July 4, 2008

Flat Out Frustrating

It seems like it's been raining a lot in New York these days. I got up after getting way too little sleep with the intention of doing a 45 mile ride. But the sky was dark and after a look at the weather report, I knew it would have to wait a bit. After it stopped pouring, the plan was to ride up the West side, across to Central Park, one loop around, then ride up to the GW Bridge from there before heading to Nyack. I was looking forward to a challenging, hilly ride on 9W since I haven't done it that much this year. But while looping through Columbus Circle, I got a flat. My back tire has been losing air pretty much every day so I figured I had a puncture, but I kept filling it back up and riding on it. After just four miles today, it was done.

Let me explain my history with maintenance on my bike. When it comes to the bike, all I know how to do is get on and ride, and I don't even do that so well. I've been riding three years and this is luckily only my second flat. I was planning to spend some time over the next week learning how to handle a flat just in case it happens during the tri. Murphey's Law says those that prepare will never get a flat and those of us that have no clue, will. I had intended my practice to be on a non-ride day, but this was real-time and necessary so there's no time like the present.

First of all, most guys can do this in 5 minutes flat. Not me. It took me 5 minutes just to get the back tire off my bike. The back is the worse since you have to deal with the chain. Then I had to go step by step through what to do, getting filthier and filthier by the minute. It's tricky getting the tube out, and even trickier getting it back in. I was suddenly thankful there is always a guy with me or guys nearby willing to help when I ride. I really hope this never happens during a race. I could seriously run faster in cleats with my bike the remainder of the distance.

Since the flat caused such an enormous delay, the enthusiasm for the 45 mile ride was deflated along with the tire. I decided to do a brick workout instead, which is probably better since I've only done two in my training. I rode 20 miles and then had a longer than ideal transition to drop my bike back in my apartment and make a few quick adjustments. Since I wasn't planning to run, I wasn't wearing the most ideal upper body undergarments. After the fastest change possible, I ran (yes, I ran in my apartment building both with my bike and back out for the run - my neighbors are sure I'm insane) back out for the 3-mile run.

It was hot, humid and hard to breathe, but otherwise, I felt good. I didn't run my race pace, but wasn't too far off. I think I need to do a few more bricks before the race to get ready to put in 10K after the bike. I'm not quite there yet.

I spent the rest of the day relaxing and enjoying the holiday. After dinner at my favorite restaurant in New York, Little Owl, I made a quick stop into my home away from home, The Blind Tiger, to see who was around. It was a good time with good friends and I was glad everyone else was as tired as I was so I had the perfect excuse to leave early.

I'll be breaking the beer moratorium one last time tomorrow when I join my Tiger friends at the Bohemian Beer Gardens in Astoria. I've lived here for 10 years and have never been so I look at it as a cultural experience. I'll make up for it with a good open water swim at Brighton Beach and an even better ride to Nyack on Sunday. Happy 4th of July to everyone.

Distance - 20 miles
Time - 1:15:00

Distance - 3 miles
Time - 25:09

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