Sunday, October 20, 2013

Revolution of a cyclist: At what time should I just say "Uncle?"

Seriously folks. It's like I'm a magnet for mechanical failures and assorted mishaps. The Black Hole of Bicycling. I should have t-shirts made. Someone should have a telethon to keep me in spare tubes and pumps.

If you've been following along then you know that I've had more than my fair share of flat tires this year. I haven't even told you about all of them. At last count we believe there were ten. Several happened right in the living room. Weird but true. All my flats while riding have happened while riding slowly, thank goodness. What if they had happened as I was throwing myself down a mountain? No, let's not even go there.

You can just about imagine the expression on Leif's face yesterday when he heard that little "POP" sound and looked back at me to confirm that it was just a rock, and I couldn't confirm that at all. A back and forth conversation of "Really?" "Really." "Really?" ensued. With just a little more practice I think we could have a great little comedy sketch there.

I was ready to carry the damn thing home and worry about it another maybe sometime next year, but Leif seemed to view this particular flat as a challenge. One I should strive to overcome. Since he was the one actually changing the tire I couldn't argue much. So he carefully changed the tire and we continued our ride that had started a mere hundred meters earlier. Soooo wish I was kidding about that.

Other than the now constant worry that every weird noise is another tire preparing to blow (accompanied by the vivid picture in my mind of both tires blowing at the same time, propelling me into the air and landing on my back in the middle of the lane of oncoming traffic, only to be run over by an elderly Fiat 500 driven by a significantly more elderly driver who can't see over the steering wheel) or just as bad, riding on a flat tire till it peels off in long rubber ribbons (and I lose control, hurtling over the steep embankment and into the mighty Arno River) and ruin my almost new I said, other than that, everything went well.

We made it to I did that while holding my breath waiting for disaster to strike I'll never know, but I did. On the way home we (as always) passed an older rider who viewed my passing him as some kind of challenge to his male-ness and did his damnedest to pass me. This time all he could do was benefit from drafting off me and making his ride 10-15% more efficient. I hear that phrase a lot. As in, "You know Michele, if you'd get closer to his wheel you'd be 10-15% more efficient. It would be easier." Obviously this guy decided if he couldn't actually pass me he would benefit from following me.

So...high fives all around when we made it home without another flat. I hate to celebrate too much though. I picture the assembled gods and goddesses of cycling mayhem looking at each other and wondering what to plague me with next. I'm still a little rebellious in their minds.

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