Ride Report 2018-06-13

My cycling training has been going well. I have an 11.5-mile loop in my neighborhood that includes several steep climbs that have been challenging. I ride that loop once a week, and have improved steadily, which is gratifying.

Today, however, was a little more challenging. It’s a “good news, bad news” story.

The good news is, I was able to ride up all the steep climbs. When I first rode these hills I had to stop and walk on three of them. Each week I reduced the number of walks and shortened the length. Today, I rode them all.

The bad news is, I had two tip-over accidents and two flat tires.

Since I’m no longer trying to be a “racer”, I don’t eat while riding. I will stop for a minute or two to ingest an energy gel, then continue. I stopped at my regular halfway mark for a gel. It being a humid day and me being especially sweaty, I took off my riding glasses and hung them from the handlebar so they wouldn’t fog up. I forgot to put them back on when I started again. Right after getting clipped in, the glasses fell from the handlebar to the pavement. I did not run over them with the front wheel, but the back wheel was heading right for them. I stopped immediately, tried to unclip but could not, so resigned myself to falling over. I was at the edge of the road and I fell on my back on the grass, so no big deal.

Continuing on the ride, I climbed Northside drive, then rode along Mount Vernon Highway (an old road built along a ridge line, so nearly flat), flew down Powers Ferry Road, then left on Mount Vernon Parkway for some more climbing. Climbed halfway up, then turned right on Idlewood so I could climb Whitner Drive, the steepest climb on my route.

Just as I neared the beginning of the climb, I heard “pew! Ssff, ssff, ssff, ssff”. I had a flat. I was both surprised and disappointed as I’ve been using Mt. Tuffy tire liners for years and had never had any puncture flats.

I looked for the offending object, but could not find anything, either on the road or in my rear tire.

Being a gear-hub bike, there is no quick-release for the rear wheel. Time to get the wrenches out. The wheel-tire combo I’m running (Velocity Deep V rims and Forte Strada-K 700-28 tires) are particularly difficult to change, so I was on the side of the road for a good 20 minutes or more. That was hot, sweaty, irritating 20 minutes, but I got the new tube in and back on the bike.

Not even a minute later, just as I started climbing Whitner, I let my attention wander, found myself on the edge of the pavement and a 2-inch drop to the gutter, and promptly fell over again.


Back on the bike, again up Whitner, and though it was challenging, I rode huffing and puffing all the way up.
Now I just had an easy ride home, right on Mount Vernon Highway for a block, right on Glen Errol for an exhilarating descent followed by easy rollers, and then a one-mile gentle climb home.

Or so I thought.

Just as I neared the bottom of the final Glen Errol descent, again I heard “pew! Ssff, ssff, ssff, ssff”. Another flat!!! And again, I could see no evidence of a puncture. Very mysterious as well as very irritating.

Unfortunately, I only carried one spare tube on this short ride. Fortunately, I was only a mile from home, so I got a little walking in today too.

I have not yet changed that last flat. I’m thinking those tires are 6 years old, and the Mr Tuffy liners have no adhesive left to hold them in place, so I’m heading to the local bike shop for tires, tubes, and liners for front and back before I embark on the next ride.