47 And Pffft

No, life hasn’t sucked for me the past two years, eleven months. Well, not much anyway. I’m referring to the ride I took on Saturday.

Early Saturday morning, not early enough however, I headed out for a fifty-mile bike ride. Because I am a creature of habit and wanted to start and end at home I was determined to figure out how to tack on eight additional miles to my forty-two mile Stone Mountain ride.

The ride was going fairly well even though I made a few miscues along the way. I reached the point on Hosea Williams (née Boulevard) where I’d normally turn left and head for the homestead but rather than doing that I decided to go straight in order tack on the eight miles by going around Grant Park.

Those of you with a sense of geography will quickly realize that it’s hard to add eight miles between East Atlanta and Grant Park. Really. Fucking. Hilly. Hard. I zigged and zagged, eventually heading down past ITP-Reader Martha’s street to Custer, turning right, suffering on the hills along it, turning right onto back onto Boulevard (Fulton County’s Boulevard), and suffering on the hill along it. At the top I looked down and saw 47.5 miles on my iPhone’s Wahoo Fitness app, and thought “C’mon man, only 2.5 miles to go!” That’s when I hit the rock with my rear tire, the rock I never saw. But wait! I think I survived that miscue because I could still ride! A few blocks later I turned the corner onto Berne (forgetting the major fucking hill that that street provides). A block later heard “pfffft” and had the literal sinking feeling of my rear tire going flat.


Had it been the front tire gone flat it would have been a no-brainer to pop the wheel off and replace the tube. But the rear wheel involves messing with the grease of the chain. I shouldn’t have been such a neat-freak because it led me to think “Well, I’m not far from home. I’ll just walk.” “Besides”, I thought, “why waste a CO2 cartridge when I’m so close to home?”.

It’s at that time I made perhaps the worst decision of the day.

Those of you who have cycled in road shoes know that it sucks to walk in them (it’s one of the reasons that ITP-Reader Barb buys mountain bike shoes), and I had just replaced the cleats on the bottom of mine and didn’t want to ruin them (because they are made out of plastic). So what did I do? I started walking barefoot.

I have tender feet.

Let it be known that the Goodness of Mankind in the Grant Park / Ormewood / East Atlanta area is alive and well. No fewer than four people asked me if I was okay, one of whom had bike tools to offer me, and two of whom offered me a ride home. I should have been born under the Chinese Zodiac for mule, because that’s how stubborn I am. I thanked each and everyone profusely and kept on my way walking barefoot.

After a handful of blocks feeling that I always had a stone on the bottom of my feet I looked down in horror — blisters on the balls of my feet. I suffered for another block before it became apparent that I needed to suck it up and replace the tube because the damage to my feet was bad, and was bound to get much worse.

I found a patch of grass, to spare my feet, and began the process of tube replacement. As expected my hands became covered in grease removing the rear wheel from the bike. The tire came off without much effort, and I pulled the tube out. Inspecting the tube I discovered that all this time I’ve been riding with a patched tube! (IDIOT!) [note: while I’ve yet to inflate the defective rubber I’m fairly certain that the state of the patch is what brought me down.]

Did you know that CO2 cartridges come in two flavors — threaded, non-threaded? I’ll explain now why the former will be the only type that I buy in the future.

After ensuring that the tire contained no sharp items that caused the puncture I placed the new tube inside of it. In my history of tube replacement I’ve found it beneficial to partially-inflate the tube to lessen the chance of a pinch flat when fully inflating the new tube. I put a thread-less CO2 cartridge into the holder and screwed on the holder’s cap (this process pierces the CO2 cartridge so that it can be used). But the the cap didn’t screw on well, so I pulled it out from the holder with the cartridge attached. As soon as I touched the cartridge it dislodged itself from the cap and shot off — toward me! Fortunately for me it hit me in the chest with nothing more than a glancing blow before continue its journey into the taller grass behind me. I realized how lucky I was that the cartridge didn’t hit me elsewhere (like my face), or do some damage to a nearby car. But then I realized that I just lost my source for filling the tube. Was I going to have to walk after all?

I was never a Boy Scout, but I am usually prepared. I had another CO2 cartridge in my bag, this one of the threaded variety. I screwed it into the cap and put the wheel back into the frame. I managed to put enough CO2 into the tube to ride home — hurting feet and all.

My feet are still suffering this morning, causing me to declare today to be another mandatory rest day because even the thought of cycling today hurts them.

Two Socks Enter, One Exits
After a soak in the tub and an hour’s nap I hobbled around on hurting feet and went to the lavanderia Saturday afternoon. While there I managed to lose of the socks that I wore on Saturday’s ride. Good riddance!

Hey, I Know You
Here’s something strange.

On Saturday morning I ate a chunk of bread with butter and had a glass of cranberry juice for breakfast. I rode 47+ miles, consuming water and three blocks from a package of Clif Blocks. Upon (finally) returning home I had a 7.5-ounce Coke. I was not hungry again until after completing laundry, sometime around 6pm.


I rewarded myself with a dinner at El Pollo Norteño. As I entered the building I saw one of my coworkers eating there. I walked up said hello and confused him due to the lack of context.

We sat and ate dinner together, more accurately I intruded upon his meal and ordered my own while sitting there talking.

After dinner I drove home and started listening to “Jazz Classics” on WABE and spent the rest of the evening on the couch.

While the day was not optimal it did provide much blogging material.

You Can Start Calling Me An “Overpaid Geek”
Assuming that you’ve not been doing this already, of course.

My Apple Watch is due to be delivered this week, perhaps even today.

If I needed to justify this purchase to anyone I could make the argument that I “need” one in order to start developing apps for it — especially if the rumored Software Developer Kit gets announced at Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference next week.

Paulie [eatl/ga]

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15 Responses to 47 And Pffft

  1. Barb says:

    Why didn’t you at least walk in your socks?
    And – great story – that sucks to get a flat that close to home.
    I would have taken the ride home.

    I actually rode both Saturday & Sunday.
    Saturday I rode 16 miles to a friend’s house in Roswell, because we had decided to go for a walk down by the river. That ended up being 5 miles, it was a beautiful day to wander around down there. Then, after a big, most excellent Moxie Burger, I rode home, a more direct route of 13 miles.

    Sunday Allan & decided to venture out around West Cobb. it ended up being 36, which was plenty for me after the day before – and some roads of course did not have bike lanes, and some drivers are quite rude. But, we survived, only once missed a turn. We were working off a probably 20 year old map of the Coffee & Bagel ride that used to leave from the Marietta Square. A few roads have changed names.

    Then, we did some yard stuff before the crazy rain came in. the new sod has been cut, its looking great – I think we all did an excellent job.

  2. bob says:

    That is a real comedy of errors there. Did you know that you can take your wheel off without touching the chain? I would practice that from time to time to prevent this in the future.
    Speaking of bike issues, I did the tour de cure with some really fast people on Saturday. They kept blowing past SAG stops and finally stopping at 30 miles, at that time our pace was 19.3. They finally slowed it down a bit and we came in to 65 miles at an 18.7 pace. I had a really good 55 mile ride but the last 10 miles I had not much left in the tank. I think I just did not drink enough water. Also in the last 10 miles my chain started jumping around, ghost shifting when I put any power to it. I limped it in and stopped by the bike shop Dean is working at for him to take a look. everything seemed normal so we were going to ride down the street for a beer and about a block away *snap* goes the chain. I guess I got real lucky that it didn’t give out during the big ride.
    $50 later I have a new chain and the bike is ready for BRAG.

  3. Steve says:

    There was much fence building this weekend, and NO RIDING! Damnit. I think I had enough physical labor without the riding anyway. Today, Debbie is schedule to string up the electrobraid and we’ll see about putting the juice to it later today.

    We will also need to rearrange how we get down to the “new” pasture, as our path doesn’t align with the current gate setup. Had we done a little more planning, we would have had the gate in the right place to begin with.

    That was a lot of rain yesterday- it gave us a couple breaks to get some other things done. The dogs were not amused.

    I watched most of “Her” last night. An odd movie for sure- so odd in fact, Debbie couldn’t handle it and went to read.


  4. Good riding Barb and Bob.

    I didn’t walk in the socks because I didn’t want to ruin them either. That makes losing one in the wash so much more ironic.

    I have never been able to get the rear wheel off/on without getting involved with touching the chain or the rear derailleur, though I saw it done to perfection while watching the last stage of the Giro yesterday. Perhaps I do need to practice this.

    “Her” is on my list of movies to watch if I can ever find time to watch movies.

    We didn’t get much rain in the Dunwoody area yesterday. I was in the office (getting nothing done), went to Costco, and then drank at The Bird.

    FWIW – I could use a bike maintenance night in June in preparation for RAGBRAI. Holy shit, RAGBRAI is next month?

  5. Barb says:

    I was going to ask John about having a maintenance night in June – Betsy of all people asked if there was going to be one. I had no idea she ever rides her bike?

    At least you will have a mechanic with you on RAGBRAI. Allan is really good at changing tires – he’s had plenty of practice.

    And – I have that HOLY SHIT we’ve only got 6 weeks or so to train moment almost every day now. But, when you think of it as only 10-20 miles at a time at the most between stops, it isn’t so daunting.

  6. I didn’t know that Betsy still owned a bike. 🙂

    True, but I should be able to change my own tires. 🙂

    Forgot to mention that I bought a new helmet on Saturday too; I noticed that my old one had a hairline crack in the styrofoam and was starting to show its age. Returning home from dinner I stopped at Performance Bicycles. As it turned out they were (are?) having their anniversary sale. In addition to a new white (with red) helmet to replace the dark gray one I had (the one that got very hot while riding in the sun) I bought some new socks, a new tube, and some new threaded CO2 cartridges.

  7. Steve says:

    Getting your hands dirty when changing a tire is pretty inevitable, but not from the chain!! We can teach you the proper technique.

    I saw some pavement marking for BRAG on the way to work today!!

  8. Barb says:

    I see Wednesday’s routes go thru Luthersville. Allan & I are thinking about going down to say hi to everyone on Sunday, want to plan a bike ride down your way Steve for Sunday?

  9. Steve says:

    I think we could make that happen! There is a 58 mile route that heads to Silk Sheets. The BRAG website has a neat feature on their maps- you can drag the elevation graph and it will show you the climbs and what the % grade is.

  10. bob says:

    I actually wish I didn’t see that part Steve, some of the hills look pretty harsh.

    I want to ride early Sunday so will be in BRAG hanging out mode when you come down. Will be nice to see you all again. I like that it is only an hour from the house.

  11. Barb says:

    Not sure if I’m up for a 58 mile ride quite yet, I’d slow you all down way too much. Maybe we could modify it. But if Debbie could be on call for a sag…….. LOL

  12. I’d be up for riding Sunday as well, even though it messes with my current desire to ride Monday, Wednesday, Saturday. 😉

    I really like that ridewithgps.com site. I might have to make more use of that.

  13. Steve says:

    I’m sure we can map out something… and then stop by camp and hang out.

  14. Barb says:

    add a 4th day Paulie – go wild!

  15. Debbie says:

    Always prepared to sag. My weekend riding buddy took a tumble on Saturday and broke her upper arm bone. Not quite sure how she managed that unless she landed on something.

    Running fence line on hold while I take a quick trip to crash Dad’s doctor appointment. He doesn’t want any of his nosy children interfering, but he has no short term memory and selective hearing. I should’ve raised a lot more hell as a teenager to put up with him now!

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