Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Emerson once wrote, "Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."

Today was a beautiful day. I was on my bike riding hills in the wind and sunshine. What is not beautiful about that. When I left my house this morning with my bike loaded up in my Bronco, it was raining. But I was heading north, to the land of perpetual sunshine.

I reached Hapuna State Park around 7:30 and was on the road by 7:40. Right around the time I'll be hitting the bike on race day I figure. A nice little breeze was blowing south, so once I made my way down to Mauna Lani for the turn around I had a good head wind. I was trying my hardest to pretend I was racing in Honu. Trying to see if I could hold an easy pace for the first 10 miles or so until I hit the real hills. I was trying to use the time on Queen K as a warm up and to just get settled onto the bike. I figure enough riders will go too hard on this part and suffer on the climb to Hawi.
Once I got climbing I couldn't believe how blue the ocean was and how clean the air looked. No vog up here today. Everything was fine until I hit the turn around and I got a flat. Since I was pretending I was racing, I decided to see just how fast I could change a flat. I'm not fast I discovered! Once I got the new tube on I grabbed an air cartridge and put it in the handy-dandy handle so I could inflate my tire. As soon as I screwed in the head of the handle my cartridge nearly exploded in my hand, emptying all of its very cold air in an instant. GREAT! I only had one tube, two cartridges and one Pit Stop (a fix-a-flat for bikes). So now I'm down to one cartridge. So I grab it, screw it gingerly into the handle and place it onto the valve stem. Presto! my tire inflated instantly. I hop on my bike, crossing my fingers I don't get another flat.

What's worse than getting one flat, when you are nearly 25 miles from your vehicle? Getting another flat and only having fixin's for one. Yep. About 8 or 9 miles down the road, the same tire fizzles. I pull over. I'm getting really nervous now. If Pit Stop doesn't work I'm walking nearly 15 miles. So I pull out the Pit Stop, say a quick prayer, and push it on to the valve. NOTHING. I pull it off and look at the end. Looking always seems to fix things doesn't it?

I Don't see anything wrong so I put it back on and push. Nothing again. I wiggle it around. VIOLA! It begins to inflate my tire. But just as soon as my hopes begin to rise, all of that white foamy stuff begins to shoot out of the wheels valve stem hole. And that nice head wind I was trying to make friends with on the bike blows it all over me. I'm standing there covered in white foam, looking like the Michelin Man holding my flat bike tire. A car passes and honks. No doubt laughing at the sight.

I guess the Pit Stop people didn't think it was important to put on the directions not to stand downwind just in case it doesn't work. So with only the prospect of walking 15 miles, I pack up, put my wheel back on my bike and start pushing.

Saturday I wrote about how little traffic there is along this road, now I was cursing it. Yes, I did try to hitch a ride from the five or so vehicles that passed me, but with no luck. After a bit I gave up and decided that if I couldn't bike then I would run.

I found out bike shoes don't make good running shoes. But on the positive side, I'm a forefoot runner in bike shoes. After a couple of miles of running, walking and hitching, a cyclist came along and had mercy on me. She gave me a tube and a couple of air canisters. I'm always amazed at the friendliness and generosity of triathletes. She's doing Honu, too. So I sat down and went through the whole process again. This time I made sure I took my time and did things right. And wouldn't you know it. As I sat there changing my tube, no less than three cars stopped to see if I needed help. Where were they when I was hitching?

1) Carry more tubes/air
2) Don't rush a flat repair
3) Be prepared to hand over your spare tube and air if you come across a cyclist down on his/her luck
4) If you need to resort to hitching a ride, Don't use your thumb, just sit down and pull off a wheel.

So, as Emerson wrote, "Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."

I look forward to what new adventure awaits me tomorrow. I'm swimming and running hills. Now what possible blunders could happen with that???


Bruce Stewart said...

Buy a small (car) foot pump with a pressure gauge at Wal-Mart. They are a bit awkward to carry (you need a backpack), but you have peace of mind when the inevitable flat happens. I looked silly riding with a backpack (which also had extra drink & my swim gear, etc., but in the race I did not have it and so felt lighter and faster. I have rarely found a hand-pump that will let in more than about 35 psi. A good long one would be best if you could attach it to the bike. I generally carried at least 3 spare tubes on long rides and then I could also help the occasional damsel in distress.

doodlebug said...

Randy, Please write a book. I enjoy your writings soooo much !!! You are such a decsriptive writer I always feel like I am there experiencing the actual swim or run or cycling. Thank goodness you weren't on Karen's moped when it went down! doodlebug :)


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