Somedays you eat the bear, somedays the bear eats you. Or to borrow from Mary Chapin Carpenter, somedays your the windshield; somedays your the bug, etc. This morning was one of those days.
I have been trying to do a 24 mi round trip bicycle ride from the little town of Six Mile, SC, 9 miles from me, up to the Keeowee-Toxaway State Park. This is in preparation for a 44 mile round trip from my house to the park. My eventual goal on this leg of my bicycle training is to do a bicycle camping trip form home to there. Camp, say overnight, then ride back. This will be carrying gear though, which means a lot more weight, probably around 100 lbs with bicycle. There are several nasty hills in this trip and I’m a little anxious, understatement, about being able to do it.
This time of year, air quality is a real issue. Throw in rain, humidity, heat, traffic, etc., and putting in long rides and not having to breath a lot of bad air, can be a real challenge. I was going to go on Saturday, the previous day, but the air quality window closed up. However, when I went to bed last night, they had changed up the forecast and Sunday had a three-hour ride window of good air (green) before it dropped down into yellow air. So I went to bed, thinking, great, I’ll get in my ride after all!
Got up at 5:00a.m. this morning, had a cup of coffee, grabbed a granola bar, and eventually headed out the door a little before 6:00. I had had the bike up on the rack to work on it a few days before and forgot that I had taken all the equipment, bags, lights, etc. off. Shit! Okay, I put all that back on and got the bike loaded into the truck for transport over to Six Mile. I had forgot that I need to fish out a longer strap to secure it to the carrier inside the truck canopy top. I was already running an hour behind for the good air. I just leaned it in unsecured, and took off to Six Mile.
This leads to my new First Rule: get the bike and gear ready the night before!!
Pulled into Six Mile, found a place I could leave the truck. Wrote out a note card saying I was going on a bike ride and contact info. Pulled the bike out of the back. Another, Shit!! Actually, more like a Fuck!! I had forgotten my helmet, my reflective vest, and my riding gloves. Oh well, I thought, I have a riding cap in the trunk bag. I’ll just make do with that. It is now 7:00. Got on the bike and started to pedal off.
The chain jumped the sprocket and locked up. First time this has happened on this bike. I fiddled-farted around with it, thought I got it back on the sprocket (smaller sprocket of the front), hopped back on, and started pedaling. It went about half a revolution and made nasty grinding noises. I stopped, looked at the front gear. The chain was still on the sprocket, Looked back at the rear shifter and figured out the chain had also jumped the small sprocket that feeds the various gears. Never had this happen before. Ended up turning the bike upside down in the parking lot, got it back on, and headed off again.
Second new rule: get some waterless hand cleaner for tool box in truck and put some in bicycle gear.
It seemed to be working fine until I shifted into one of the lower gears. It locked up again. Here I was in the middle of the road and a car coming. I crashed and burned in the middle of the road. I have clips that clip into my pedals and I am still getting used to them. Getting your feet out in an emergency takes practice. I fell over in the road. Thankfully, the car had stopped. I picked myself up, shoes now out of the pedal clips, picked up the bike, and embarrassed, walked it over to the side of the road. Meanwhile, the driver, a lady, asked if I was alright? I explained to her I was. I walked/road the bike the half mile or so to the truck and put it back into the truck.
In defeat, headed back home. I had to decided to brew me a mocha latte and decide what I wanted for breakfast. Got home, just left the bike in the truck for now. I would pull it out later and see if I couldn’t figure out what was wrong and fix it in my shop.
Walked in the house and the dogs didn’t even say, Hi. It was still not their getting up time. They probably didn’t even know I was gone.
Washed my hands to get some of the bicycle chain grease off, and went into make me my latte. I couldn’t find the filter that goes in the expresso machine. Very strange as I always try to clean it and put it back with the machine. I looked everywhere. Where could that filter be?Twenty minutes later I threw in the towel. Sighing, I made myself a regular cup of coffee.
And that was just my morning. Hopefully the rest of Sunday want go this way. On a bicycle and in life, adventures come in all categories.
- As it turned out, the day before (Saturday), I had had a Shingrix vaccination. I had gone to bed early Sat night, feeling drained and tired. Slept off and on till 5:00a.m. When I got up to get ready for my ride, I was feeling groggy, had trouble getting out of bed and getting awake (unusual for me), and my arm where my friend and pharmacist, Al at Liberty Family Pharmacy, had injected me, was really sore. Later that day, after my disaster bicycle ride attempt, I was in my recliner wondering why I was so low on energy and lethargic? Then it occurred to me: the Shingrix vaccination. Googled it. Sure enough I was having secondary symptoms. Got up, took a couple of acetaminophen. An hour later I was feeling back to my more normal self.
- My bike’s rear derailer got damaged when it fell over in the truck. I bent it back out, but it is still not working right. Will take over to R.E.I. Monday to get it repent correctly–and watch what they do so I can do it myself next time. Irritating as its a 45 minute drive over there. Oh well, Whole Foods is right next door.
- Woke up this morning (Monday) feeling my old self. Symptoms had passed. But then, I ripped my middle toe’s toenail off on the bathroom door. Great way to start the week, no? Hurt like hell.
- Have to build an extension for my new bike carrier in the truck. The truck’s camper bed top interferes with the bike’s handlebars and can’t strap it in appropriately. A project for later today.
- Life goes on. … until it doesn’t. Sigh.