75 degrees in January?

75 degrees in January?

This has been a difficult winter to train. The roads have been a mess and the cold temps were making it difficult to ride outside. I do 98% of my running outdoors in the Winter and only hit the treadmill if there is massive amounts of slush on the roads. Cycling on the other hand has never been one of my favorite things during the cold weather and I usually just hang the bike for the Winter and just suffer once April rolls around.

That was the good old days. This year is a little different! With Cait looking over my shoulder i am required to ride 10 – 15 hours a week with a long ride on Saturday or Sunday. Last month I looked at the calendar I noticed a 4 and a half hour ride at the end of January. No freakin way Im riding the trainer for 4 plus hours again (I have already done several and they suck). So, I decided to book a flight to Florida for some workouts in the sun.

We rolled into Florida Thursday night and got settled in at Kelly’s parents place. We even took Ali along for the trip. Because we arrived late Thursday we hung out and prepped for Fridays workouts.

Friday AM was a swim workout. The local YMCA has a heated outdoor pool. This was new for me, if I swim outside it is in some type of pond, lake or ocean. The outside temp was in the 60’s and the water was close to 80. It was warm, but well worth the experience. After the swim I had my running gear with me and headed out for a nice flat 11 mile run. The weather was perfect, It was close to 70 and a little humid. After a quick shower we took Ali to Busch Gardens to see the animals and ride the rides. Kelly and I went on SheiKra which is a sick roller coaster with a 200 foot 90 degree drop that has you doing over 70mph.  It was one smooth ride. http://www.buschgardens.com/Bgt/Explore/Rides.aspx?id=597

Saturday morning it was time for the long ride. I needed to get 4.5 hours, so I headed from New Port Richey and headed South to St. Petersburg. From St. Pete my plan was to head North to Clearwater Beach and catch some rays. All in all the first 3 hours and 45 minutes went great. Then I could feel the bike was starting to handle slightly weird. Oh Sh!t, my rear tire is going soft. These are the moments that you have to deal while training, so race day situations aren’t such a big deal.

Before I go any further, lets talk about my bike. This bike is one of my early Treks that I shipped to Florida about 8 years ago (the bike might be around 15 years old). For me it is considered a antique. This was an awesome bike in its day. It is a Trek 5500 OCLV Carbon with Dura Ace 8-speed (yes, vintage 8-speed).

Today I look at the bike and I just laugh. It is freakin ugly! Several things that are on it make me laugh also. Check out the vintage Syntace Aerobars in White. No tape, no bar ends.

I busted a water cage and forgot to bring a new one, so my bottle rattles the whole time you ride. Although it is a soothing sound.

Back to the flat: I stop the bike and I know I have a spare tubular (sewup) in my bag. A tubular is a special type of tire that is glued to the rim. There is no tube to change. I basically have to tear the tire off the rim and put the new one on and hope that it doesn’t roll off the rim on a sharp corner. A tubular needs to be glued to the rim and usually sits overnight, so the glue will dry. I have flatted before and I usually just ride it without the glue and just cross my fingers that I don’t roll it off on a corner. Removing the tire can be a chore. Couple things in my favor: It’s hot out and the glue is slightly dried out and Im able to tear it off the old rim without having to cut the tire. I pull the new tire out of my bag and start putting it on the rim. I get it about halfway and notice that It needs to be stretched out. No sweat, I stand on one end of it and pull up on the other end. I place it on the rim and boy does it seem to be very small. I yank it off and I read the label. IT IS THE WRONG SIZE. It was an old tubular from my old Zipp bike that had 650 wheels (26” instead of the 700’s that are on this bike).

Well, plan B:
I put the old tire back on and figure that I can fill it and see if it will hold air long enough to get me to a bike shop. I grab my CO2 gun and cartridge and start to fill the tire up. As I turn the cartridge I am getting no air. I yank the cartridge off and see that it was already used. I search the bag and find another one. I twist it on and the gun breaks. The clip on the head snapped and the whole CO2 cartridge goes everywhere except into the tire.

I stop the next guy I see on a bike and ask him for a spare CO2 cartridge. He didn’t have one but he said that there was a bike shop just around the corner. I walk over to what might be a bike shop. It looked more like a Bait Shop or some type of antique shop, could have even been a flea market. I find the guy who runs the place and ask him if he has a tubular. He says “I haven’t seen one of those in over 10 years”. So, I asked about buying more CO2’s. He doesn’t have the screw on type which is the only type my busted gun will accept. I then ask him if he has the other style gun. he looks through a pile of rubble and yanks out this dusty old kit that had to be over 10 years old.

I buy it. The one good thing about this kit is that it had a adaptor that I could screw on the presta valve and use the air at a gas station. He fills the tire for me with his compressor and off I go. I get a few miles out of it and I can fell the bike starting to slide sideways in the rear as I corner. I stop at a gas station and fill it and continue on. I make it a few more miles and It again goes low. I have about 10 miles to go and I have now decided to just ride the flat the rest of the way. Im not even gonna say that this could happen at Placid, because it did happen to me at Placid in 2008 and I made a pact that I will be back and that I would be more prepared. Well, I wasn’t prepared today and this is just another hard lesson learned. The good news is that I still got my 4.5 hour ride in and still got over 80 miles in even though the last 45 minutes was ridiculous and I wasn’t able to keep a decent pace. All in all I was Feelin’ Way Too Damn Good – Nickelback

I don’t think this tire would have made it another mile. It was starting to come apart. My spokes were all coming loose from riding the flat for 10-15 miles. This wheel is pretty smoked.