When I said I was good at creating disasters, I was only half serious. I mean, I can make a pretty mean mess in the kitchen, have gotten myself into some spectacularly stupid situations, and have somehow managed to permanently scar my knees within 6 months of starting to ride. Despite all that, I haven’t endo-ed, broken my collarbone, or lost any fingers. This lulled me into being comfortable on my rides. I had a routine down, and it seemed to work.
That doesn’t mean I wasn’t prepared on those rides. I love being prepared. Not being prepared and armed with several alternative plans and to do lists exponentially increases the likelihood that I will turn into a crankopotamus. Diving straight into disastrous situations due to lack of preparation turns me into a giant bitch bomb. So I try to avoid that.
I said “try.”
Because when you’re doped up on sunshine and bike rides, sometimes, shit happens before you even realize it’s happening. And that’s exactly what happened on Friday.
With plenty of good weather outside, Mike and I planned a super easy 3 hour coffee ride. The planned route was the full 40 mile Dover loop; nothing new or special about it. Just a lazy, relaxing ride with a lot of Vitamin D thrown in. We fueled up on oatmeal and coffee beforehand, stuffed our pockets with all the essentials, and headed out in the late morning.
Even with a relaxed pace, we made good time, but an hour in, and my stomach started to growl and whine. The coffee and shared slice of banana bread were more than welcome by the time we rolled up to the Charles River Coffee House and quieted my rumbling tummy. Amped up on caffeine, we climbed back onto our bikes and headed west.
Half an hour later, I was suddenly fucking starving. Famished, I was looking at another hour and a half in the saddle with hills that kill me even on my good days. My legs felt more wrung out than painful. Welcome to bonks-ville.
The power turned down and the bitchery turned up. I was hurting and cranky and frustrated and that voice in my head started to ask all the discouraging rhetorical questions about what in the world I was actually doing. Meanwhile, I was barely able to keep my bike upright. Of course, I refused to stop, take a break, or touch the Larabar in my pocket. I felt like a failure. I just wanted to get home.
We pushed through the hills, mostly in silence as I was completely devoid of humor. Finally on flatter ground, I pushed away thoughts of a juicy [turkey] burger, fries, and a chocolate milkshake and gave it all I got. Almost, almost home.
Then Mike got a double flat.
By this point, the ride had edged itself out of “terrible” and into “ridiculous.” Mike flipped his bike over and with only one spare tube on him, we ended up stuffing my 700x28 tube into his 23 tires. Somehow we managed not to release all the CO2 from the cartridges before attaching it to the valve [I’m a master of wasting those things], which is a good thing because we only had two between us. In the middle of peeling off his rear tire, I mentioned how the ride was devolving into a disaster.
“What are you talking about?,” Mike asked, “This is fun!”
He wasn’t being sarcastic. And he was right. Well, we both were. It was slightly disastrous but in the end, nothing I couldn’t handle. Which was a kind of cool thing to learn.
We did get home in one piece. And once through the door, we even came up with a really good meat snack. I heart me my meat snacks.
Shit happens [to everyone], I guess. You just have to learn how to roll through it.