Day 52 – Flats for Days (December 23, 2020)

Night 52- Baton Rouge, Louisiana

How many flat tires is too many flat tires? One is annoying. Two is a surprise. Three makes start questioning decisions in life. The day wasn’t that dramatic, but it comes up.

Up with the dogs, I sneak off to make coffee and oatmeal to write. Accompanying me is a big old Doberman pincher. Just a old pup in the body of a big scary dog. This family had a Doberman and a pitbull and they were complete angels. Every dog has the ability to “mean” with the wrong owners. Glad to see that the pastor and his family were excellent owners.

We may not have been looking forward to the morning ride since rain was imminent. So we just layered up and off we went. Our host for Baton Rouge was an experienced cyclist and had an endless amount of advice about how to get into town, road conditions, traffic, and so on. It’s nice to hear about possible holes in the road. Both main routes did not seem to have any major obstacles, but plans change as we go.

We rode in and out of the rain. It may have only been an hour of wet, but it tends to make you feel wet for the rest of the day. The downside to rainjackets is the sweat it traps inside.

Stopped in at a food strip for lunch and grabbed the healthiest thing possible. Little Cesar’s. When you ride this much and drink this much water, you can eat just about anything and then some. So I got breadsticks too.

I noticed there was a road that led to the other route option. Route 30, which was told to have a decent shoulder and a bike path that appears just out of town. So, lacking a coin, I flipped a protein bar to see if we would stay on the rotting road we were on, or push over to the nicer entrance into the city. Off to 30.

The one stipulation was the road to get from where we were to 30. It. Was. Tight. For about 9 miles and strange bursts of rush traffic, we just hugged the white line of a 2 lane road. No shoulder and plenty of variable speed traffic. It was a little tense, but we made it. Turning into a side road that parallels a correctional facility surrounded in cow pastures. It was a welcomed sight. Practically zero traffic.

This wasn’t the route, but it was about 2 miles of cool down after the last chunk. Then we hit 30. Looked pretty good. Then about 100 yards down the road I get a flat. No worries. Pull off, lay down the bike, remove the tire, pull it apart, find and patch the hole. As I’m pumping it back up I reach over to compare the pressure to the front tire…. it was also flat.

Okay. Deep breath and reset. Do it again. No nails or wire, just holes. Simple to patch.

All that done we are getting moving when something hokey happens and one of my breaks catches my tire and spins into a useless position. So I stop again and fix that.

Okay, off again. This time for a while. We roll on until we hit the town. A bike path on the road lead us to Tiger Stadium for LSU. We stopped for a bit to see the statues. Then it was up on the dyke for some smooth riding with a few sights. At one point we stop in front of a battleship of some sort and I notice I have another flat forming. A slow leak. So, with only a mile left, I keep my pump in hand and fly towards our host. Stopping 2 times to inflate.

We roll in and Mark is outside waiting. He was the first to have a traditional “arrival” photo. A cool dude with a love of conversation. No phones allowed for the most part, but that wasn’t an issue because the conversations were endless. Another experienced cyclist who is now fighting his local government to improve life for cyclist in town. A town so preoccupied with parking spots that there isn’t people to park there. Add that to a decent library in his living room. There were enough topics to draw from just by glancing at his interests.

And dinner was awesome. Roast chicken with vegetables, fried asparagus, and a big helping of mashed sweet potatoes. Fantastic. Full bellies all around. Trying keep with some kind of bed time, we ended with some home made Leb Kuchen and a story as to how he started making a bunch of German sweets for a friend of his. Mark was a good guy and another experience cycling host. Glad we got to meet him.

With some advice from Mark, we have some planning to do to make it to our next host in Sulfur, LA. 190 is the fastest route, but it sounds like LADOT has made some interesting modifications to it recently. Have a good one everyone. Stay safe and don’t worry too much about the holiday. I’m just glad for the people who are still around to see it.

As usual-

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