The weather Saturday and Sunday was a little craptastic to say the least. Normally it doesn’t put me off too much and I was really itching to ride Sunday, but the wind and the rain followed by ice pellets, followed by snow just was a little more than my initiative could handle. In lieu of riding I focused on getting stuff done to free up Monday as much as possible. I was up at my normal early time to take care of business around the house and even though the rain was gone the wind was still pummeling the house. The outlook for 9am was Sunny and 38° with 15mph winds and 25mph gusts. Not quite as nice as I was hoping for but I really wanted to get out and give the revised loop another shot. You never know how good of a day you can have if you spend it sitting on the couch…
Not long after 10 I had my chores done and was ready to go. It felt really nice prepping out on the driveway with the sun shining on me while shielded from the winds by the house — hard to believe there was ice laying on my deck not 14 hours earlier. The first 2 miles were south with a tailwind, but then I finally got a taste of the headwind that was to be my constant companion for the next 20 miles. Truth be known the first 4 – 6 weren’t that bad. I spent most of it up and down hills either shielded from the wind or tucking into it. The gravel on Bottom and Laurel Brook was saturated from the heavy rains which made me glad I didn’t try to take the rando. Once I crossed 152 and headed north, my cover was blown and I really started having to work for my progress.
I have a little meter in my brain. On one side it points to carefree exploration and on the opposite side the needle points to survival at any cost. By the time I got to the top of the loop and had spent close to 2 hours pushing into the wind, my gauge was squarely on survival and I was disinterested in pushing any further north for that bonus 6 miles. Rocks’ll still be there next time I have a free Monday. Stopped on the side of the road to take a pic and have my snack.
Miles 22 – 30 were not as bad. The headwinds were replaced by crosswinds. They were strong enough to force me to concentrate on my line constantly. I was all over the place and so were everyone’s recycling bins, which I stopped in a few places to push back off the street. Once I turned on to Fallston Rd. I was really looking forward to riding south-east with a huge tailwind. Not half a mile into the good part I heard the back tire start to hiss and I flatted out not 100 yards later. Sitting off on the side of the road I was trying to find the leak to patch, but it was impossible with all the wind noise. A flag was blowing across the street and it was as stiff as a board. 5 minutes of that and I said ‘screw-it’ and reached for my spare tube. 5 minutes and 300 strokes from the Lezyne Pressure Drive and I was on the road again. Side note: I got a Relevate Designs Viscacha bag this year for Christmas. It’s a little huge for what I’ve been using it for but it was great to be able to just shove everything back in there and get on the road without thinking about it.
My first inclination was to go back to the route like nothing ever happened. The back tire’s pressure was a little low but I really wanted to finish strong. I turned right on Hess, left on Park, left on Moore, and left on Greene headed towards Fallston for my first back-roads diversion on the loop’s south side. By the time I intersected with 152 again my spare tube was flat. I pulled off to the side of the road and pumped it up again. “Well there goes the rest of the day” I thought. 300 strokes buys me 20 minutes so I just stuck to Fallston on the way back. I don’t remember if I stopped 2 or 3 times, but it’s sort of immaterial. Every time I could feel myself getting a decent bit of a workout or enjoying the view the back of my bike started to bob up and down and I was off to the side of the road 2 minutes later pumping. I limped home, tossed my bike in the corner, stretched and ate a late lunch. Later on I went to repair my repair and realized that not only was my spare tube an old patched one which had a second leak but I’m glad that I didn’t spend forever trying to locate the leak in my first tube because I had about 10 patches in my kit but no glue. I did have a few of those emergency sticker patches, but they SUUUUCK. Guess I’ve not been the boy scout I thought I was…
Distance: 44.2mi | moving time: 3:18:46 | avg: 9.8 | mv avg: 12.1 | elev: 5108′
(not sure of the elevation, the unit has consistently put numbers over 5k for this, but RideWithGPS is in the 4k and change ballpark)
Looking forward to my next free day so I can redeem this one. Still glad I gave it a shot.
Last minute addendum: As a final ‘eff-u’ for the day, while sitting here writing this at 10pm I hear what sounded like a gun shot from the garage as my repair-repair blew off the rim. I’d noticed a bit of an odd seat for the tire bead with the rim strip peeking through this afternoon fixing it in the garage and I tried to tweak-fix it by deflating the tire and pushing the rim strip back under. Guess I didn’t do a decent enough job. Oh well. Something to work on tomorrow I guess. !@$#