Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The "Biscuit" In A Bathroom Stall.

Yesterday, I did my first long ride in Florida.  I always love them since the pancake flat profile and comparatively smooth roads make it easy to just have fun, clear your head, and (honestly) not work too hard while spending a lot of time at a high speed and cadence.  While I love the charge I get from an intense hill or trainer session, this low intensity ride scratches a different itch.  One can never replace the other.  I'm always glad I get to come down here and log these miles.  It's where I learned to ride, it's my comfort zone, and always feels a bit like a "reset" button.    During my time in Florida, my cadence always goes sky high and I acclimate to spending 99% of the time in aero.  But I am equally glad to leave and go find bigger challenges with hills and road surfaces later in the year.
Not looking so fantastic.  New tires are on order.

At the start of yesterday's ride, I happened to check my rear tire.  I realized that it was totally wasted.  It was squared off, thin, and sporting cuts every few inches.  I recalled the bike shop guys mentioning that the tires didn't have much life when I got the bike.  That was June and since then the tire has progressed to looking DONE, even to my untrained eyes.  I scrapped my plan for riding along the ocean and decided to do the Tour De Wellyworld, which would greatly reduce the walk home should the tire fail.  The ride went through a number of circular subdivisions and looped back on itself 5 or 6 times.  The map looked like a hyperactive dreidel and a drunken mouse threw a party.  How else does one log over 50 miles in a three square mile area?

There was a 50% chance of rain, which in Florida means that there is a 100% chance it will rain 50% of the time.  This was only the second time I have been on this bike in the rain.  The first time led to the crash in June.  I found out the hard way then how slick my tires were when wet, and the fact that I had noticed how bad the tires were before the ride didn't help.  I nearly had a panic attack.  Initially, I pulled over and contemplated going home but I was on the far side of town and decided to suck it up for a little while in the hopes that it would pass.  It did and another brewed up in minutes.  The result was that almost the whole ride was on wet roads and about half was in actually rain.  The negotiations going on in my head could have gotten me a job as a hostage negotiator, but I won.  I stayed out there for 3:15 and got my job done.  I even relaxed quite a bit by the end.
Found a stall big enough for both of us!

Another thing about Florida is that bikes are stolen all the time.  Whereas in Texas, you might prop your bike outside the gas station and run in for a mid ride "drain and fill", you DO NOT do that here.  My mid-ride pitstops have seen me do a lot of crazy things, not the least of which is take my bike with me into the stall.  Call me crazy, but I am taking NO chances with my beloved Seabiscuit!!

A moment of silence for a trusty steed lost to Florida's bike thieves.