Sunday, February 15, 2009

It Was a One Man Shootout, and I Lost.

Erik and I show up early for the Shootout so that I could join the 'Old Man Shootout' which leaves 15 minutes earlier than the official Shootout. There are a few dozen riders in the group, which is a few dozen more than I am accustomed to riding with, but a 'poor turnout' by Tucson standards. It's a bit chilly for shorts at 7:15am and, at some point, I overhear someone saying it is 33F. But, the feel of the real air against my skin is amazing, even if it is cold.

I take my place in the two-abreast chain of riders and the dude next to me says 'deadgoat...hmmm...Tori?'. I'm confused at first, thinking that he must know Erik and he's just playing with me. But, it turns out to be Marty Halpren from Winnipeg. I met this guy at La Ruta in 2007 and he gave me his bus ticket back to San Jose when I was faced with the possibility of being stuck by myself in the rain in Limon after the race. Small world.
We are about 30 minutes into the ride and it feels as though we are finally about to get out of the city and I'm even thinkin 'hey, I hope they dial it up a bit soon'. And then HISSSSSSS GUDUDUDUDU. I've got a flat.

I pull out of the group and take my wheel off. I usually don't get flats - heck, I rode the freakin dempster highway with panniers and skinny tires and didn't get any flats. I pull out the tube, which may be original tube on this wheel, because that's how seldom I get flats. I find the pinch flat and I'm thinkin about how I'm gonna get to use my brand spankin new patch kit. It's got two tubes of vulanizer! You never know when one might spontaneously dry up. I pull out the first tube. Its suspiciously light. I pop the opening and find it is full of nothing. Good news, I've got a second tube! Bad news, its dry too. But wait! I remember that I tucked my 'old' tube of vulcanizer in the side of my pouch. Fortunately, its not dry.

I score, glue and patch, reset the tube and tire, and then I begin furiously pumping.


Unscrew the valve, unset the tire, pull the tube out. The patch I'd put on didn't adequately cover both holes. If they made bike tube patches just 10% bigger, this would never happen.

Take two. Rescore, reglue, repatch, reset, repump.


Unscrew, unset, pull out. Looks like there is a second, microscopic pinch flat a few inches down from the first.

Take three. Score, glue, patch, reset, rescrew, and pump.

Pump and pump and pump. This time the air seems to be staying in the tire. I pump and pump some more. Feels about as good as its going to get and I take the pump off. Instantaneously, the valve shoots off and the rim sinks to the ground. This is not the shootout that I had envisioned.

I walk back to a gas station, call six different cab companies, then wait 30 mins for one to show up and take me back to the hotel.

When Erik gets back, he takes me to the bike shop for a new tube and drives me out to the spot where I had been forced to pack it in. I start again, this time on a one man Shootout. At least now its warm out.

I make it to the top of the ascent on this lonely desert road, where Erik has parked to say hi. On my way to see him, I discover the only patch of gravel on the highway. I break my fall with my funny bone and hip. Only surface damage, really, but enough to call it quits for the day.

It was a one man shootout, and I lost.


Blogger Dallas said...

now there's something I'm gonna have to submit to Websters.

next to 'Giverator' :)

February 16, 2009 at 5:53:00 PM MST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A flat, spare issues, patch issues and a fall? Nice to hear that you got all your bike-bad-luck out of way early in the season this year. After that trainwreck of a ride (almost as good as my first ride 3 years ago - I think you remember that one) I forsee smooth sailing for the rest of the season!

February 17, 2009 at 11:15:00 AM MST  
Blogger BikingBakke said...

Tori you live by example: If at first you don't succeed, try try again.

I almost thought you wouldn't get back on after the gravel incident. Getting back in the saddle again was more figuratively important than those last couple k's. Good job.

February 17, 2009 at 7:07:00 PM MST  
Blogger tori said...

I think that Websters should have a special 'cycling section'; there are definitely some notable gaps in the cycling lingo.

I'm certainly hoping that's it for bad luck for the season. It could have been worse - it was my pride that took the biggest hit. And I had no choice but to get back on - I was so bitter to be packing it in so soon!

February 18, 2009 at 8:08:00 AM MST  

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