Good news! This post has nothing to do with horror movies! Bad news — it’s about biking, which might be even more boring to most.
It’s that time of year again in Colorado. That time when we’re teased with spectacularly sunny (yet still chilly) days, followed by maybe one day where it’s above 65 degrees (for about 30 minutes), followed by still more snow, followed by brisk blustery gray days, followed by…you get the idea.
I’ve been making do with my stationary bike as best I can, but dammit, mama’s ready to fly again.
Yesterday it got up to 72 (69 by the time I finished work) and I was raring to go. I forgot my gloves, and I was trying new shoes that I hated almost instantly (but not instantly enough to have time to change), and I started later than I hoped and was racing the sunset, but I was happy with what little I could get.
Today, it got up to 77 (72 by the time I finished work), and I was REALLY excited. I had my gloves and my trusty old shoes, the sun was blazing (bright, not sweltering), the wind wasn’t too “fuck you” (excuse my French; my term for 30 mph wind that really, really sucks to bike against), and I was going to have time for a proper ride. Nothing was going to stop me!! (Note: Massive foreshadowing, obvs)
The first three-quarters of my ride were GLORIOUS. There were tons of cyclists out (Wednesday is time trials day, if you’re into such a thing), which I don’t mind because it means the cars have to be careful of US for a change. I had my tunes, my lungs weren’t in too terrible shape thanks to my winter work, and I was loving life.
I was ascending the last big hill before leaving the park, which I normally turn around at the top of and retrace the loop, if I have time. I lifted my sunglasses for a quick sun check — yes! Plenty of time for a second lap. Thank you, Goddess of Spring.
Then, I felt it. Something not right with my rear tire.
I dismounted and poked at it. Definitely mushy. Didn’t take long to figure out why — there was a HUGE goat head protruding from it (goat head: a term I never heard before moving to Colorado. Massive thorns shaped like…guess…that might as well be nails if you pick one up in your tire). Screw you, Goddess of Spring.
I was about three miles from home. At first I thought I could give it some more air and limp home, stopping to reinflate occasionally. That idea died when, after about ten feet, the tire was flat down to the rim again. Which left me the equally unpalatable choices of walking home or changing the tire. I’ve walked nearly that distance before, and it was the angriest longest walk of my life, while pushing a lame Pegasus. So tire change it was.
I kept my headphones playing, and there’s nothing like changing a tire, the slowest, most tedious part of owning a bike, to the pulse-pounding, driving beat of “Detroit Rock City” by Kiss (“get up, everybody’s gonna move their feet” *carefully lining the bead up with the rim* “get down, everybody’s gonna leave their seat” *slowly inflating the tube to avoid a pinch flat*).
With so many cyclists out and about, at least ten people slowed to offer help. I have a friend who interprets such offers as skepticism of her capability as a woman, but not me; with every offer, my heart grows two sizes at proof that people are still willing to help strangers. And there are some people (*cough*Gerry*cough*) who don’t even carry tools, a hubris that either comes from unhealthy levels of testosterone or amateur ignorance of how many things can go wrong. So in those cases, “Are you good?” is a fair question.
I got the tire changed, even with some sunlight left, but I don’t trust new tubes until I can get them to the proper PSI (impossible to achieve with a hand pump). It’s like driving your car on a donut, nervous at every pothole. It broke my heart to leave the park with so much day left, but I had no choice.
And now this weekend it’s back to the low 60s. Screw you, Goddess of Spring. Someday soon, by Odin’s beard, I WILL have a proper ride!