Saturday, April 24, 2010


After a great 50K ride yesterday, I headed out again just after lunch today to get in some more miles ahead of the rain coming in the next couple of days. Tentatively I was looking at doing an easy 40K (to make it a clean 100mi for the week), but I left the option open to go a bit longer if I felt good. The skies were overcast and temperatures great, so the conditions were quite comfortable from the start.

When I got out the developed areas and into the rural roads, however, the easterly winds were quite strong (~35km/h steady with ~45km/h gusts) so it was a bit of a fight. Fortunately, as I was heading east to start with this wasn't an entirely bad thing as the legs were still fresh and the tailwinds would likely help to offset the tired legs on the way back. Once I made the turn north, the crosswinds were a bit annoying but they were a heck of a lot better than fighting off the headwinds.

Once I got to King Road the original plan was to head east again to Keele and then loop around to get the 40K I had planned. Despite the winds, I was still feeling pretty good so I elected to plot out a different path and add some more distance. I could have just repeated yesterday's ride, however I felt like mixing in a few more hills so I pulled up the map on my Garmin and planned an alternative route continuing on to 16th, across the highway and then back south via Weston Road (which has a number of rolling hills vs. the long downhill grade on Jane). It added a bit more difficulty to the mix as well as some variation on the scenery I ride past.

With the plan finalized, I headed up the long climb along Jane and made my way up the long climb to the 16th sideroad. I then carefully made the left and took the tree lined rolling hills over to Weston Road. Once I got to the intersection, I pulled over and took a quick break before beginning my trip back down Weston. At this point the majority of the climb was complete, and aside from a few rolling hills on the way back I'd be able to log some quick splits as I descended back towards my place.

Unfortunately, once I got going at hit the first downhill segment (just before a decent climb) I heard a rumbling noise from the rear end of the bike. I promptly pulled over and dismounted, only to see a small hole at the top of the tire and a quiet hissing noise as air escaped. It was a pretty slow leak and the tire was still pretty hard, however I was too far away from home to attempt to ride through it. While I did have a spare tube and was thinking about getting some practice changing it out, the tire was obviously damaged and as I didn't have a replacement for that there wasn't much point. As such, I called it a day and took out the phone to arrange for a pickup.

The upside is that I managed to get the most difficult components of the ride in, so I likely got a good percentage of the intended training effect. The portion of the ride that I did do was pretty much all either uphill or into a headwind, and the portion that I missed was mostly downhill or with a tailwind so I didn't lose too much work. Unfortunately, that means that my average speed was pretty crappy, but getting the heavy work in is the important part ;)

This was the first time I've had a flat in the field so I don't really have a lot of experience with this sort of thing. Having a spare tire would have been helpful, but unlike tubes they're pretty big and heavy so I'm not sure where I'd put one at this point. Either way, I've never actually changed a tube/tire myself as of yet so I likely would have made a mess of it even if I'd attempted it ;) Naturally, the only way to learn is to give it a try at some point so I'm thinking of just picking up a tire and trying to replace it on my own rather than bring it into the shop like I normally do. This was bound to happen at some point, and while there wasn't much I could do this time around I'd like to have some experience making the switch in case this happens again.

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