A few days ago Ale got her second flat of the trip. I got pretty jealous with all the attention she was getting, so I proceeded to get three flats in the next 24 hours. Attention reverted back to its rightful owner. Great success.
But seriously. We have had quite a morning. We got into Riverside last night after a 60 mile ride filled with joy and laughter. We were so happy after our day off and time spent with Tom and Alison, our new favorite cyclist friends. (more to come on them later). The last 18 miles of the ride Ale and I got a little separated and I had a very realistic daydream involving me saving people in a plane crash, strange, I know, but it kept me very distracted throughout the ride. I almost road right through Riverside; I couldn’t believe an hour and a half had passed. I like to call that black out cycling. I don’t remember a thing about the last 18 miles besides the endless terrain of grass and dirt that seemed to extend forever.
Anyways, after the blackout, Ale and I met up and began discussing how excited we were for our dinner and how great the day had been. Ale then asked if she heard a tire leaking. I didn’t hear anything and replied, “haha wouldn’t that be the perfect end to the day.” Unfortunately, Ale was correct, and once we started towards the campground, it was quite obvious my back tire had gone completely flat. Nice. It’s amazing how a tiny hole in a tire can change the mood immensely. Ale road ahead and returned to tell me the campground was walkable distance. So I awkwardly pushed my bike along the road until we got to the destination. We checked in, found a site, and I got to work on my tire.
Since Ale is the expert on tire changing, I decided I should practice and do it myself. Conditions were perfect: low blood sugar, sweat and sunscreen in my eyes, and most importantly, mosquitoes / bees happily buzzing all around me. I was in extremely high spirits and very excited to be changing my tire while getting oil and grease all over my clothes and face.
Surprisingly, I was able to accomplish most of the steps (detach wheel from bike, take tire off, remove tube, find broken glass piece that caused the whole thing, curse at the glass piece, insert new tube, tuck tire back into place, get black grease everywhere, pump up the tube, etc), but when I went to detach my pump from the newly inserted tube, the end portion of the stem had unscrewed from the stem (it got stuck in my pump), so the whole thing lost all the air (this is of course, after pumping up the tube until my hand and arm muscles started cramping). F
You could say I was a tad frustrated at this point. But, failure was NOT an option, so I grabbed the letterman my dad loaned me and opened all the different tools to figure out what I could use to fix something. I ended up clamping down on the end stem piece with the pliers to tighten it back into the stem. I tested the pump attachment with the stem and it seemed to work, so I re pumped up my tube. I put the tire back on my bike, which was actually one of the more difficult steps, and I smiled to myself thinking I was quite a BA. Ale was also really impressed with my handiwork which made me even prouder.
The rest of the night was perfect: hot showers, nice pasta dinner with pesto, olive oil, spinach, and frozen pees, back massages, and early bed time.
Next morning, not as perfect. Ale and I rushed around to get out of the campsite by 8:30, our second earliest departure this trip. We high fived to the fact that we were so fast and Ale went to go to the bathroom one last time before we started pedaling. I felt my back tire and it seemed a little low so without thinking I attached my pump and really tired my arms out to get it as full as possible. I unscrewed my pump right as Ale walked out of the bathroom and again the top portion of the stem came off and my whole tire immediately went flat. I just looked at Ale as the tire air rushed out of my tire and made my hair blow into my eyes. Awesome. Ale’s first response was laughter, but then I could tell she was a little annoyed. She kept her cool and we sat down and worked together to patch a previously used tube (we were out of good tubes) and take apart the tire once again. This time I diligently checked every millimeter of my tire and found a tiny metal wire barely sticking out. I couldn’t grab it with my nails, so again I turned to the letterman. It took me a few tries, but eventually I got that little devil out of there. I also took the faulty tube out and threw it at the lawn. I started doing ujjayi breathing (thank you yoga), partially as a joke, but partially to remind myself to breathe. Ale started laughing, which lightened the mood a bit, but we were both still pretty stressed. We both knew that we had no more good tubes and one more patch after this one was used.
We ended up putting it all together and getting on the road by 10, still not that bad. We road exactly 1.67 miles before my back tire went flat once again. I immediately pulled off to the side, took off my panniers, flipped my bike upside down, and got out my pb banana bagal sandwich I had packed myself. My rational was that food would help me decide what to do next. Ale and I sat there for a little while nervous laughing and making jokes about the situation. I told her, “mmmmkay, I vote we meet a really cool person who is willing to drive us to Walden (the next town with a population over 50).”
“Ya totally.” Ale agreed, but was obviously annoyed at my unrealistic recommendation. About 2 minutes later a van passes us, breaks, reverses in the shoulder, and out pop our saving angels. A wonderful man and woman walk up to us and start asking if we need help. Ale asked where they were going and they answered “Walden.” I just looked at Ale like, “told you!”
A few minutes later we were sitting in the back of Jim and Carla’s van with their loving golden retrievers telling them how grateful we were for the ride. They seemed happy to help us out. We talked the whole ride about their adventures and awesome lives and felt so so so lucky to have met them. When we got to Walden they dropped us off at the park, where Ale and I were camping. I can’t even tell you how happy I was that they had found us. It was absolutely incredible timing.
Jim and Carla and dogs 🙂
We are now hanging out in Walden for a couple of days waiting for our new tires and tubes to arrive. Ale was worried about her back tire as well, so we decided not to risk it and just get two, in case she is subconsciously jealous of my tire attention and tries to pull another stunt like mine.
We are also secretly hoping Alison and Tom show up to keep us company for another night. We had a great time with them in Rawlins, WY. We found that we had some pretty funny commonalities between our friendship and their relationship, which was hilarious to talk about.
Ale and Alison similarities =
– carry the maps
– clean dishes
– stress about animals and safety
– sing to themselves as they ride
– usually travel slower than their partners and get annoyed when the partner gets far ahead
Jaimee and Tom similarities =
– enjoy music while riding
– cook dinner
– have a Brook’s sadle
– less stressed about animals and safety
– like to ride at a faster pace than their partners and sometimes forget to wait
– like to design things
Overall, Tom and Alison were just awesome, adventurous, down to earth, and hilarious people, so I think we kind of made up these commonalities so we could pretend to be like them.
AND, Alison if you are reading this, I have been at a restaurant for an inappropriate amount of time waiting for the Bachelorette movie to download on my itunes so we can watch it tonight 🙂