Shit Happens / Twice A Day

Two mechanical failures: one right at the start of the week and one right at the end. Shit happens and you (learn to) deal with it. That’s another lesson I learned through experience, both on LCFN and Ride2Cure.

There was the time I wrecked my rear derailleurs in the dark on the Fenwick Muir when I ran over some discarded cable ties and they got caught in the works, causing stuff to bend that wasn’t meant to bend: I was doing about 25mph at the time. With four miles to go and the rain slanting down and me walking, a bloke driving a pickup truck stopped and gave me a lift back into Stewarton. I still remember that night like it was yesterday. Then there was that harum scarum stage on Ride2Cure where I nearly ran out of inner tubes because each time I fixed the original puncture, the new tube blew. Paul got hold of a bike shop 20 miles up the road and we put just enough air in the remaining tube to limp the bike into town.

Shit happens: read the book, watched the film, got the box set and bought the tee shirt.

I mention all of this because punctures do my head in, and on Monday I got one when I shouldn’t have. It was a tactical decision by Neil, my bike man up at Fast Rider Cycles, and myself to ditch the Tannus solid tyres and replace them with their so-called Tannus Armour inserts. These are basically big foam inserts that sit inside the tyre wall on top of the inner tube. Anyway, on Monday, six miles from HQ, I thought “the steering feels a bit strange” as I went round this corner, then I felt the all too familiar thump, thump, thump as the valve hit the ground on each revolution of the wheel. But I remembered from reading the marketing blurb that you’re supposed to be able to ride these things flat for a few miles so I thought “fuck it, I’m just gonna ride this home and fix it back at base”. So I did.

The thing that really annoyed me mind you, wasn’t so much the puncture as the fact that I had to cut the ride short. I’m on a crusade to smash a load of consecutive 250 mile weeks straight from the off, and the tariff for that is 36 miles a day. Because I had to cut it short, that left me playing catch up the next day: not massively, but enough to get under my skin. Three 40 miles day in a row sorted that out, but the leg reaction was such that when I went out on Friday, my wee leggies went on strike. But it’s no big deal: you get days like that and push on regardless: you know, instinctively and from experience, that there are better days just around the corner.

The second whoopsie happened this morning….

I love my Hammerhead Karoo. Anyone out there reading this who’s still using a Garmin should take note: the Karoo isn’t tagged the Garmin Killer for nothing. But this morning, 18 miles into the ride on single track country lanes, the Karoo fell off its mounting. At first I thought it had just come loose (which should never happen anyway) but as I caught it just as it was about to bounce off the handlebar mount, I realised that the foot mount had sheared off: plastic fatigue.

Anyway, to give Hammerhead their due, I logged a support call at 1pm, along with evidencial photos, and by half two I’d been allocated a code to get a replacement free of charge in the online store. Did I order one? No, I ordered two on the basis that if this ever happens again, I’ll have a spare while the replacement is in transit.

Enough of that, onto the real storyline: those 250 mile weeks. It was a calculated risk to take on a 250 mile in the very first week back on the bike. Day one itself was a 40 miler to see my physio at Prestwick: she’s been sorting the after effects of the crash at Jerilderie on stage 11 of Ride2Cure. She does have a Tuesday practice in Stewarton but I elected to see her along the coast just so I had the justification to get the new journey off on the right footing. Of course, the next day my legs were a little bit jaded. But you ride through it, because you know you can.

There was a blog back in LCFN, which I haven’t yet found, in which I likened riding multiple consecutive 200 mile weeks to switching from training once a day to twice a day back in the days when I was a runner. The tiredness of that period, thirty five years ago, never left me, not that the tiredness stayed with me – it didn’t – it was the memory of dealing with it that stayed the course. I just remember that there came a point when my body finally adjusted to the extra workload, and it was like flicking a light switch. All of my PB’s came after making that switch, and it was the best thing I ever did as a runner.

That episode was the very reason I decided to come back on 250’s, because I knew there would come a point when my legs just turned round and said “it’s okay, wee man, we’ve got your back”. That time is now. I’ve made the adjustment. So now it’s just a case of how many of these I can bang in before work, holidays or whatever else disrupts the flow. We’re at five and counting. The coming week will be six, and six was the most in five years of LCFN. But I don’t want six. I want seven, eight, nine…

But there’s a holiday in there somewhere and that will throw up its own challenges. Watch this space.

The bottom line is that I’ve come out of the traps faster than Firpits Bonzo in the 8:53 at Poole, and for that I’m thankful. I’ve got this covered, and I know it. Barring something something exceptional out of left field, such as Jane and I spending six weeks next year touring Australia and New Zealand, this gig could be done and dusted in a little over two years. Last time out, I scheduled four. But back then my legs had forgotten about the time I started running twice a day.

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