As I type this I’m quite far from home, and pushing it out on my Wahoo Kikr. Those of you who follow me on strava know where I am, I look forward to sharing my experiences of this far away land…
I’m in Richmond. It’s cloudy, but not terribly so…perhaps it’s my northern roots speaking, but I love the glum weather. I had thought before this ride, that I would ride towards Fredericksburg, VA, once I hit Richmond. Here I was! My Wahoo bike computer wouldn’t find Fredericksburg for me, so I opted for something closer – Ashland, VA. Once I’d arrived I’d plot the next course to Fredericksburg, or stop when I hit 100 miles. Seemed legit. So, with renewed vigor, I set out for Ashland. The ride was pretty unusual, I got held up for a moment by a passing train, but otherwise it was my bike and I on some beautiful country road.
There was the occasional drizzle, which I appreciated as it served to cool me down and rinse my bike, which was slowly getting a new coat of grime. About a mile outside of Ashland, I reset my GPS to take me towards Fredericksburg, which was now available. Ashland, Virginia is a small town, and although beautiful, you’d miss it if you blinked.
With Ashland far behind me, I cruised north on a straight road with hill after rolling hill – not cool!! Around mile 90 I heard the dreaded “HISSSSS” that every cyclist hates and felt the familiar bump of a flat rear tire. Shit. Good news, I carry a spare with me. Bad news, I only carry one spare with me. Within 10 minutes my tire is fixed up and I continue northward. “I’ll stop at a shop in Richmond and get another spare” I thought, and continued riding.
My odometer hits 100 near Fort A. P. Hill, Virginia. As my goal for the day is 200 miles, I see no reason to continue, and turn around – this time setting my GPS to Ashland direct. The Wahoo takes me through a beautiful countryside, partially farmland, partially dense hilly woods only interrupted by the occasional trickling stream. It was on this stretch back to Ashland that it started to rain on me, not just a light drizzle either – this was heavy, dense rain brought on by a passing storm. As I rode through it, I recall I was soaked to the bone, and the raindrops hitting my bare skin hurt as I decended the nooks and crannies of the land.
I made it back to Ashland without incident, and I’m not ashamed to say I stopped for an ice cream cone – I needed something other than protein bars and GU pouches. Again cruising away from Ashland, I was set on Richmond. My recently changed tube gave me a flase sense of security, and once I made it to Richmond I was an idiot and blew RIGHT THROUGH IT.
My mistake bore fruit ten miles later, when my recently changed tune went flat. Not cool!! As I pulled over to pull the tire off my bike and investigate, another cyclist saw me and pulled over. I am so thankful that the cycling community is so awesome, as not only one person stopped to help me, but FIVE. A group of touring cyclists pulled over in. Addition to the one, and fronted me a patch for my tube. As a group, we patched my tube, pumped it up, and watched the patch to ensure it held. It did, and we were all on our way. I thanked everyone profusely, and shot southward.
As I reached the 40 mile marker on the capital trail, I again felt the bump that comes with a flat tire. Damn it! Good news was, I was at a good spot with bathrooms, shelter, and a gas station nearby. Bad news was, I had another flat and no spares. I pulled all the stops on this one, C02, another patch, even some electrical tape, but it was still no good. The 4 touring cyclists I met from earlier eventually found me stranded AGAIN.
I can’t stress how thankful I am for these gents. Not only did they stop to help me again, they STAYED with me for TWO HOURS, trying to get my tire inflated. We tried electrical tape, more patches – you name it. Nothing worked. The leak was right near the stem of the tube – a fatal place if there was one. “Mike man, I wish me could stay and help, but we need to get to Charles City by nightfall, and it’s getting dark.” that I understood, and bid them farewell.
Seeing how my bike pulled away from them earlier, my new friends let me borrow their hand pump, and return it when I saw them on the trail as I headed home. That pump became my salvation. After my new friends left, I spent another couple hours attempting to get the damn tube to hold air – to no avail. As a last ditch effort I bought a tube of rubber cement from the gas station to try and plug the hole. The 30 minutes that the rubber cement takes to dry feels like Forever.
To my dismay, the patch didn’t work
As the daylight was going away, and I had to get home, I was forced too cancel early.
The good news is, that I was able to return the hand pump.. My new touring friends had mentioned they wanted a burger in Charles City, so I asked my Uber to stop at The Courthouse Grille in that town and much to my surprise, they were there! With the pump back with its rightful owner, I hopped back into my uber and started the trip home.
Ride total – 170.8 miles
Time in saddle – 00:10:56
One for the books. Keep riding safely all!
“Earn Your Tailwind”