Saturday, September 8, 2012

Can't Control the Outcome

Today didn't go as planned.

That's okay.

A friend of mine has started riding a road bike and has asked to join me on some rides.


Misery loves company!

Today I had planned on my favorite middle-distance route.  It's fifty miles, but a lot of climbing. I think it has three categorized climbs, plus a lot of steep, but short, hills.  Anyhow, it's scenic, hitting all of the great segments in the area.  In the shot to the left, which I stole, you can see the road below.  Fast and fun one way, grinding and painful the other!

The morning was beautiful, even a touch of fog.  So, of course, it was humid.  I rode from my house to a local gas station, met up with my buddy and we headed out.  On the climbs I noticed that my derailleur was rubbing my spokes when in the top gear.  Ugh.  I had to stop several times to adjust it.  I finally got it adjusted, but at the expense of the chain being a little noisy in that gear.

Then, at about mile twelve, my friend's chain started to fall over the top of his tallest gear, almost causing him to crash.  I was able to adjust the stop screw, mess with the adjustment barrel and get his bike operating correctly.  During this time I noticed his front tire was a little low.

I had just one tube, he had none.  He didn't have any air, I thought I had just enough to fill up one tire and then perhaps top off another.  We were a good 7 hilly miles from cellphone signal.  I took a chance and inflated his tire.

Of course, his tire had a more significant leak than expected and we ended up swapping the tube anyway.  I was worried that the remaining air canister I had would be insufficient, but we were able to get him back on the road again.

The work we had done was at a boat launch at Pena Blanca Lake.  There are "facilities" there, namely, an outhouse.  I went in to get some toilet paper, to wipe the grease from my hands.  The world's largest wolf spider jumped out of the toilet paper roll, positioning himself beneath my hand as if to guard his kingdom.  His legs nearly spanned the entire roll of paper!  I'm not afraid of spiders, but holy crap!

We climbed back out of the lake-area, and hit some rolling hills ... they're really not rolling, more like straight up and straight down, about 100 yards each, five total hills.  They're fun if you're fresh, but rough on the body if you're tired.

They got him.

We decided to pull off at a gas station before the tough part of the ride and he was toast.  He almost crashed on his bike.  I ran in to get some food and water, and when I returned he was pale, slumped over and in obvious misery.  We agreed to take an easy route back and cut the ride short. 

Anybody that's ridden has bonked.  It sucks.  I've been there too many times.

It's really my fault.  I should've selected an easier route for the first try at this distance.  But, we rode a difficult section of this route on Tuesday without issue.  The difference was that Tuesday was just 20 miles or so.  

So we're limping home, grateful for the downhill ride back, when about 4 miles from the finish, his tire blows again.  This time, with an audible pop.  No more spare tubes, he had to get a ride.   (I didn't abandon him, but the details are a bit extensive and ultimately, uninteresting.  Just leave it to this ... the rescue attempt didn't go as planned either!)

I hit the remaining ride hard and felt good.  I think I'm almost healthy.  Lungs are clearing up and legs are feeling stronger.  It's going to take another few weeks to get back into shape so I can start training hard, but hey ... I'll take it!

The funny thing on the ride was we had talked about how we cannot control the outcomes of our efforts.  He shared that in his experiences, when he lets things happens he notices great things happening around him.  Today, I figured he'd struggle, but between the humidity and the lack of experience (he didn't drink enough on the route), he bonked.  Still, though, I had a great ride and a great time.

I'm looking forward to next time.  Plus, this way, I can ride again tomorrow.

On a side note, I was entertaining the idea of running a marathon in January.  I ran twice this week and my left ankle has a lot of soft tissue discomfort.  Unfortunately, it's not just when I run, it's all of the time.  I'll be patient, let things run their course, but at this point, I'm not sure I'll be able to participate in the two half marathons I've already paid for!

What was that about letting things happen again?

1 comment:

  1. The one thing I am thankful for is that I hadn't paid for the half I was training to run...especially since I sustained a pelvic stress fracture 15 weeks ago and just now am able to run a bit...the half is on the 23rd, sigh! Maybe next year! Glad that your feeling better but hopefully your ankle will cooperate and you will be able to run at least one of those half's. Blessings!