... my journey from ballerina to triathlete

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Triathlon- 3, Crystal- 0: FLAT TIRE!

As usual, the triathlon has once again reminded me that I know nothing about anything and I am completely at its whim. After walking my bike 2 miles home in the blazing sun, I have to admit again that I am vastly underprepared and completely clueless when it comes to this training. Some days are just not meant to be.

I was scheduled my first 15 mile bike ride day before yesterday and I had actually been looking forward to it for several days. I had my route planned out and I was ready to go! It seems inevitable, however, that as soon as you make plans there is always something waiting in the wings to derail them and thus I was only moderately surprised when my manager called asking if I could work last minute. I said yes and, undeterred, immediately set about flip-flopping my workout days so that I could fit in a 9-mile bike before leaving.

As usual, I rode up the big hill by my house and had just started the glorious coast down the back side of it when I could feel something change. At first I couldn't place what it was -- the bike just felt different somehow. Less responsive, heavier... I couldn't determine what I was feeling. Then I heard a subtle "thwup, thwup, thwup" and got concerned. I pulled over, checked the tires, but didn't see anything so I continued down the hill. (Why, oh why did I continue down the hill???)

As soon as I changed lanes to make a turn, I knew I was screwed. Instead of the smooth sound of the tires on the road that I am accustomed to, I heard a raw metallic scraping.


Sad face :(
I stopped immediately and stood there in shock for about 5 minutes, realizing and re-realizing that yet again I was in over my head. I KNEW that bicyclists carry pumps and extra tubes. I KNEW that I should learn to change a flat on my bike. And, I knew that I had been lazy and stupid and naive and that because of all of that I would be hauling my ass and my disabled bike nearly two miles home in 84 degree weather and midday sun. I went through a process somewhat akin to the 7 stages of grief -- disbelief, bargaining, etc. before finally accepting that there was nothing to do but turn around, lift the front tires off the ground, and start the climb back up the hill and toward home. If only I had stopped at the top of the hill instead of taking that final coast... Ugh.

About three quarters of a mile into my trek home, a wonderfully nice runner (who also happened to be a triathlete!) stopped and showed me how to turn the bike on its back wheel like it was doing a wheelie and walk it that way, taking a significant amount of stress off of my biceps. Just when I thought my arms wouldn't be able to take anymore, a construction worker in his work truck pulled over and tried to help me refill the tire. When that didn't work, he put the bike in the truck bed (a truck pulling a PortaPotty, by the way) and hauled us both the last 8 blocks to the bike shop by my house.

Once my tire was fixed and I was home, my arms were so spent that they trembled uncontrollably if I tried to lift anything, even something so small as an apple or a bar of soap. Two days later, my biceps and triceps are still sore to the touch. Bikes -- even road bikes -- are heavy to carry for 40 minutes.

So, I learned yet another lesson: I really need to learn how to change a bike tire. I looked up a bike clinic and will be taking care of that as soon as possible. Second: always always ALWAYS have a pump and an extra tube, or at very least $2.50 to catch a bus home in case of disaster. I got lucky in that I was only a couple of miles from home. Something tells me that I will not be so lucky again.

1 comment:

  1. Changing your tire is just easy. You just need to have the proper tools and a new tire, except you can’t really bring a spare bike tire now, can you? It’s pretty easy to learn how, though. And unless we can find a way to carry a spare bike tire, we’ll just have to walk all the way.

    Rita @ EvansTire.com