Monday, July 31, 2023

I Was Ready

The Twin Six Standard Rando v2 before...
 Around this time of year I start getting the Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational reminders, as if that were necessary, and I get that anxious feeling that I need to pull off that long ride again like I used to. Well, this year something came up that would have fit right in to my needs and served another purpose. The thing is, a nail in the wrong place changed everything. That and this may all have been for the best anyway. 

I'll explain....

I have family all over the country that I never get to see. Cousins mostly. Well, one of them messaged me about a week and a half ago saying that if I were on RAGBRAI that I needed to stop in Toledo, Iowa, because she and another cousin, her brother, would be there for the week anyway. I replied that I would not be on RAGBRAI, (big surprise!), but maybe Friday would work out for me to come down to see them for a bit. 

This would have been nearly a hundred mile round trip by bicycle on gravel. Hmm.... Yeah, that'd work! So I set my mind to getting the Twin Six Standard Rando set up for a long ride in the country. I needed to address a few things on that bike first though, chief amongst those being the handle bar.

That Easton handle bar was just not cutting it for me, and it was because it has so little flare as to be nonexistent. I need a flared bar for the ergonomics of them that help ease the pain I can get in my left shoulder, arm, and hand. So, that carbon bar came off and an aluminum Cowchipper bar went on there.

I also attached my BarYak Expedition "aero" bar set up for a different position on the bike, thinking that might also help relieve pain and help me on longer straight sections into any headwind I might encounter. There would be a headwind. The route was essentially straight South and North. 

I stocked my bags with tools, food, gear, and gathered up all the water bottles. Things were all set to "go" on Thursday afternoon, but Thursday evening I found out something from Mrs. Guitar Ted. She had a slow leak in the rear tire of her car, and she relies on that vehicle for her job. So.....

There it is!

I cancelled the ride plans so I could fix Mrs. Guitar Ted's car after she went to work. So, I drove here there, brought the car back home, and since I don't have a garage available, I did this out in the street off a jack. Oh... I have been a bicycle mechanic all these years, so big power tools? I don't have them. Ten different bottom bracket tools? I've got those. You get the picture. 

But I did used to work on cars at a garage and I did have to do some flat repairs out in the field on those LLV mail trucks. So this isn't completely foreign to me. I got the tire plug skills too, so I'm covered there. 

Three hours later...... (Apologies to Sponge Bob)

...and after.

So.....bummer. But maybe a blessing in disguise as the heat affected temperature "real feel" (sorry Accuweather!) was over 100 degrees and by the time I was finished wrasslin' that wheel I was tuckered out. That kind of high-humidity, high-temperature combination acts like a vacuum on your energy. Well.....for me it does, anyway.

Looking back, I wasn't probably going to be doing well after trying to come back in the mid-afternoon with a slight tailwind. No cooling effects and big hills are not a good combo in 100% Sun and atmospheric conditions like we had Friday. So, maybe I was spared the troubles by this errant nail. 

And the bike got a handle bar change I was wanting to make anyway. So, that was another great result out of all of that. Plus, yes.....I made my wife very happy. She took me out for dinner that night. And that was great too. That wouldn't have happened otherwise. 

Now the weather has broken and we're back to our regularly scheduled Summertime heat and lower humidity. Not that beastly stuff we had going on most of last week! Maybe.....just maybe I can sneak in that long ride after all.

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