Last Sunday I rode in the Gloucester leg of the ADA’s Tour de Cure. I had taken part in this ride some years ago, but this was the first structured/organized ride I’ve done since rekindling my biking love over the past few years. It was hardly a smooth ride for me, but I learned a thing or two that will help me be more prepared for my next ride as well as my daily commuting.
1. 15.5 MILES ISN’T VERY FAR. – Since i’m used to riding 6 miles to and from work each day, I don’t really have a very good gague for distance riding and what I’m capable of. With this in mind, I decided to begin with the 25k, which seemed like it would be a challenge, but not too overwhelming. Turns out 15.5 miles isn’t very far at all, especially with two check-points along the way. Just as I was really begginning to dig in and get warmed up, I was already at mile 13. I guess that’s a good thing, but it absolutely was not the challenge I was expecting.
2. DON’T LEAVE MY SPARE TUBE/CO2/TIRE LEVERS AT HOME – This hardly needs to be explained. I figured I was only going 15.5 miles..what are the chances I’ll get a flat, right? Right. Two flats. Yes two, rear tube both times, and thank you to the two riders who stopped and lent me their resources. Luckily two riders stopped while I was walking to the next check point, and offered me their spare tube, CO2 cartridge, and levers. Luckily I have far more experience changing tubes than I would like to admit, and was able to get back up and riding for the next 8 miles. After refueling on a banana and some gatorade at the second check point, I noticed that my rear tube was flat AGAIN. Again, I was at the mercy of the helpful strangers, this time the mobile repair team from SkiMarket who were donating their time, know-how, and tubes to the riders.
2.a – I NEED A NEW REAR TIRE (see above) – Am I sitting on my saddle too hard, or is my new rear tire not providing the strength and protection I so clearly need?
3. THE SUN IS HOT EVEN AT 9AM – Of course I didn’t wear sunscreen…it was only a cloudless 96* day along the coast with no shade. The burn on my left thigh wasn’t apparent until a few hours later when I noticed the bright red bordering the pasty white right where my shorts ended. Ah well, it’s bound to happen sooner or later, and at least I earned it and didn’t just fall asleep at the beach or get a trucker’s burn from hanging out the car window.
Next ride…Hub on Wheels. 30 miles this time, and hopefully that doesn’t mean 4 flats.