Ok, it wasn’t that bad, but I figured it was an eye-grabbing headline. With 10 weeks to go until Ironman Arizona, we did the second century ride (100 miles) in as many weeks yesterday. It was the Indianhead 100, in southern Maryland. It was going well until, 20 miles in, we were taking this gravel road down to the first rest stop, and I stupidly leaned over while pointing out a pot hole to other riders, lost traction, and went down. Gravel does that. And you know what else it does? It makes nasty road rash. I have some to prove it.
This is the point at which I realized that I hadn’t worn my cycling gloves. And I must have put my hands down while falling, because they got the worst of it. Skin removed. Dirt lodged in every possible crevice. Bloody, oozey, goop, which got on my jersey. And this wasn’t just any jersey. It was the jersey I’m planning to wear at IMAZ. Oh well. I also got beat up on my right forearm and right leg (and possibly a little on my chin. I dunno… It feels weird). But the hands are definitely the worst part. Now, I know what it’s like to ride 80 miles with road rash.
So, the bad luck didn’t stop there. Somewhere around maybe 38 miles in, I got a rear flat. Ok, no biggie. This is actually good. I get the chance to practice changing my own tire. Craig bit his tongue, trying not to help me. I learned some things. Unfortunately, the CO2 cartridge didn’t work right. So, we had to re-do that. But then we got on our way.
Until… About two miles later, another flat. We took the tire and tube off. Rescanned the whole thing. We could see a couple gashes in the tire, but they didn’t seem to go all the way through, and we couldn’t see any debris in there. I tried changing it again by myself, we had more CO2 cartridge issues (I need a different mechanism for the valve), and Craig couldn’t be patient anymore… So, he took over. Only trouble was, we were out of CO2, and we didn’t have a pump. Luckily, another cyclist came by and gave us one of her CO2s.
We got back under way and made it to the 45-mile rest stop. It had a great Potomac River view and good food, etc. But I didn’t want to stick around. I already felt like we had wasted the day, and I knew it was going to just get hotter the longer we were out there. So, we headed out, knowing the most challenging hills of the ride were still to come (they are all in the last 30 miles or so).
So, we had done this ride last year, and I knew it (a) Was nice ride with great support and (b) Had some rough roads. They have very low traffic mostly, but tons of pot holes, typically at the bottoms of the hills, of course. Anyway, back to the story…
At mile 55… Yep, another rear flat. At this point, we know the tire is toast, and we are out of supplies. So, we called the SAG wagon number, thinking we would just throw in the towel. The SAG guy came about half an hour later. He was really nice and very skilled. He searched the tire over and over, and finally pinched out a tiny piece of glass that was lodged deep in one of the gashes. He patched the two spots with duct tape (on the inside of the tire) and got us back on our way.
I was so thrilled that we were going to finish the ride! The final hills were tough, and we ended up on some higher-traffic roads for a bit (with impatient drivers), but it went pretty smoothly from there. I think Craig was a little frustrated by the ride. And I was really glad to get it over with. But I learned a lot, and we finished. And, maybe, just maybe, I used up all my bad luck. So, IMAZ might go smoothly 🙂
Until next time…