Well this past Saturday, I attempted to ride my first organized ride in 25 years (The Five-0 100k). I fueled up at dinner the night before, had a good light breakfast in the AM, had my gear laid out, bottles chilled etc… I was prepared. I show up to the ride and the weather is gorgeous, sunny, 65 and no humidity and there is a big group of riders. I start out near the back and make my way up through the pack, finally settling in with a group going about 18-20 miles an hour. I figure this is nice and we are making good time to the halfway rest stop (plus, I was a little beat after bridging the gap to catch them). We all stop at the rest stop at mile 25 and take advantage of the awesome spread they have, they went all out with the goodies and drinks and were bending over backwards to make us comfortable.
About 5-10 minutes later, I roll out and get about a quarter of a mile down the road and I hear “BAAAAM!!!!” and I am riding on my rim. It was a blowout on my new rims (yes I was an idiot and put new rims on the night before the ride). I could not figure out how the tube blew since I checked carefully it was not being pinched when I put the tires on, did not see sharp edges in the rim, brakes were not rubbing etc… I chalk it up to one of those things, fix the tire (and have a nice chat with the man whose yard I was stuck in) and get back on the road. By now, I have lost the group and riding solo, I manage to catch a small group and ride with them for another mile and a half when…….”BAM!!!” and I am back on the rim.
This time I am mad, I toss my helmet and curse, knowing I don’t have another tube. I assess the damage and the tire is torn, people are offering to help, but it’s a lost cause and at 26.7 miles in I call the SAG truck bail me out. I was so disappointed, I did not even hang out for the awesome lunch they provided, and instead headed to the shop where I got the tire. It turns out the tire itself was the culprit, it split perfectly where the sidewall meets the tread. Gary at the shop apologizes, and says it’s under warranty and gets my fixed up. I am grateful, but still a little mad, and kind of nervous riding on these tires.
So, I head home, in a bit of a funk, I never imagined my first ride would go this bad after the work I put in. In the two months leading up to the ride, I had gone from not riding a bike in 25 years, weighing 224 pounds (5’11) struggling to do 6 miles. To 209 pounds, being able to ride 50 miles without issue and making nice gains in my fitness. I was so psyched for the ride, and having my wife and son there at the finish; and then to have to call her and tell her don’t bother coming because I had to quit was depressing. However, my wife rallied me back from the edge. She told me why don’t you go back out and ride a little bit. So, I go back out and do another 25 miles to clear my head and get back confidence with the wheels. It’s a pretty chill ride, but I do power my out of shape ass up a hill with some angry fire and get a KOM for it, which was a shocking, but nice surprise.
I have now moved on and I am setting my sites for Martin’s Tour of Richmond and completing a full century. Hopefully, this ride will go a little better!