This week was all about riding in Arizona and seeing friends along the way.
First major ride was Sunday and it was tough. On a scale of 1-10 where 10 would be the Triple Bypass day 2, this was a 7. The wind was forecast to be 20-25 mph mostly right in our faces. It took me over 7 hours to go 80 miles.
I told myself two things--really I did--when I was climbing into that wind. First, "I am training for an Ironman so what is a little wind." Second, I chanted, "Just keep swimming."
Who knew watching movies with grandchildren would help my cycling.
After the first two hard days I have taken three easier days. Each day I rode about 30 miles and was on the bike about 2:30 hours. It is important that I get enough rest and not get hurt. On the 6th my legs were in bad shape. The 7th was an improvement and on the 8th they felt good.
Flat tires are a common problem with cycling so you prepare for them. You have to prepare extra well when you are cycling through open country by yourself as I was today. I am riding Gatorskin tires and carry two spare tubes, three CO2 cartridges, and a patch kit.
Just as I was leaving Huachuca City I got a flat on my back tire. I was next to what was once a gas station and across the road from a Circle K. I pull the tire off, checked for something in tire (nothing), put in a new tube, put the tire back on and then things went very wrong. I am riding a deep wheel which needs a tube with an extra long value stem. The tube I just put in has a short stem and is too short to be inflated. I check the second spare tube--it is short too.
I partially inflate the flatted tube looking for the hole. It is hot and dry and I can't find it. I put the flatted tube on and inflate it. It is leaking. Before it goes flat again I bike across the street to the Circle K. I am going to have to patch the tube and I need a way to find the leak.
I take off the tire and pull the tube. I partially inflate it and go into the store planning on using the bathroom sink but the sink won't hold water. I use the water in toilet (thank goodness it was clean) and find the hole.
My roadside patches are notorious for not holding so I use extra care patching the tube, put the tube and tire on the wheel, and inflate. Off I go.
Half a mile later the tire is flat. I am 9 miles from the nearest bicycle shop in open country. I decide to save my last CO2 cartridge and patch and instead see if I can catch a ride into town. Ten minutes later a retired Air Force sergeant stops in his pickup and takes me to the bike shop.
It was a great day for cycling and trusting to the kindness of strangers.