Thursday, June 26, 2008

Use The Force, Luke

When last we left our intrepid Underdog, I was sprinting from the male changing tent (You will be spared the visual horrors therein, even if I thought I had words worthy of describing them) past the women’s changing tent (the delights of which I shall ne’er be permitted to see and which I can scarce imagine) toward my trusty ride, Carmen Tequilo.

But the bike leg merits some prologue.

Carmen Tequilo has a new set of Zipp 404s, but I just couldn’t leave well enough alone. I thought it would be a good idea if she had fresh tires and tubes for the race. Little did I know, you have to be able to rip phone books in half and crush raw carbon into diamonds with your bare hands to change tires on Zipp wheels. I broke four tire levers trying to change the tires and tubes before finally getting help from the bike shop and just hoping beyond all hope that I did not suffer a puncture during the race.

Fast forward to Friday when I picked up my bike from Tri-Bike transport. It came off the truck with a puncture in the front tube, not a blown tube from heat, a pinhole puncture. Is this just a freak accident, or perhaps have I permanently damaged the rims in wrestling with changing a tire such that some burr in the metal is puncturing my tube? Paranoid beyond all measure, I took the bike back to the house and made the effort to change the tire. It was a multiple MF’er job with heavy duty tire levers, but I finally got the new tube installed. I inflated the tire and set it aside . . . .

and two minutes later it was flat again.

M*TH$R F*&%)@R!!

Now I know the Tri gods are punishing me for messing with my race wheels, or perhaps getting them in the first place. I hot footed it down to In and Out Sports and left the offending wheel with them, requesting an exorcism. A bored looking bike mechanic about 22 years old shrugged, looked at me in disgust as if I did not know how to change a tire, and told me to come back in three hours after he’d had time to slot me in.

He later claimed to have changed the tire with his bare hands and accused me of pinching it flat.

Little whipper snapper.

So, as I was sprinting from T1 to my bike, family and friends cheering like I had just given Mark Allen a forearm shiver, I was actually worried about the potential of puncture Armageddon hanging over my head like the Sword of Damocles. But every other piece of equipment was checked and ready to go, right?

Not so much.

I had taken the trouble to set my Polar watch so it would show me my bike split, my miles per hour, and my heart rate, but as I mounted the bike and stood in the pedals to hammer away from transition, I looked down and





No bike speedo at all. In order to gage my ride, I had to rely only on Jedi mind tricks. “Use the Force, Luke. Trust your feelings.” All I had was heart rate, perceived effort, and rough mathematical calculations of average speed when I passed a five mile mark. Not ideal, but not all that bad either. Why?

Because the course was gorgeous. BEE YOU TEE FULL. And the temps were ideal. It was pure joy in motion to ride a bike on that route, with people cheering all through town and beautiful scenery all outside the town. There are hills, but great descents and long stretches for recovery. It is a very tough but fair course, and the viewing is great for both racers and spectators. Every time I passed by transition, crowds cheered and there were bloggy peeps cheering me by name. Every time I passed near our house, Trimama and Mrs. Greyhound cheered me. I climbed OK, I descended great, and I kept fairly good tempo on the flats.

I even saw Bolder at one point in the near distance. (I knew it was him because nobody wears more BMC-Ho Schwag than he does). When I caught him, he asked, “So, are you going to be able to run after this?”

Ah, that IS the question, is it not? I admitted that I did not know. Time would tell, and my tummy was having something to say on the matter. What I did know, when I came into transition, was that I had turned in a sub-7 bike split without totally killing myself. Big deal, right? Well for me, it meant that only a medical emergency involving an ambulance would keep me away from a PR.

But how would I run? Time would tell.


CoachLiz said...

Go do a race in Switzerland and you will get to see more T&A than on the Spice Channel. Changing tents??? What are those for???

I'm glad I am not the only one who struggled with their Zipp 404's and new tires. I got new tires for Switzerland and went out on the patio and put the tire around my hips and the other end over a rod iron fence post and leaned on it for a good 5 minutes and it stretched it out enough for me to get the bead of the tires to go over the rims. The front wheel still had the tire I put on it for IMAZ 2006 and was running the same tube!!! I had a tire blowout on the sidewall on the back tire.

My computer is at a strange angle I can never see it so I tend to ride by feel as well. Sometimes it is good to do that and sometimes it can be annoying.

Bigun said...

I knew you reminded me of someone, young Skywalker...

SWTrigal said...

My Garmin crapped out too. You are telling the story so well-please carry on!

RBR said...

Remember years ago when Steven King released "The Green Mile" in one chapter installments? One a month?

Yeah, like that.

You're killing me!

-unknown, random, blog stalker (apparently I should add 'pushy' to the list. sorry)

Brent Buckner said...

Suddenly keen on Zurich IM.

Really, what need is there for anything other than PE, HR, and time (for fluid/nutrition intake)? OK, maybe some folks need power 'cause general tension makes their HR "falsely" elevate.

Alili said...

I agree with the unknown pushy blog stalker:)

Garry said...

That is a beautiful bike course. But now you have me frightened about jumping in for new Zipps. This of course will make my wife happy because she will get a new kitchen floor instead.

triguyjt said...

props on the pr of 45 minutes...thats huge....and the tale of the zips is very entertining and the censored spiced up words just make it tell...

as you were saying.......

Supalinds said... crack me up! And damn, your stories are riveting! The course was beautiful!! And no garmin, I like it, that is how I rolled!

Keep it coming...

TriShannon said...

Ahhh... the suspense. Until next time... "time would tell" Cannot take it! But, loving the report!

21stCenturyMom said...

Methinks your storytelling powers are inversely proportional to your training exhaustion level. This on is most enjoyable.

As for tire changing issues - it can happen to anyone. Witness this bit of lovliness

Tammy said...


Yes, bike shop dudes make many jokes about tri-geeks, and one of them does involve not being able to change a tire on their $5,000 wheelset. ;)

Unknown said...

That was awesome Greyhound!! And now you've got me rethinking those Zipp clinchers.