So, yesterday I wrote about a project I’m working on, where I will be trying to cycle longer and longer distances over the summer months. At the beginning of the warmer season, I started by hitting 10-kilometre and 20-kilometre milestones, and I’ve been increasing ever since. The details of how I intend to use this training are explained in yesterday’s post (I’ve Got A Plan…), so I won’t get into THAT again.
The truth is, that 40-kilometre trek was accomplished LAST Saturday, with the majority of my treks coming in at the 20 and 30-kilometre totals. The good news is that I’ve already broken a pretty decent milestone for this season, that which is to have cycled for over 500 kilometres!
I’m trying not to be TOO overexcited about this, since it really only takes a little over a dozen outings at 30k to reach this number, but I’ve never really tracked total mileage before and have certainly never pushed myself cardio-wise, as I’ve been doing lately.
But as fate would have it, life rarely cares about one’s plans. Last Tuesday, I left the house fully motivated and fully caffeinated, with the intentions of pushing to reach 50 kilometres. This only made sense as it would be the next milestone for me in my insane summer plans. I left the house early in the afternoon, and set out to get as lost as I could, considering I’m being tracked through GPS.
When I reached about 20 kilometres, I started feeling a consistent thumping, coming from the rear tire. I chanced running whatever may have been ahead of me long enough to watch the rear tire for a moment and noticed it was significantly below pressure. The thump I felt was the valve stem being pushed against the inner surface of the wheel due to low pressure.
I texted my wife to let her know what happened and walked the bicycle for about half a kilometre to local gas station in the hopes of re-inflating my tire. When I got there, I was dismayed to learn the the air compressor required money to activate. Did y’all know you had to pay for air? Because I sure as hell didn’t, and I had no cash on me.
I was lucky enough that one of the employees was kind enough to loan me a dollar so I wouldn’t be stranded. I re-inflated the rear tire and it seemed to be holding, so I continued on. I lost air pressure once again about two kilometres further from home. I had reached 22.24 kilometres. I threw in the towel and asked my wife to come pick me up, which required handling and loading two small children. My wife puts up with a lot of my shit…
I was pretty pissed off as this was the second time I had flattened a tire in recent months. But since it was the rear tire and has all the gears and parts included, I didn’t trust myself to remove it to replace the tube (especially since I royally f$&ked the brakes on my last bike doing it on the front tire). So it was decided that considering the various terrain I cycle on, I should go purchase a new mountain bike.
You wouldn’t think that buying a bike would be difficult, but finding one that wasn’t ridiculously high-priced and suited my size and needs proved to be more difficult than anticipated. I spent all day, last Wednesday, wandering among five different retail locations, with no luck. Yes, you read that right: FIVE! Some locations were out of stock, which it almost seems as though Regina is suddenly ga-ga for bikes, or some didn’t have a frame size to accommodate my height, or the cost was simply too high. A certain popular retail chain that uses a blue and yellow colour scheme only carried bikes that were $798, of all things! And their prices are usually better than most! Yes, I’m cheap!
I had a few more locations that I was able to check last Thursday, and thank the Light I was able to find one at a SportChek location, here in Regina. It had everything I was looking for: mountain bike, proper frame and wheel size, mountings for a water bottle and tire pump and the price was reasonable. Done deal! The staff helped by performing a pre-purchase checklist to ensure the gears, brake and tire inflation were all up to standard before I left the store.
So, having picked up this bike last Thursday, I strapped on my water bottle holder and travel bags and took a spin. The north-bound wind was strong enough that I almost turned back after 3 kilometres, but I stuck it out. Plus, the staff may have SAID they properly inflated the tires but they were slightly under pressure, which caused some drag and made the trek difficult. I had to stop at 30k, but I at least I broke her in!
So there you have it: the new beast I’ll use to kill myself slowly through long-distance cycling! I’ll admit that all the cycling I’ve been doing has made my legs feel better (an important aspect when you have Diabetes), have improved my blood sugars and make me tired enough to actually get SOME sleep at night, despite my current work situation. I’m looking forward to tweeting my ride further, and increasing the distance I travel in the weeks to come. Hopefully with less strong winds pushing against me. ☯