental note to hit up Wally World for some new bands in the near future.

I took off and enjoyed the 25 mph tail wind while I could. Just six miles into the ride I hear a pop. One of the rubber bands has broken. I debate the likelihood of the other one breaking too and, after deciding that the odds are against it, continue along my way. Well, what do you know, 6 miles later: POP! The other band breaks! You have got to be freaking kidding me!

I pull over and try to MacGyver something to hold the bottle in place, but apparently I'm no Richard Dean Anderson. If only I kept a roll of duct tape, paper clips and some chewing gum in my saddle bag. Resisting the urge to chuck the thing as far as I could into a field, I instead decide to gently toss the bottle into the ditch so I could come back for it later.

At that point, with the fuel supply waning and the prospect of dealing with those ridiculous crosswinds, I decide it's best to just head home. 3 miles later, as if things can't get any worse, my front tire goes flat! Thankfully, I've changed a tire or two so get a new tube and the tire back on pretty quick. Time to test out my new hand/CO2 hybrid pump. What a POS! The hand pump did nothing. I hit it with CO2 and it inflated, but just enough to ride on. I debated using another cartridge, but decided to ride for awhile and stop to hit it with some more CO2 if necessary.

So off into horrendous headwind I go, taking those last nine miles on an underinflated tire slow as snot. I've never been so relieved just to get home!

Fast forward to today. Another beautiful day, but minus the crazy wind from yesterday. I'm armed with rubber bands and a shoelace (to tie the dang bottle to the aerobars if I have to) and ready to go on the rescue mission.

The first twelve miles passed quickly and uneventfully and soon enough I spot the bottle down in the ditch. I grab it and secure it to the aerobars. The rubber bands were a bit short so I ended up having to use the shoelace. Richard would be proud.

With the mission accomplished I start to head back. Twelve more uneventful miles and I'm pulling back in to home, not feeling relief like yesterday, but rather yearning to continue riding on such a perfect day.

The stat's tell the story as well:

Tuesday: 24.20 miles - 1:23:32 - 17.38 mph

Today: 24.22 miles - 1:11:12 - 20.41 mph

What a difference a day makes!

1 comment:

  1. Great job Neal - I was hoping it was still there :)

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