Saturday, April 6, 2013

A slogging Saturday ride

I wanted to ride a good distance today, but I wasn't really mentally into the idea.  Where the mind doesn't go, the body will not follow.  However, I had to deliver some cookies, which I decided to do on the bike, and that was about 8 miles away, and even before the trip I kept thinking, "Oh, maybe I'll just take the car instead," and also, "Well, I'll just get to the destination and turn around and come home." which would have meant only 16 miles.  Part of my brain was saying to do the big ride that automatically puts 42 miles on the odometer.  So I finally decided that I would just see how I felt after the cookie delivery, see if I wanted to complete the journey to the beach and then how far I wanted to go on the bike path.

The bike journey took a partially new route to get to Venice Boulevard's bike lane today.  I have a route picked out the dumps me on Venice Blvd one block east of where National crosses, but between National and Robertson, especially by Robertson, there is road construction - something that not only blocks the bike lane but also even the sidewalks (I don't do well in swift traffic).  So I went to Google Maps to check out a new possible route that would bypass that nonsense, and I found one that dumps me out onto Venice Blvd. from Bagley - a route that crosses Robertson but also keeps me off of Robertson, which I hate riding.  This new detour took me from Shenandoah Blvd to Cattaraugus, then Cattaraugus west to Bagley, and Bagley to Venice Blvd.  It worked beautifully.

My cookie delivery was in a subdivision of L.A. called Mar Vista, and I Google mapped that as well, using McLaughlin, which turned out to be an established bike route (though no bike lanes or sharrows).  It was a relatively flat ride into the lovely, quiet neighborhood that somehow reminded me of the quietness of my grandfather's neighborhood in Goldsboro, NC.  I suddenly felt as if I weren't even in Los Angeles anymore.  It was just so peaceful and calm.  I think if I ever purchased a house, that would be the type of neighborhood I'd want to live in.

After the cookies were dropped off and I retraced my route back to Venice Blvd, I decided to head for the beach.  Now, I was already feeling tired at this point, a weird tiredness - not just because I've spent so many late nights going through all the episodes of Grey's Anatomy.  No, it was a tiredness where I just wasn't interested in speed and didn't seem to be able to get any speed anyhow.

A bike with a surfboard attachment.
I got to the beach, did my usual run down the bike path to the Venice Pier first, then turned to potentially head up the 6 miles to Temescal Canyon.  However, when I got about 3 miles into it by the Santa Monica Pier, I pulled over for a little rest and to take some water.  That's when I discovered my back tire was not holding air and was under-inflated.  Now, I had just inflated it yesterday to 80 psi, and the tube had only been changed a couple weeks ago. So, I was a little shocked, although it explained why I wasn't getting any speed and why I was feeling extraordinarily tired.  Have a low tire makes riding feel like you are slogging through tar.  I got out my manual air pump and tried to put some air into the tire.  That little thing is a piece of crap.  I'm going to have to get a new, better one. 

I fugured if the leak was slow enough, I could maybe get it pumped up at one of the bike rental places and maybe make it home, so I did stop at a rental place and got it pumped up, but at that point I was still over 11 miles out, and I just prayed to make it home.

I had to stop at work for about an hour, and that was 8 miles from the beach, and the tire was pretty low at that point, and I thought if somehow I could just make it 2 more miles to I. Martin Bicycles, I would have them give me a shot of air so that I could make the last mile home.  Well, those two miles were horrific on that tire.  I felt like I could hardly move the bike, and my speed was only about 8 mph.  Awful.  However, I did make it to I. Martin, and the nice folks there gave the back tire a full supply of air, and I made it home.  Within two hours, however, the tire went completely flat.  Now, these are Bontrager hard case tires.  They're supposed to be built tough.  I took the whole thing apart and once again completely examined the tire inside and out looking for thorns or other things  that could be causing injury to the tube, and for the 2nd time could find no issues at all.  One friend suggested that sometimes a spoke can poke it.  I pulled out the new tube I purchased only two weeks ago and replaced it and pumped up the tire again.  So, here we go again.  This is the fourth tube replacement in the back since I got these darned slicks.  No problems in the front.  The front has an extra thick tube, but I've had two of those in the back and had valve stem tears, so thick or thin in the back, I seem to be screwed.  All I know is that I have a group bike ride tomorrow plus I have to go to work for an hour or so, and I need this bike to be working.

My knees feel completely shot from such a hard slog.

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