Well, it could have been worse….
Today’s ride began in the cool air of Topeka, Kansas, with the 7:30 group (ie. later group). Unlike the first week of the tour, lately I have been starting with the 7 a.m. riders, because I would get my normal one to two flats per day, and with the delay in changing the innertube, I needed the additional time to stay in the mass of riders. But since we were no longer riding along the shoulder of the freeways, the entire group had been experiencing fewer flat tires. So off I went, confident that – along with everyone else – my flat tire days were (mostly) behind me.
And I’m sure you know what happened next.
About 40 minutes in, still within the city of Topeka, flat number one. Swapped it out, but, so began my day of bringing up the rear. The next 60 miles actually went okay, but then the cycling gods decided to have some fun. Just after passing into Missouri, flat number 2 happens. I swap it out, and pump it up with the small hand pump I carry on the bike. Not really designed to fill a tire to its full operational PSI, it will fill a tire to the point you can ride to the next SAG and use a larger pump to top it off. So I get rolling again, and a bit later one of the SAG vans rolls past, and I signal I need assistance. I get the larger pump out of the van, pump the tire up, and BANG. The tube blows. So I replace the tube again. And pump it up. BANG. At this point, one of the mechanics who’d been riding his bike comes by and stops to help. He puts in a new tube, and begins pumping it up. BANG. (So how many tubes are we at for the day? I don’t know – I can’t keep track.) The mechanic finally sees that the TIRE has a rip in the sidewall, and the tube is getting pinched there as it inflates. He gets a new TIRE and tube, gets it all installed, and – amazingly – it’s holding air and usable. We get the wheel installed back on the bike, and I saddle up and travel on down the road. Of course I’m waaaaay past DFL (Dead Frickin’ Last) at this point, but the saving grace is I get to the hotel just as another group of riders roll in (one of which had a mechanical issue as well).
Dinner was on our own this evening, and my new best friend Deano bought myself and a few others dinner at a BBQ joint right next to the hotel. Thanks Deano!!
Tomorrow we ride to Chillicothe, Missouri.