Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Good Samaritans

This past weekend RDM and I visited our folks in Ocean City, NJ. They've had a place down there for a little while now, but this was the first time I had been down to see it.

On Sunday, I set out for a long ride. I had a pretty good route mapped out on mostly county roads with wide shoulders. As I was about to leave in the morning I decided to grab my windbreaker since it was a little cool and I'm awful in the cold. I figured I'd be taking it off once I got off the island and away from the early morning ocean breeze.

Needless to say, the jacket never came off. About an hour into the ride it started drizzling. "That's odd," I thought, "It's not supposed to rain today." Of course, that's when it started raining harder.

I rolled into the town of Woodbine and, with the wet roads, picked up a piece of glass in my front tire. In the time I stopped to change the tube, the rain had turned into a full on downpour.

I was all proud of myself for changing the tire in less than three minutes, but then I started the arduous process of filling that tire using my mini-pump. If you've ever used one of those pumps, you know what I'm talking about. Ten minutes later I figured I was around 80psi, which was good enough for me to get moving again, as I was completely soaked through.

I opted to head back to OC, still 75-90 minutes away rather than continue on. I only had one more spare tube and with the roads filled with grit and glass, I didn't want to take the chance of being even farther away if I needed to call for a ride.

Needless to say, about 20 minutes into the trip back I got another flat, this time in my rear tire. The plan at that point was to change the tire and get moving. If I got another flat, I'd have to call for help.

As luck would have it, a car pulled up ride after I pulled the wheel off my bike. Two cyclists hopped out and asked if I wanted a ride. It didn't take much internal debate for me to agree. 20 minutes later I was back at my parents' place.

So what lessons did I learn? Not too many actually. I've ridden in the rain before. I've changed flats before. I had enough spares and a patch kit. I had some cash. I had a cell phone. There wasn't much I would or could have done differently. And despite the cruddy weather, I still had a good time. My only regret was that I had to turn back early and had to finish the ride on my trainer later that evening.

The only things I could really take away are:

I didn't have a rain coat. Between watching Ironman Lake Placid last year and this past weekend, I've decided to pick up a good lightweight jacket. In fact, I already ordered it.

I didn't have my blinky light. That's not really a big deal, but it was kind of dumb of me. I had brought a light with me to OC, but decided to leave it behind. If I was going to leave one thing behind, I'm glad it was the light and not the windbreaker. That said, I could have easily brought both.

Filling a tire with a mini-pump is awful. I knew this already, but had forgotten.

I realize this little story probably wasn't very interesting. But if anyone asks why I'm bringing a rain coat or CO2 tire fillers on all of my spring rides in the northeast from now on, here's my rationale.

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