The Edgar Stiles Memorial Ride
Today got off to an inauspicious beginning when I woke up with a pounding sinus headache. Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash memorialized the Sunday morning headache years ago with the utterly fantastic “Sunday Morning Coming Down.” Now of course, Kristofferson was writing about a killer hangover, but the immortal opening line of “Well I woke up Sunday morning with no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt,” was imminently applicable nonetheless.
With such a painful start to the day, it didn’t seem likely that I’d get out on the bike today despite the gorgeous weather, which was annoying me greatly since I’ve only been able to get out once this week thanks to work commitments. It seems my annoyance was a more powerful force than the allergens that were troubling my swollen sinuses, (though perhaps the meds and the Netti pot had something to do with it too) because by 11:00 or so I was feeling better and set out for what I hoped would be a long, easy going ride.
(Long digression time)…As per my usual, I “fueled up” for my ride with a banana and a healthy amount of water, with another 24 ounces of water toted along in my bottle. I always enjoy talking to people who ride, run , etc, because it doesn’t take long before the topic turns to what kind of “fuel” do you use during you ride. Well see, this is where I have an advantage on all of them, because I have spent years developing an energy storage and delivery system which is second to none. I call it the SPARE TIRE system (Self-contained, Portable Activity Released Energy Trapped In Real Excess), or, for those of you in the South, the BEER GUT (Bountiful Excess Energy Reserve, Glucose Utilization Tact).
Pros to this system: Accessibility, Cheapness, Environmentally friendly (no packaging to discard). Added bonus, you are drought and famine resistant.
Cons: People assuming you are pleasant and jolly, children asking to use you as a bouncy house, you are easy prey for zombies (see Zombieland rule # 1), and the eventual possibility of staff at bike shop politely suggesting you put down the high performance athletic gear and try something from their line of judicial robes or moo moos.
The one flaw in my system is nature, which uses “old age” to accelerate SPARE TIRE production to potential unpleasant levels. I have decided that these potential cons outweigh (pun intended) any of these benefits (though being famine and drought proof is enticing) and will work down my fuel system and investigate other possible mid-ride energy sources. Any suggestions?
(End of long digression)
Anyway, today’s ride was going well. Really, really well. Gorgeous weather, not too much wind, not too cold, and I was feeling great from the start. I had gotten through about 15 miles in just under and hour an was planning on stretching out for at least another hour or so, bringing the ride to at least 30 miles. I had gotten to the outer edge of where I was planning to ride today (right around the McDonalds/Timber Creek High area of Avalon), which is just about as far away from my house that I was going to be today. It’s at this point where things, as the cliche goes, took a turn for the worse.
After crossing back over AP Blvd and hitting the bike lane, I looked down just in time to see my front tire entering a veritable minefield of shattered glass. Oh joy. (Now, if you want to think in terms of the title of my post, this would be the point in Day 5 of the TV show 24 when CTU was attacked with nerve gas.) I hoped that the tire had escaped damage and continued for a few more seconds (much like poor Edgar thought he could reach the sealed “safe area” of CTU in time), before I heard the tell tale “frump frump frump” sound of a rapidly deflating bike tire (aaaaaand RIP bike ride/Edgar, cue up the silent clock).
I was annoyed again (common theme today I guess) and audibly cursing the presumed irresponsible teen who was out drinking and smashing beer bottles last night instead of sitting at home listening to indie rock like most sane people), but then I remembered that I always carry a mini pump and patch kit when I go out riding. Um, that is until I climbed off the bike and realized that I took the patch kit out of my bag the other day when I cleaned it out. “Awwww Fudge” I said (what, you don’t believe me?)
So here I am, on the sidewalk, in full biking gear, saying fudge a lot, when a car that had just pulled out of the high school (where they hold a local church service) slowed, downed their window, and appeared to be coming to my aid. Oh, kind and exemplary follower of Jesus, coming to aid a stranger in need and redeeming AP area churchgoers in my mind for leaving a woman I came across a few Sundays ago stranded on the sidewalk only a few miles from this very spot!
I turned to face my middle aged savior in a laudably fuel efficient yet humble domestic vehicle (no conspicuous consumption for the worthy Samaritan, no sir!) just in time to hear them say “You know, that flat tire is god’s punishment for you ignoring his day and his church. Can I call somebody for you?”
“No thank you, I’ve got a phone with me.” (Meanwhile, in my brain: “Wait, what the hell did he just say?”) At this point I politely invited my formerly worthy Samaritan – hereafter referred to as “judgmental hypocrite” – to go make some fudge with himself before he drove off. For the record, you’re 0 for 2 in the “help thy neighbor/judge not lest ye be judged” testing Avalonians.
Potential savior departed, I called home, sure in the knowledge that my wife would be able to swing by and bring the necessary repair kit and allow me to salvage this so far glorious ride. Aaaaaand no, Mrs. Lo had gone to mall with her mom and the kids. (Ok, maybe this really is god’s revenge, I thought for a second, until rational JLo piped up: Oh sure, the almighty diety has nothing better to do than to send some kids out drinking and driving and smashing bottles solely for the purpose of punishing cyclists in AP for not showing up at church. Thanks rational, JLo!)
By now my way forward is clear, a fairly lengthy walk to the house in bike shorts and shoes, pushing my distressed Trek. Nothing too taxing, but there’s a reason people don’t walk around in bike shorts and shoes for too long (hellllooooo baby powder). By the time I got back home and had the ability to fix my tire, the moment was passed, so I called it a day with a 15 mile ride and about a 6 mile annoyed walk to finish it off.
The lesson here is two fold: I’m an idiot and god evidently hates cyclists (or so I’m told). Now back to my original question: any suggestions for exercise fuels for longer rides/runs? Right now I usually max out my weekend rides at 30 miles or so, but would like to stretch out to the 50 mile range by summer.