It was super dark at departure, 6am. My plan was to take the rail trail to 12 mile, then cut across. It's more hilly on 12 mile, but I would have less traffic. Almost to 12 mile I spotted the glowing eyes of what I thought was a nice fluffy cat. Once I can make out its shape and color, I say to myself "oh great, a nice fluffy BLACK cat crossing my path, today ought to be a good day." Once I got up on it to buzz by to scare it, I see it's actually a skunk with it's tail raised and ready for spraying. OH SHIT, I swerve last minute to the other side of the trail in case I need to squeeze past its stink stream. I don't know if it ever sprayed, I was safe, that was all that mattered. Close call.
The ride was going good, I was good up till about the half way mark where we took a rather long break. From that point forward, I was always at the back of the pack, struggling to keep up. After another 20 or so miles, I wasn't having such a fun time any more. I was being dropped like no body's business and I was "that guy" they were waiting for at each stop sign. I hadn't gotten hardly any miles in August...two 25 milers on the flat rail trail and a 30 mile mountain bike ride. That was about it. So I was lacking some muscle mass and fitness.
Bill snapped a rear derailleur cable at one point before our long half-way point break. Once we stopped I jumped right in getting all dirty in order to try and fix the situation. We managed to get just enough cable back to the bolt so he could at least have a few gears to select from. I love being "that guy" who can work on a bike roadside and send someone merrily on their way.
Within 10 or so miles from our original starting point, I had been dropped by probably a half mile (it seemed anyways) so I was riding completely alone, I turned right and felt the back tire get a little loose. It seemed that I had a low tire. So I stopped to throw some air in it to see what it would do. It seemed better for about 3 minutes, then was going soft again. Slow leaker. I limp up to where I see the rest of the group and tell them to go ahead and move on. I planned on taking a short-cut home rather than ride back with all of them anyways.
Luckily I always carry a spare on long rides and plenty of tools. So I took my time replacing my tube in order to rest, put the bike back together, take a gel and headed out. On my way was a local bike shop (Speed Merchants) and I planned on getting a refill on water and some more air in the rear tire because it still seemed kinda soft. I figured since I need to buy some nutrition stuff anyways, they'd allow me in their shop with my Fuji bike (they are a Trek/Scott dealer) for those few free items.
I topped off my tire to 100 lbs and I was out. (I only managed 70lbs with my short-throw hand pump according to the gauge on the floor pump. My arms were burning with anger so that's all I could muster.)
I got home, very exhausted. I relaxed my burning lower back by laying flat on the floor, hands over my eyes putting pressure on them as a nice dehyration-headache was setting in. Apparently I fell asleep for 15 minutes and was snoring. I woke up completely rejuvinated. Weird.
Glad I got some miles on. Gotta keep it up now. Iceman countdown....2 months. Time to get back in it.
Roadside Maintenance Tip #38:
When racking your bike upside down, remember to close or remove your water bottles,
or else they will leak and lose their holding capacity due to the extreme natural powers of
mother earth, also known as "gravity". After flipping the bike back over, and getting
leaked on, I was like...DOH! Sun uva...