Weekly Update #9; 27 Miles and 1 Good Samaritan

This week I didn’t run, it was all about riding! Although I might go for a 4 mile jog tomorrow to achieve my goal of 4+ activities a week. 

I’m happy to report I haven’t fallen off the bike again. I was close to toppling down in two occasions but managed to stay mounted. And my scraped knee is healing well. All is good in my world. 

I’m also happy to report that I made it back to the hills of Breakheart Reservation and completed both loops without having to stop or walk the bike up the steepest hill. It’s a good training course. I’ll be heading back this coming week. I’m not going to be satisfied until I’m able to complete 5+ loops in session without feeling like I’m dying. 

I jumped into the deep end of the cycling world without training or life vest and I love it. It has definitely been a learn as you go experience. 

Today I rode for 27 miles which is the longest I’ve ridden in one session. I know it’s a warm up for a serious rider but I’m a baby rider. Next week I might try going for a 35 miler. 

Wednesday after work I wanted to try the 27 mile course but decided against it because I had to catch an early morning flight. I decided on the 19.7 mile course instead.

This week’s goals included a 25+ mile course. So, today was as good as  any other the day give it a go.

I got up at 8am and gathered my gear. It was overcast so I checked the weather, not looking forward to getting soaked, it didn’t mention any rain so I was in the clear. With my gear in hand I grabbed my bike and noticed the rear tire was flat, whomp whomp whomp whomp. But I was prepared for this! I reached for the replacement tube, tire levers, and compressed air gun; 20 minutes later I was ready to go, again!

The course is about a 25 minute drive from my house. I jump in the car and the gas light comes on! Damn it, quick detour. As I’m pumping gas, I catch a few people checking me out, I’m with my biking shorts, I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not. And I’m off, again!

I managed to start riding at 9:11am. Not too late, but not as early as I would have liked. I’m feeling good after two days of rest. The weather is pretty damn nice. The route is beautiful. I’m having a grand old time!

About 19 miles into the course, I feel my rear tire is losing pressure. Damn it! It’s a brand new tube, why o why? Now I’m stranded in this beautiful town without a spare tube or compressed air. Walking the last 8 miles was out of the question. 

First I attempted to call an Ubex XL so I could throw the bike on the back. For some unknown reason there were no Uber XL available in the area, damn it! 

Bike rack is not a standard offering when calling a taxi or a regular Uber. I texted my brother to see if he was available to go pick me up on his truck. As I’m texting him the directions another rider pulls up and asked if I was okay or if I need help. 

I explained the situation and he offered me HIS replacement tube! His name is Matt; an older gentleman and an avid rider. 

We removed the tire, replaced the tube with the new one. Matt got frustrated as we attempted to inflate the tire with a minimalist hand pump. He offered to take the tire to his house where he had a proper pump. He happened to live less than 5 minutes from where I was stranded. Within 10 minutes he was back in his car with a fully inflated tire.

It’s hard to express my gratitude to Matt. His generosity and willingness to go above and beyond to help a complete stranger is admirable. I offered to pay for his trouble but he simply said to pay it forward. Needless to say that I intend to do so in the future. 

One hour and a new tube donated by a good samaritan and I was on the bike again for the last 8 miles of the course.

When I get to the car it’s 12:15 and I still haven’t had breakfast! Time to head to my parents’ house. By the time I get to their house my mum had already made soup for lunch! It was delicious.

Sooo, critical lessons learned: don’t go out on a ride without a replacement tube and a way to properly inflate it. Also, there are good people who will go out of their way to help others in need. Today I was fortunate to come across Matt. 

Weekly breakdown:

Monday: 7 miles at Breakheart reservation. Nice and hilly course. My cousin Jesus joined me. 

Wednesday: 19.7 miles starting at north reading. It was a beautiful scenic course through quiet suburban roads and the Harold Parker State Forest. It almost makes you forget that your body is in pain, almost.

Saturday: 27 miles, with an hour intermission to replace a tube. It’s a variation of Wednesday’s course. It takes you through more state forest roads which adds about 8 more miles.

I’m looking forward to the day when I can ride more than 50 miles in one session, but for now I’m happy with my 54 miles a week. 

Thanks for reading! 

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