Sunday, 1 November 2009

What an eventful morning.

So I managed to get up at 6.15 this morning even though I was up late (by my standards anyway!), and after downing 4 bottles of Stella (which is verging on binge drinking by my standards!). It was dark so I couldn't see how bad the weather was, although I could tell by the windows it had been raining, however, by the time I'd got myself ready and stepped outside it seemed a bit lame to wimp out because of some rain.

Plan was to attempt a new route - To Warwick, then to Stratford then back home, 48 miles approx, however, within 5 minutes the rain was really lashing down and I was having 2nd thoughts - not only about the new route, but I was seriously considering turning round and going home. But I kept pedalling whilst I wrestled with my conscience. Yes the weather was crap, but giving up seemed so lame. Especially as today is Dad's birthday and he would have been 70 today, and the reason I'm doing this is in his memory, so I carried on. Then, after about 3 miles I started to get a severe pain in my left eye - I'd painted my face for a halloween party and I guess I must have missed some makeup when I washed it off last night, and as the water ran down my face it was irritating my eye. I'd wipe it dry with my glove but within minutes it started stinging again. This went on for miles, and although it took my mind off the fact I was soaked to the skin and the wind was getting stronger, I was beginning to worry, did I want to go blind in the middle of nowhere? (OK, a bit dramatic I grant you, but I do have a bit of the drama queen about me!). So I decided to change my plans, save the new route for a later day, instead turn off at Hatton and "just" to do the usual 30 mile route.

About now (16 miles in) the weather eased and I stopped to have my mid-ride snack, which is strongly recommended by the "experts" I've consulted online (when I say consulted, what I mean is "googled"), trouble is, the rain had soaked through my rucksack and my malt loaf and doughnut were a bit on the damp side, plus I was so wet I could wring water out of my gloves, and, after standing still for 5 minutes I was feeling really cold. Will have to work out how to snack whilst on the move, I can't be stopping every hour when I need to do 100 miles a day.

Anyway, back in the saddle I soon warmed up again, and, despite the continuing heavy rain and huge amounts of standing water in the winding country lanes, everything was now fine. Until the 26 mile mark, I'd just started the last uphill bit of any note, before the nice ride back home, when I had a blowout on the back wheel (which is the worst one to change by the way) - and I do mean blowout. Big bang and instant flat, I checked the road to see what had casued it and there was a few strips of crappy old plastic, I could not tell what it was from, and it didn't seem that jagged, but I must have just been unlucky.

Anyway, there was a petrol station less than 100 yards away, so I thought I'd try and see if I could fix it - I wasn't even sure if I had a repair kit with me. Fortunately I had, and luckily the bike has quick release "thingys" on the wheels, so I managed to fix it, pumped the tyre back up and fitted it all back together. Then I spun it to check it was straight and I noticed it was catching on the brake pads, the blowout had split the tyre, and the inner tube was pushing it out like a mini egg. After a brief moment to utter a few curses, I then thought that if I unclipped the back brakes it wouldn't catch and I could make it home. It sort of worked, not perfect but I just wanted to get home at this stage, I was really wet, really cold, and shivering like mad, so I repacked my rucksack, wrung my gloves out again, and got back on the saddle. 50 metres later it blew again, and I was now officially stranded just outside of Shirley, with 3 choices 1. Phone a taxi - No, I'm too tight, and didn't have a taxi number anyway. 2. Push it home - No, too far, and I was far too wet - plus, and I'd forget to mention this earlier, my wet shorts had started to chafe in a couple of places, and it hurt to walk (but not to cycle strangely), which leaves option 3, phone home and ask Sharon (my wife) to pick me up. Of course being the wonderful woman she is (honest, she's not standing over my shoulder as I type this!) she agreed, but would have to get the kids dressed and then come and get me, so half an hour later I was in the car and finally on the way home. I peeled my wet clothes off and jumped in the shower, and Sharon peeled my wet clothes off the floor and put them in the washing machine. About an hour later we discovered that my MP3 player was still in my shirt pocket, so that had been through the quickwash cycle too - amazingly it still works (maybe it's not amazing, I'm ignorant of how this new technology actually works, but I've had phones that have stopped working after getting slightly wet, let alone being put in the washing machine). So, all in all, a fairly eventful morning.

No comments:

Post a Comment