Thursday, April 26, 2007

Why can't it be ALL uphill?

I went for my after-work bike ride today. I put on my helmet, gloves, bike shoes... I grabbed my cel phone to put in my bag when I heard the voice of the Axis of Evil in my head: "You must lose ounces! Weight is everything!" So I left my phone at home. (Remember that for part 2 of this post.)

I set out to do my normal short hill ride, but got frustrated with all the red lights I was hitting so I just took a turn at random. Instead of my usual hill, I biked up the Matterhorn.

I've done other rides with more elevation gain, but this was by far the steepest I've gone up. It was a little frustrating not knowing when I would hit the top; around every bend I would think I was finished, only to see it go up higher. I made it, a little out of breath but none the worse for wear.

Coming back however was a problem. I had never ridden up a hill that steep, but I also never rode DOWN a hill that steep. I was riding my brakes, terrified, the entire way. At one point I looked down to see how fast I was going because I was uncomfortable with my speed: 10.8 mph. I should be hitting double that on the flat roads! But I could feel myself falling forward on the bike and it just scared the crap out of me.

I survived the trip to the bottom and got stuck at a traffic light. That's when I heard the noise: Ssssssssss.... I was thinking "oh, PLEASE let that be a rattlesnake about to bite my leg". Unfortunately, it was not a demonic serpent but my rear wheel.

Fine. I can change a tire. I took the wheel off, took out my spare tube, looked for those little plastic wheel-removal tools... I said, "looked for those little plastic wheel-removal tools." Nope. In the process of repacking my bag I forgot to put the tools back in. It takes me a while to change tires WITH the tool; there's no way I can do it without it. I wasn't TOO far from home, so I figured maybe I could call Tri Team Tammy for a lift; she lives nearby. Oops. (See: "you must lose ounces!" earlier in this post.)

So I had to walk home in my socks, pushing my bike. (Didn't want to ruin the bike shoes.) It was 2 miles, which is not a far run but it IS a long way to go pushing your bike in your socks. Plus it was a little embarrassing walking by people on the sidewalk while I'm wearing my silly shorts and bike top. With really bad helmet-hair as well. But I figured if I'm dumb enough to go out on a bike ride by myself without my tools or a phone, I deserve the Walk Of Shame.

Lesson learned.


Blogger Nancy Toby said...

Ack! You've confirmed it. Hills suck in both directions.

5:32 AM  
Blogger IM Able said...

It takes only one walk of shame to learn two lessons -- (1) don't get drunk at a frat party without a wingman in tow, and (2) never ride without a cellie.

I'm assuming you've already learned the first...perhaps now the second?


7:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you know how I love the downhills, so you must tell me where this local Matterhorn is. The most important thing to have on all rides - ID, credit card, cell and some cash.


7:27 AM  
Blogger Iron Pol said...

First, that is either one TALL goat, or I can see why you only hit 10.8 mph going down it.

Second, been there, done that. Only I had the cell phone. My wife and kids were in bed at 5 a.m. and I walked three miles until I figured they would be awake.

FYI, it's easier on the socks if you take them off, too.

7:46 AM  
Blogger John said...

The Smart Me knows the Stupid Me runs the show sometimes so I try and minimize the damage if I forget my cell phone, cash, tube, C02, tire wearing black socks so the road grime won't show.


11:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

where is this steep hill???

3:14 PM  
Blogger Mister P. said...

Since people have been asking, here's the hill:

It's 2.5 miles up, and maybe you serious cyclists will scoff at it but it scared the bejeebies out of me.

3:16 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

Well now you know. It's a training ride and it's OK to carry everything inluding the kitchen sink. It just makes race day that much better (insert axis of evil voice in here now). That advice only applies on race day. I ride a 30 pound 20 year old steel bike for my training rides. Cell, cash, credit, id, tools, frame pump (co2's u can run out of) chain tool..It happens...

9:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You could have used your teeth. Norman Stadler practiced that in Kona. Didn't work, but then again, his tire was glued.

Regarding your 24 Hours Fitness thing. If it is Glendale pool then yes, read and take the advice of the comment made regarding that pool. I used to swim there. When people walk straight from the steam room, sauna or the hot pool and just jump in, you should get the picture. I was sick a lot during that period. As you know, Norwegians are never sick!!!!

You will have a great race at WF, I can already tell from your posts how prepared you are for the swim, bike and run. However, you'll have great support and encouragements coming from your tri buddies. At least, we will go for breakfast Sunday when a couple of thousand others have to get up and race. We're done!


1:55 PM  
Blogger Cliff Tam said...

You have to show us how you change your tire with no tools.

At least u got the flat coming down..not going up :)

3:46 PM  

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