The bike started feeling “squishy” around mile three and then I was riding the wheel rim. Peeling onto the shoulder, I was getting ready to patch and pump, when I noticed the leak. At the base of the valve stem, the rubber had torn. Very hard to patch and not having an extra tube, I called the pace team. As they soon pulled up in my Tacoma, I tossed it in the bed and went home. My spirit was not deflated and I went on to yard chores.
Only after the requisite Easter Egg dying with visiting nieces and nephew, did I get back to the bike and put a new tube in, rechecking to make sure there were no punctures through the tire. Riding out, it felt solid after mile five. I was under a time constraint so did a 14 mile “out and back”, which was a good first spin.
On the Eastern Shore, it is beyond flat. You could stand on a beer can and see the Western Shore of the Bay. The roads are in good shape and the motorists are comfortable with bikes on the road, which makes you more at ease since every other vehicle is a large SUV or a pickup. The roads radiate from the county seat of Easton (#40 on 2011 Outdoor Life’s Top Small Towns for Sportsmen) towards the towns of Oxford and Saint Michaels. This provides variety of scenery but you can also plan your ride based on wind conditions (id est, do I want it easy on the way out and headwinds coming home, or vice versa)
There are a number of excellent routes that are close by and on the weekend, the roads begin to fill up with weekenders from DC going to their houses and cyclists here for the scenery (and post ride, the local brewery)
Riding up to the garage to put my bike away, I ask myself, “Self, would you have rather shot skeet or go out on a ride?”
“Tough call”, I answered, “as either is an extension of myself and are thus a part of who I am”
I go back to my first love and, even after my initial setback, I answer my question a la Steven Tyler.
I'm Back in the Saddle Again, I'm Back…..