Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

23 September 2013

dumb, old fashioned, and out of style

Swooping down Laureles Grade into Carmel Valley aboard a bicycle is exciting! You easily outstrip traffic. You can go as fast as you dare, and I neither carry nor need a computer to tell me that's fast. Thoughts of crashing flit in and out of your mind on descents like that. If you focus on doubts, you lose your nerve and have to back off; you lose your fun. But ignoring the possibility of mechanical failure is dumb, so you visually check your front tyre as it spins. Do you feel any hitches or bumps? Can you see any irregularity? Is the profile the same on both sides? True? Brakes clear? Then you bring your focus back out in front, scanning for the Good Line.

What a bluebird day today was. I thought I'd swap the knobbies for those skinwall 37mm Panaracer Paselas that were in the tyre pile somewhere. Those are great tyres to rally. They are surprisingly grippy through the woodsy singletrack, but real shmooth on pave. It would be a fine day to ride out 68 (it would be shadier than the valley heading East) and take the back way over the Grade to head out for a Cachagua loop.

So I found myself on the valley floor, rounding the very last S bend into the Village when I felt a sudden and increasingly urgent whup-whup-whup from the rear and put the brakes on. My tyre blew before I could fully stop.

 The bead had blown off the rim earlier, as I was careless with my swapping, and I thought little beyond the usual reaction. It is disconcerting in a way that's out of proportion to the actual volume of the explosion. For me, anyway. In part because it ruins a tube, in part because it is so very preventable- pay attention, dummy!- but mostly because it is such a scary prospect if it were to happen at a bad time. Say, tearing ass downhill with cars around.

So I cussed (like you do) and flinched (like I do) and checked the bead and reinstalled the tyre. Then I went out and rode some pave and some singletrack (aggressively, downhill) and some more pave and then climbed the back way and then dropped Laureles. I had my thoughts about blow outs and backed off and got back on it and had some thoughts about brakes and backed off and got back on it, etc. I enjoyed my bike ride.

  The problem:

 if that had happened at 45+mph, it would have been a real bad time. So even though my day of riding was over, I was pretty pleased with the way it ended. It could have been worse!

 Of course I tried booting the spot with a section of the tube box, thinking super low PSI...I might be able to limp the 10 miles back out to the mouth of the valley. Beacues the wife is out of town and there was no easy rescue.

 And, of course it didn't hold.

So what are you gonna do? Send some texts, and start walking with your thumb out. It didn't take long for me to realize I'd rather walk in my socks than in my cycling shoes. Down the road? Clop clop clop with the shuddery contact? I realize it's a controversial move, but it was mine to make.

 So yeah, walking down Carmel Valley Road in my underwear, pushing my busted bike in stocking feet. Does it surprise you that no one would stop? I realize only pick-ups or other cyclists in their cars would even consider it. An English couple in a sedan stopped and asked me for directions. They didn't offer help. I could see it not occurring to them, and honestly the thought of explaining to them and then getting a run-around was more than I was in for so I just told them how to get to 1 and kept on.

Steve, from the Money Band, stopped

 and we listened to the Doobie Brothers while he took me as far as Shulties. I sure hope he checks out Yacht Rock, like I recommended. Then I walked past All Saints, where many mini vans toting a mother and a child looked through me and drove on by. My feet were taking a beating, so I sat down and fashioned the remnants of the tube box into some sole protection. I attempted to hitch while doing this, but that's tough.

Eventually, P____ the art director from All Saints pulled over and took me right to my driveway! That was nice of him.

 I really was very lucky today.


Human Wrecking Ball said...

Pretty Rad. I haven't done the "long walk" in a while. It's never good but it makes you realize how much cooler and faster riding is.
Tell that drummer to close the hi hats on the verse. It's even bad taste on a Vanilla Ice cover. Did they at least do one verse of "Under Pressure"? That would keep them out of cover band hell.

blackcatbicycles said...

i think the "under pressure" portion of the cover started at about the 1:00 mark. covering freddy & co. is ballsy, and the money band knocked it out of the park. hard to tell though, if the crowd was raising the roof or waving to their grand kids.

i've had pasella blow outs that looked exactly as the one you experienced. their beads seem to be fragile and don't like to be scraped with tire levers at installation. just a bit of friction and the bead just starts pulling off the wire/kevlar like those shitty $10 27 x 1 3/8" tires from times of yore. add to that the high inflation rating and it can be a bit unnerving.

not saying that was the cause of yours, but it was the cause of mine.

fortunately for me the actual blowing out happened in the garage, not while out on the road.
when on the road, the ensuing hitching is always an adventure.

at least you weren't wearing a "boogie 'till you barf" shirt. that could have proved more difficult to secure a ride.