Remember that somewhat grim long ride I had a couple of weeks ago? The one with the pink running shoes, the neon coral lipgloss and, worst of all, the flat tyre I couldn’t fix and how I had to get a taxi to a bike shop to fix it? I learned many lessons that day.
- Neon coral lipgloss is not for me.
- I needed to woman up and swap cycling in running shoes for clip-in shoes.
- I needed to learn to fix a flat tyre.
The lipgloss has been retired. The cycling shoes are now being worn and I’m clipping in like a boss. But I’ve been procrastinating BIG STYLE about learning how to fix a tyre. I’ve been too tired, I’ve had too much studying to do, it’s been too hot, I’ve had too much wine…you name it, I’ve used it as an excuse. And every week, when I’ve set out for my long rides, I’ve cursed myself for tempting fate and have wondered if THIS is the week I regret my inaction.
Yesterday, I cycled 80 miles – my penultimate long ride. I knew I needed to tackle this puncture malarky, so on Thursday night, despite being tired and despite the hot temperatures and the humidity, I buckled down. I got out my book with its step by step guide, I found a guide on youtube and I tackled the back wheel, because punctures are always on the back wheel, aren’t they!
It went okay. I was pouring sweat from the effort (and the humidity) but I managed to take off my wheel, take out my inner tube, put it back in, re-inflate the wheel and put it back on the bike. I was triumphant and felt much more confident.
Just as well.
I woke up at 5am yesterday, and went into the living room where my Long Ride kit was all laid out. I got dressed, sorted out my food and my drinks and went to pump up my tyres. The back tyre, the one I’d ‘fixed’ was spot on. Hard as nails. I was thrilled. My front tyre? Flat as a pancake.
I have no idea why this had happened. So I took a deep breath and set about fixing an actual puncture! Wheel off, inner tube out. BIG hole in it. Checked the tyre to see if there was anything that had caused it, couldn’t feel a thing. Checked again. Nothing. Put in a new inner tube, re-inflated it, put it back on the bike and pumped it up. It took me a few minutes, at least a quarter of the time it had taken me the night before!
Practising is worth it, people!!!
I haven’t blogged much about my long rides because they’re not very interesting. I have one main route, due to safety, and I increase the distance by adding loops along its length. I’ve done 2 x 75 milers and now one 80, and something feels like it’s starting to shift. I feel stronger. Things don’t hurt as much at the end, and I feel like I have more gas in the tank as I finish. I’m really encouraged.
Next week is 85 miles (or 90, what do you think??) and then a taper…and it’s not long now till the big day! Yippee…I am ready to have DONE it and to be running again!