Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Recon missions

Bikewise, Monday turned out to be completely different than what I'd hoped for, but it still turned out to be a success.

Regina and I set out on the Great Western Trail with the intention of reaching Cumming and evaluating our physical state there (she was only a few days removed from a century ride). Instead, we made it about three miles from Waterworks Park before my back tire went flat.

At least we had nice weather for the walk of shame back ... and that gave us plenty of time to brew a plan to salvage our afternoon: investigate the horrific-sounding hill on the Des Moines-to-Knoxville day of RAGBRAI.

We're leisure riders, not competitive; we like our trails flat and our winds mild. But what scared us — and probably many other people — was that Des Moines planned to put ambulances at the bottom of this hill in clear anticipation of wipeouts.

From a few intersections away, we could see the incline, and the sign that warned of a blind curve and demanded that we reduce our speed. We crept up to the top, sailed down to the bottom and came to a unanimous verdict there: We will survive.

No doubt it's a steep hill, and neither of us looked forward to climbing it. Fortunately, it did look like the descent would be worth it, rather than the cruel joke of a death spiral after all the effort it took to scale this mountain.

Sometimes knowing makes things worse (vaccinations), but this time, knowing might make it a little bit better.

With that mission accomplished, the next stop was to the bike doctor: our friend Cory. It was the second time I'd sat up close to watch the tire-changing process, but the first time I'd begun thinking "maybe I can do this myself."

Cory and other bike-savvy friends assure us bike n00bs that they'll take care of our mechanical issues ... but still, next time I haven't spent all afternoon learning lessons and don't have time constraints, I ought to take him up on the offer to walk me through doing it myself.

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