Sunday, August 17, 2008

Solo Riding!

Due to a number of time constraints and poor planning on my part, virtually all my rides this week were solo. I have to say, I DO look forward to my rides because it's usually time well spent singing songs, telling lies and being with friends. Not so this week...Ryan has been way to busy at work for even an hour and a half. So on Tuesday nite, I took off for my weekly recovery ride (read, go whatever speed just fast enough not to fall down) where I look at the countryside, talk to the animals and make an attempt at hill climbing.

Since I don't even leave the house until 6:30, I'm armed with all my lighting gear, front and rear. I head out to a 23 mile loop from the house...I'm also thinking that I can catch the slow guys on the local club ride. I'm just rolling along on a beautiful nite when I see him in the distance - the last guy from the club ride. First of all, who fit his bike and second, high cadence is one thing but this was ridiculous. He looked like an orange on a toothpick! So, I say a few words to him and continue on. As I'm negotiating a blind left turn, I'm looking into the turn and not at the ground in front of me, I hear metal flying and something slam into the fence nearby. Yep, you guessed it, big fat flat rear tire. OK, I'm OK, I can handle this. See the thing is, I have never handled it all by myself - in real conditions, not practicing in front of the tv with a real pump. I've always had help or even had some nice guy come by and just do it for me. The poor 'last guy' looks at me like, it's getting dark and I can't really afford to stop BUT - do you need any help? No, I'm good - he didn't flinch and rolled on. So, I call home to tell Ryan of my situation and where I am. I unload all my crap from my bag and start changing the tube. Hell yeah, I got this thing on..with air, bonus! At which point, some nice stranger, some guy visiting from Athens Georgia wants to help me. I'm just thinking really, leave, I was having some nice alone time, just me, my favorite bike (my road bike) and some tire changing tools. I'm feeling like I've conquered the world. Then I realize, this guy is lost and doesn't know how to get back and is wanting someone to ride with. Fine, fine, of course, I was congenial to a stranger but just wanted him to bug off. Get on my bike, I think I need a little more air, add some air, get back on my bike, POW, yep, another flat. I KNOW, I KNOW, ALWAYS CHECK THE TIRE THOROUGHLY BEFORE PUTTING A NEW TUBE IN. I really thought I checked it...there was a one inch split in the side from whatever piece of metal I sent flying. At this point, I told the nice stranger to leave and sent him with a map and called home. I just didn't want to change another freakin tube. I already conquered the world, I didn't need to do it again!

Not totally solo but a time trial style ride so you're just trying to go as fast as you can and catch the next guy. Improved this week over last but since I'm the slowest, I go first, no body to chase...but there is something to be said for being chased and not wanting to get caught. You do look over your shoulder.

Saturday - Long Ride
Everyone had a different plan and a different kind of ride in mind, so I figured that I should do what I need to do. A friend assembled a nice, rolling 65 mile route that I can hook onto from my front door. He had me going places I had never been and roads I had never seen in places that could be scary (that were scary all alone). Now, my directional sense is poor at best but I was armed with a map and turn by turn directions. I studied the map before riding for at least an hour so I had some kind of sense...until you travel Tennessee Country Roads....roads change names for no apparent reasons, there are no street signs or they've been stolen - seriously, who really needs a sign in there house that says Swamp Rd.? Then you have roads that seem to intersect themselves...they have the same damn name. Bunker Hill Rd intersects Bunker Hill Rd, are you kidding me? Well, another proud moment in my solo riding history, nary a wrong turn, even with no freakin road signs half the time. You DO need to keep track of where the hell you've been and what roads you've crossed to keep track of where you think you are. It was a good lesson in navigation, albeit a little creepy at times. I didn't hear banjos but seriously thought I could 'disappear' out here.

One heal biting POS dog, no flat tires, a gas station that doesn't sell Gatorade and a fat guy who wanted to tell me he wanted to get back into shape after his long BMX career and that he road for Cumberland Transit back in the day. And he kept grabbing his gut and squeezing it as if to say - see this, this is what I'm talking about, I need to lose this fat. Dude, no need to squeeze, I can set it plenty well through your Dale Earnhardt t-shirt or whatever the hell you had on. I just wish I had a picture to share of 'us', my new friend.


Lana said...

Ugh - I feel your pain with the flat tires! I've had one the last 3 times I've been out. Yeah, I finally decided to take the hint and check my tire! ha...but I do think I can change a flat now!

JP said...

Riding solo does suck.But riding with hammerheads, when you just need "seat time" is worse.

IronMissy - it's official!

IronMissy - it's official!
A vision in green!