After my long solo 80-mile bike ride, I ran an hour the next day and then on day three, rode 50 miles home from Lakeville, CT in a mix of sun and rain. I was just under 4 miles from home and I was thinking about how proud I was of all that I had accomplished. I was so close to home, I could smell it!
And then…something didn’t sound right on my bike. At first I thought it was just the pavement. Unless you hear a sound that mimics a gunshot, you never want to admit that you got a flat! But, you never want to ride too long on a flat or you could damage your rims.
Crap! I had a flat on my rear tire (the harder one to change). I was less than 4 miles from home, it was raining, I was pretty tired and it was literally the busiest section of route 4 in Farmington. For those who live in the area, this is the part that is always backed up to the entrance of 84, almost all times of the day.
I pulled over as soon as it was safe and thought about what to do next. I knew I could change it. But, I also knew that it was late, it was raining and I was tired. Leland was not home, so I called Janice (my dear friend and business partner). I caught her at home (which was in and of itself a miracle, I found out later) and she jumped in her car to rescue me. In the meantime, I started to change the flat. All went well until I started to inflate the tire. For some reason, my cartridge jammed and I couldn’t get the tire to inflate. I was still proud of myself for being able to change the flat. As I tell my athletes all the time, it’s empowering to be able to take care of your bike and not feel so helpless.
The flat, the rain and the long 3 days, did not dampen my spirits. Training is about getting through the tough situations, seeing how you’ll react, and finding the strength to keep going. I learned so much about myself today and that was worth the price of a few new inner tubes.