Day 54 – Flat Tires III: Revenge of the Flat (December 25, 2020)

Night 54- Kinder, LA

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope it was a good one. Or as good as it can be this year. But do not dwell on how good or bad it was. I cannot. Because we almost had to call AAA.

Gifted with a hotel after a long windy day full of flats, we only had 50 miles today. The challenge being that I’m down to my last tube and one patched tube. With it being Christmas, no suppliers of tubes are open, so we had to make it through the day without any issues.

Up pretty early, I made my oatmeal and hotel coffee. I got dressed and bundled up to hang out outside for a video call with my family back home, and left the room to Russell to sleep. I’ll admit I never would have thought it got down to 35 degrees in Louisiana, but at least the sun was out.

With check out at eleven and plenty of time to cover 50 miles, I wandered about and found this hotel still had some semblance of breakfast. I returned to the room to find Russell patching one of his flats and he told me I had a flat already. A slow leak that emptied over night. Great. Plenty of time to patch that and swap it with one I patched last night.

Off we went. Swerving around the suburbs of the town, we found a park and decided to cook lunch a little early. Being Christmas, I went further and made hot chocolate. There was a little free book box or public book exchange right next to us. It was pretty stuffed with books just kind of thrown about so I went through them and stacked them nicely. (Sanitizing afterwards)

And so we go.

We make it about 10 miles in and my rear tire blows. No time to worry, swap it for the fresh tube and be on our way. We did have one guy ask if we were alright as I was pumping it back up. First time for that.

And we were off!

Until about mile 30 when my tire blew again.

Only kind of worried now, I pull this tube out and find a series of small cuts in a really weird pattern. No puncture, but cuts from the hub….weird and problematic. I started patching the current hole and hoped it would last the rest of the day.

Pumping up this patched tire, it blows another hole. Hearing the air leak out, my heart sinks. I don’t know where my last patched spare is or if it will work. Digging through my bags is made more difficult and painful because of a pounding headheache that had been forming for the last hour.

Now I’m not having fun. I’m ready to call AAA and just get to town. Mainly because I didn’t think I had any other options. Then with a deep breath I ripped my bike over onto its other side (it’s 125 lbs and lying on the wrong side) without smashing the chain or crank arm on the ground, tear my bags apart, and find the spare. I had patched over a patch for this one.

This was the slow leak tube. The plan was to pump it up and ride as fast as possible until it needed a bit more air. Then ride as fast as possible… until I hit town. With a straight line to our goal, Russell would be behind me a distance to ensure that if I went down, he would simply catch up and not leave me behind.

Fingers crossed, let’s give it a go.

The nice part of the day was who would accompany me during this mad dash into town. Nearly my entire family via zoom with some popping in and out as they could. I couldn’t have asked for a better road to pull this stunt on because I had a 4 foot shoulder and really light traffic. The only wind being what I made with speed. It made it a nice Christmas and Christmas at all. Otherwise it would have just been another day of riding.

I got into town a few minutes ahead of Russell and wrapped up my call as he rolled in. Surprise! He almost got taken out by 2 dogs… I may have primed them or not heard them at all because of the call. But he got to test his new spray and made it out unscathed.

With both of us feeling some kind of rush, we had .5 miles to the motel. Easy enough, we roll in and unload. For dinner there is a gas station with a Krispy Krunchy Chicken inside just under a few thousand feet away. It did well.

That’s how the night ends. Fried chicken and watching the Simpsons. The next day would be the real test as the tire situation hasn’t changed and the nearest store with spares is a Walmart, 29 miles away. So we shall go.

Have a great day-after-Christmas. No coffee for me this morning, but that’s fine. We will carry on. We’ll see you soon.

As usual-

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