I had some great plans this weekend and I was excited. I posted a pic on Dailymile of the five-day forecast and the great weather we were going to have. It made for a great opportunity to get out and work up a sweat. Then, on Saturday, I was given a dose of reality as I violated one of those unwritten rules every dude should know. I got caught without a rubber.

Sorry about that but I just couldn’t resist that post title. The rubber I’m referring to is, of course, a tube for my road bike. The weather this weekend has been perfect here in North Florida and I was super excited about a nice two-hour early morning ride on Saturday. Fate, on the other hand, had different plans.

I got up, went through my whole morning routine of getting kitted up, drinking 4 oz of water mixed with 4 oz of juice, and eating half a banana. I even had about half a cup of coffee. What was even better was that I was going to be able to ride without tights and arm warmers. That alone had me totally jacked to ride. Ah, ignorance is bliss.

Once down in the garage I immediately noticed my back tire was flat. If I was going to have one I’d rather it be now than out on the road so I set about changing it. I had one spare tube in my seat bag so I pulled it out and quickly swapped it out with the bad one. Before putting the new one in, an inspection of the tire revealed the culprit-a piece of needle sharp metal about a cm long was sticking through the tire. I almost think I may have picked it up just before pulling into the garage the previous morning. Anyway, it’s a good reminder to inspect your tire before putting that new tube in (Tip #5 in repairing a flat bicycle tire).

Once I had the tube in I noticed an immediate problem. The valve stem was really short and was barely sticking out. The last time I bought a tube I must not have paid attention to the valve stem length. With me having a deep-v rim cross-section, I need a long valve stem length in order to be able to attach a pump to inflate the tube. To make matters worse – I didn’t have another tube.

To say I was pissed was an understatement. I was really looking forward to riding that morning but now I was screwed. The local bike shops wouldn’t open for another two hours so I’d have to wait until then to get a tube. Yes, I could have patched the tube with a hole in it but I didn’t want to start a ride on a patched tube. I’ll limp home on a patched tube but didn’t want to have to worry about it for an entire ride. I called it quits shortly after that.

So, take that as a lesson. Don’t get caught without a rubber. I went to the LBS on Saturday and picked up four.

I managed to ride this morning for 20.32 miles in 1h:20m:40s. That put my avg speed at 15.1 mph which is huge for me. I’d been flirting with that pace for a while and finally hit it today despite struggling with the wind the last five miles or so.

PhotoC: proteinbiochemist