Today I had one of those rides where your flow keeps getting broken up by sh!t that just happens. For starters, I wanted to take a longer ride today; so my goal was to do at least 30 miles of singletrack from my front door, which leaves me just a few options: Hawes to Usery and back. Of course, I could pedal circles at Hawes, but that would get me a lot of vertical; not necessarily a lot of miles unless my knee suddenly decided that the IT band thing is no longer an issue.....fat chance. The weather was a bit warm, 95 degrees; but since equipping my kit with some soliditos I've been able to ward of cramping. I was ready.
The first bit of sh!t that befell me was a stranded roadie when I was taking the bit of pavement on my trek between Hawes and Usery. From the looks of it, he did not have a pump, a flat kit....or anything else a responsible cyclist should have. So I stopped and helped him out. Turns out, this was his first ride on his new shiny road bike. He asked me if I'd ever fixed a flat before....I tried not to laugh. He had his tire completely off the rim and was attempting to put the new tube onto the rim....with the air valve retaining screw...on the inside of the rim....with the tire laying on the side of the road. Again....I tried not to laugh. I just grabbed his sh!t and started fixing the flat, explaining what I was doing and why I was doing it. In a few minutes, he was all patched up and ready to go.
Having fixed sh!t problem #1, I rolled right into sh!t problem #2. I guess that during sh!t problem #1 when my camelback had been on the ground, the owner of sh!t problem #1 had accidentally stepped on my camelback while maneuvering around me trying to see what I was doing to his sh!t. He must have stepped just right on the valve portion of my drink tube with his look cleats, because now my water was leaking out of my camelback at a steady pace. At first I tried blowing air back into the tube to prevent the water from leaking out, but the gash in the tube was large enough to release the air pressure in the system and it went back to leaking....on a 95 degree day, 15 miles from where I started. So I stopped again after a mile and pulled out my leatherman, cut the bad section of tubing out, reapplied the bite valve and I was peddling my way out of sh!t problem #2.....right into sh!t problem #3....I was now low on water, only half way to my goal mileage for the day. I figured that I could detour on the way back...ride some hardball, swing by the house for some liquids and get back on the trail.
However as soon as I had mentally rectified sh!t problem #3...which would begin to be a recurring theme much like the threat of airborne herpes....I was confronted with sh!t problem #4.....my own flat. I've been running the same slime tubes all summer...but I guess the one up front finally gave up after being pin-cushioned for over 800 miles of cholla infested singletrack. It only took me a few moments to change out the tube with a new one...but these little interruptions were starting to wear on my nerves. I started playing mental games with myself as I was peddling away from sh!t problem #4...asking myself what else could go wrong. I guess I could take a bad fall or get bit by a rattler....that would top off the afternoon. Talk about a sh!t scenario compounded by the previous sh!t situations. Alone, in the desert, low on water, out of spare tubes, rattlesnake bite, 15 miles from home. Perfect.
Naturally, by letting this mental sh!t into my brain I became extra cautious and rolled my way back. I made it all the way home with no more sh!t situations to speak of. I refilled on water and rolled out the door to complete my goal of 30 miles of singletrack. Then I got the call ringing from by camelback....the call came from sh!t situation #5. Now....I'm not calling my wife a sh!t situation....I'm calling what she is driving a sh!t situation. When my wife calls with that voice....the panicky voice...I know I gotta drop what I'm doing and fix the sh!t problem otherwise I'm gonna be in....well, you get it.
Turns out, her car alarm would not stop and it had locked her out of disabling it in the parking lot at Safeway. Her sh!t situation #1, my sh!t situation #5. I told her I would be there in a jiffy....I think she expected me to roll up in my car and be there in a few minutes. 15 minutes later, I wheeled up....finding her easily in the parking lot as she was the only one with horn blaring, lights flashing. After pulling a few fuses, I was able to get the thing to shut up. From what I can tell, there was a short somewhere between the radio and the anti-theft device...so by pulling the radio fuse....problem fixed. Good thing we're getting rid of sh!t situation #5 in the next few weeks.
That's a lot of sh!t situations for one ride....the wife was perturbed by her sh!t situation #1....I wasn't feeling any sympathy because it was my sh!t situation #5. The way I see it, no one got hurt, everyone made it home to their TV dinners. Which brings to mind a great saying oft quoted by folks in the mountains having an epic: You don't have to be having fun.....to have fun. This was an easy day, not even coming close to anything resembling an epic...and as long as I never expected it to be perfect by setting that sh!t bar real low, I was going to come out ahead. I never got my 30 miles of singletrack...coming in somewhere at 23 miles singletrack, 7 miles hardball.
32 miles with 1871 ft vertical gained