I woke up this morning and still no diagnosis on my father in law. As I drank my coffee before dawn, I tried to decide what the best course of action would be. Do I go out on this long bike workout and risk being far from the condo if I need to get packed and head north ... Or...do I got for a shorter workout and stay close in. When in doubt, consult your trainer.
Hector gave the word: a 2 hour bike and a 40 minute run. I finished my coffee, got my gear together, finished some email business and off I went at a late 830am. It actualy felt weird to leave so late from the beach.
I decided that two hours on the bike would take me about 15 to 18 miles out on the Ironman Florida bike course. This takes you along Front Beach Road (with beautiful views of the water) then up Highway 79 which is a 4 lane highway with a bike lane and to a small bridge. I figured I would get two good climbs (up and back) over this little causeway and head back for a nice two hour bike excursion. The air was a little warmer than the day before and pretty humid but all and all...a pretty good day for a bike workout.
The wind was in my face. No surprise. It is relentless here in Panama City. There might not be hills on this course but be prepared to crank your way against mother nature. People look at me funny as the see the not so fast girl putting on an aero helmet for a race like this. Yes, it supposedly gives you a little more speed but I like it because its quieter against the wind. I can actually hear myself sing and hum with my aero helmet on. Without it, all I hear is that stupid wind.
I made the turn on to Highway 79 and settled in for 6 miles of straight highway. About 3 miles down, my bike just didnt' feel right ...and then...like a shotgun in the early morning....BAM....my back tire blew.....
Ahhhhh man!! (Ok..thats not REALLY what I said...but you get the idea). I unclipped as I slowed to a halt. I was just at the bridge as I felt my bike wobble. I took a look at the tire and it was pretty easy to find the problem. A 2 inch roofing nail had found its way into my bike wheel just barely missing the rim.
This sucks. If you're a cyclist you know: Changing a tire on a major highway is uncomfortable and a little scary. Trucks and cars are racing by at top speed while you try to keep your composure. I pulled out the emergency kit and started the process of getting my beautiful machine back in running order.
As I pulled out the nail and pulled off the tire, I made a very problematic discovery. I didn't have the right tube for this wheel. I have race wheels on this bike which require a valve extension. I searched my emergency bag....no extention. Ok...now Im really pissed. I can't even change this here.
I resorted to the best piece of emergency equipment every cyclist should carry: a cell phone. Usuallly, I have friends staying with me that will come and pick me up. Not this time. Im in Panama City by myself until tomorrow...sooo...Yellow Cab was my next call.
In 20 minutes, I was safe in a cab headed back to the condo with my baby bike in the back seat (yes...I am that short...she acutally fits in the backseat of a cab). The cabbie laughed that I was not the first cyclist he had picked up along Highway 79 with a bad flat. Apparently, this road leads to the city dump where alot of the construction companies take debris. The nails and such fall off the trucks and end up on the side of the road...in perfect placement for the unsuspecting cyclist.
I took out my emergency $20.00 that was in my bike bag, paid the cabbie and went back up to my room. I was mad. This was a lesson learned but I was not going to let it finish my day.
I went to my tri bag and sure enough, there was the RIGHT tube WITH the valve extension. I pulled the rubber off the wheel and proceeded to fix the flat. I had just had my bike serviced so by the time I got the back wheel back on, I was covered in bike grease. Ok...so Im not the most proficent at changing tires but I did get it done.
After a good hand washing to remove the grease, back went on my bike shoes and I took her out to see if i actually had fixed the tire correctly. I road around the parking lot for a few laps then out on Thomas Drive. When it appeared that the flat was completely fixed, I headed out again to finish my workout.
As I rode, I had this sense of accomplishment. Alot of people might have called it a day at that point...but honestly..the problem could be fixed...I fixed it..move on. I think that this is the correct mind set for Ironman. You can't expect a perfect day...you have to take the problem...solve it..and move forward...
I finished my two hour bike (well..it was a few minutes shorter than it should have been) followed by a recovery run. To celebrate, I had a wonderful massage. '
My father in law was diagnosed with a severe kidney infection and is being treated with antibiotics. He will go home tomorrow. With that knowledge, I can feel comfortable heading out for 100 miles. It should be an awesome ride...but if its not...I am now armed with a little more knowledge....