What a wacky ride today. It all started when I opened my trunk to pull my bike out (I’d really like to get a roof rack some day).

I immediately discovered my front tire flat. This is probably the third front flat in as many weeks so I was getting frustrated. Each time I carefully inspected the tire at the location of the hole to find nothing even though the hole seemed to be forming in the same spot each time. I took a look at the rim and discovered the rim tape worn in that area and now think that the tube may have gotten the hole from a spoke hole edge. I had some electrical tape in my trunk so I ran some around the inside of the rim over the existing tape. We’ll see how that goes. Next time I’m at the bike shop I’ll pick up some new rim tape. Remember the two new tubes I bought the other day? I just used one.

After this delay I finally got started and everything went good for the warm up. It was hot again but didn’t seem too bad. The wind was blowing pretty good though which wasn’t cool. After the warm up I had a 1.5 overall endurance ride scheduled with 4×8 intervals. The plan was to ride 8 minutes at 17 mph followed by 8 minutes at 13 mph (15 mph average) and repeat four times. Everything went good until about halfway through my second interval.

As I come around a corner I see a guy on the side of the road with his bike upside down. I ask if he needs anything and he says a pump. I stop to help but after using a CO2, my pump, and having another cyclist stop and use CO2, we were unable to inflate his tire. The other guy that stopped and I think the tube he put in was bad. Even if it was good it wouldn’t have lasted long because his tire sidewall was basically shredded from age. It looked like he hadn’t ridden the bike in a while. I let him borrow my phone to call is girlfriend and then I moved on and finished my second interval.

Not a mile or so later I come around another corner and there’s a guy with his bike on the ground and his front tire in his hand. I ask if he needs help and I here him say something so I stop. Turns out he actually crashed from hitting an edge in the trail and popped his front tube. He’d never changed a flat before and needed help. He had attempted to put the new tube in himself and must have put a hole in it because it wouldn’t inflate using his CO2. I installed my spare tube and inflated it with my CO2 inflator and it worked like a champ. I actually found changing his flat a little bit of a challenge because it was an aero-style rim and I’d never changed one of those. It worked though. His bike was a beautiful Specialized Tarmac that looked brand new. He said the only damage from the crash was a scratch on the brake lever. I guess he was lucky. He offered to pay me for the tube but I refused. Told him to just help the next person he sees. As it was, my second tube was gone. I did take the spare one he had that I couldn’t inflate to see if it could be patched.

After that stop the day was getting late and sunset was fast approaching. I still had about 30 minutes back to my car so I forgot the intervals and just hoofed it at a pretty good pace. The guy with the Tarmac caught up to me (I believe his name was Fernando) and we talked for a minute since we were both heading in the same direction. He then effortlessly pulled away while I was pushing hard at 18 mph.

Pushing hard might be a misnomer. I could have ridden faster if I had shifted to a bigger gear but my cadence would have suffered. I left it where I was and kept a quick cadence while staying close to the edge of spinning out. Which brings up a question. Is it better to stay in a gear where your close to spinning out or do you shift to the next gear? If I shift to the next gear I’ll go above my planned endurance speed if I keep the same cadence. If I stay in the gear I’m in I find I have to do some coasting to let my speed drop so I don’t spin out. Do I use the bigger gear? Do I maintain my cadence? Do I raise my endurance speed of 15 mph? I’m open to suggestions.

Here are the numbers:

Total Time: 1:34:25 (30 minute warm up)
Avg MPH: 14.6 mph (13.7 warm up and 15.5 for the other 64 minutes)
Distance: 23.08 miles

As I was getting ready to post this I got a nice email:

Hi Bryan,

Just a quick note to say thanks for your blog. Its great and in my search for a training plan for a century ride i stumbled across it. Glad i did. Its inspiring to read your story, goals etc. and i will join the same training program today.

There is a scheduled 140km ride in Helsinki, Finland (tour de Helsinki) that i will sign up and ride. So while its a some miles short of the century mile ride, its enough of a goal to begin with.

So, again, many thanks i look forward to reading about your progress and any tips/advice you find.

Gary

That’s awesome. It feels good knowing that I can inspire someone else to get out there and ride. Good luck in your training plan Gary and keep us informed. I’m looking forward to hearing how it goes.