This morning’s ride was “one of those rides” where the strange, bizarre and unexpected are more the norm rather than the exception. It all started with another uncommon arctic dip in the mercury with a ride time temperature in the high 40’s…always frigid by Florida standards. Jairo and I, decked out in our woefully inadequate cold weather gear, pedaled out gingerly to meet the rest of the gang at the Daniels Intersection.
While stopped at the rendezvous point waiting for everyone to arrive, there was a rather loud bang followed by a fast hissing sound…the tell tale highly despised sound of a blowout. We all instinctively looked down at our tires, and sure enough, it was my rear tire, doing it’s best impersonation of my friend Craig’s tire back in December…mind you, it’s highly uncommon for a tire to spontaneously pop, especially when you’re stopped.
No big deal, flats happen. So we all quickly went to work changing the tire. The puncture in the tube was extremely obvious, always is when there is an audible bang, but we couldn’t find anything in the tire itself…having frigid fingers didn’t help. After completely removing the tire and inverting it…btw, this should be the normal procedure after every flat, after all, there is nothing worse than getting a repeat flat from the same culprit…we found the tiniest of wires protruding from the tires inner side. Problem was, it was so small, that we couldn’t grip it to remove it. A pair of fine tweezers would have been perfect for the job, unfortunately no one had any…note to self, add a pair of tweezers to the saddle bag. After what seemed like an eternity…eternity for cyclists is defined as any period of time that you are not moving, no matter how long or short it is, particularly if other riders or groups pass you up…Manuel managed to get it out using, of all things, his teeth!
Tube replace, tire remounted, and we were back on our way down Treeline. As we approached the airport, another group of cyclists streamed out onto the boulevard. As is usually the case, we gave chase…instinctual behavior…like a dog fetching a ball or a moth attracted to a light. It turns out it was a group from the Caloosa riders doing their airport loop. We matched speed and integrated the two groups until they turned off after the I-75, I’ll never call it Don Eslick, bridge.
As we neared Coconut Point, my bike started to feel squirrely, almost as if it had a….crap, another flat! We were right at the corner of Coconut Point, and our awaiting mid ride baked goodness break at Panera. I removed the wheel, broke out the tire lever and zipped the tire off. It did not take long to realize that this puncture marked the end of today’s ride for me.
The sidewall had a nasty slice in it, too big for a makeshift patch or boot. The only option was a new tire. I always carry enough gear to repair a couple of punctures, but not a tire replacement. The Trek store was close, and soon to open, but frankly my replacement parts bin back home is so well stocked that it didn’t make sense to buy a new tire. So I called my wife, AKA SAG Mommy, and asked her to come rescue me.
I walked the few blocks…never a fun thing to do in cycling cleats to Panera, and found the guys as well as Amy’s group, who had blown past us earlier when I had the flat, relaxing outside. The place was hopping as always, with cyclists of every age, and more were riding up as we warmed up in the sun. I assured them that SAG Mommy was inbound and sent them on their way, quickly taking their bench before the ever increasing horde of cyclist claimed it. As I waited I was quickly being surrounded by bikes of every kind. It seems as though my idyllic bench in the sun was quickly becoming the parking lot of choice for all the cyclists. In the short time it took me to make a call to check on SAG Mommy, I was completely boxed in by a multitude of bikes with kickstands. There were even bikes laying up against mine. The Mistress is not a bike rack!
I quickly “creatively relocated” the offending bikes, making sure they were a “wee bit difficult” to get to. Sorry folks, you just don’t lay your bike up against another without first asking permission…there are bike racks for that, and carried the Mistress to a safe spot away from the kickstand crowd to await SAG Mommy’s arrival. While waiting, I received a call from Manuel asking if I had already been picked up, and if I could rescue Amy on the way back. Apparently she was also in need of SAG support after getting a slash on her rear tire. I informed him my ride was just a few minutes out and that it would not be a problem to stop for Amy. SAG Mommy arrived, I stowed the Mistress on the top rack and headed off to find Amy. SAG rescue two was underway.
We found Amy sitting alone and dejected in front of Mirromar Lakes. As we stowed her bike in the back she mentioned that she had never had a blow out before…I guess there is a first time for everything…especially on a day like today. By the way, if you thought my tire cut was large, hers was big enough to fit a VolksWagen through…ok perhaps not that large, but it was definitely spectacular. We dropped her safely at home and made our way back to our own home. I broke out a new Continental 4000S Grand Prix tire…BTW these have definitely become my favorite go to tire. The are long lasting, very puncture resistant, have tenacious grip, and ride oh so smoothly with their high TPI count…mounted it up and took advantage of the moment to wash and lube the Mistress up. While waiting for the wheels to dry, I jumped on FaceBook and found that my friends Adam and Diana had also had a run in with some flats…funny how they always occur in bunches. Luckily they did not have to resort to a SAG Wagon rescue.
Beach ride tomorrow morning and then it’s time for Super Bowl XLVII…I’m going to go out on a limb and predict a win for coach Harbaugh…anyone want to bet against me? 😉
Route: Coconut-40…divided by 2
Ride Time: 1:10:57
Stopped Time: 40:12
Distance: 19.58 miles
Average: 16.56 mph
Fastest Speed: 25.49 mph
Cycle This Month: 19.58 miles
Cycle This Year: 744.20 miles