Riding through it all

The last three days have been something else, when it comes to riding.

Wednesday seemed great.  I went out and did my hill route again, and that largely went very well.  I ended up cutting it a little shorter than I'd planned, as my legs were starting to cramp up (calf cramps from exercise are an old and familiar problem for me, although this is the first time I've had it happen from biking).  I kind of wish I'd had a banana with me, for potassium, but as cold as it was (23-25F), the banana might well've been inedible by that point.

So I got home, parked the bike, and got the kids ready for school.  Just before getting the little ones into the car, I pulled my bike inside, and noticed two inward-pointing notches (for lack of a better term) in the front tire.  The completely deflated front tire.

Anyway, got the kids packed up, did some other things, finally got a chance to look at it again, a few hours later.  Took the tire half off, and looked at the tube.  Not terribly surprised to see a hole, except that I have no idea when it might have happened (especially as it was a big enough hole that I'd expect deflation to take less than a minute).

So I patched the hole and put the tire back on (I also checked the middle of the tire, and found a small hole there, although I didn't expect that to cause further issues).  I put the wheel back on, and inflated the tire.  Before I'd even gotten to the normal pressure, there was a loud pop.  Ugh.  Took it all off again and looked at the tube.  Now I had a new hole, opposite the first.  Patched that one.  Note to self: when patching a hole caused by a tire puncture, make sure not to flip the tube when re-installing (will have to think of how).

Fixed the other hole, reinstalled, reinflated.  Got to full pressure, but decided to re-inspect tire with everything installed.  Found another cut in the tire; this one on the side, and pretty big.  In fact, it looked like the tube was trying to bulge out of the hole.

Well, that was never going to work.  First serious bump, I'd pop the tube right at that spot.

So I took everything off, and put the Gatorskin tire back on (I'd been using Grand Prix 4000S II's for the last several weeks).  Second note to self: only use Gatorskins in winter, when cutting stuff can be hidden.

After all that, I was able to get ready for the next morning.  And it was relatively warm, being right at the freezing point.  The ride itself went smoothly, although I think something might've been wrong with the heart rate meter.  It was showing 10-20 bpm higher than usual for a given exertion level, and when I realized that I wasn't feeling anything like I normally do when I get above 125 or so, I decided to ignore it (two reasons to consider that: I knew I'd put it on upside down, which doesn't seem like it should matter, but who knows?  And I know the battery must be getting low).

Well, that all felt fine, even after I finished.  The heart rate indicator stayed very high, but my breathing was still easy, so I'm still not sure about the data.  The one factor I've figured out, since, is that I'm coming down with something, which might have pushed things higher.  No idea what other effects, if any, that would have.

Feeling sick, I went to bed very early (basically, right after the kids went to bed), and got up at the normal time.  I wasn't sure if I'd be able to do anything, but I felt kind of decent.  And since I knew I wouldn't be going as far (not only was I not feeling well, but it was 10F outside), I took my time getting ready.

My Singing Monsters ads are double-effect this weekend, so that also slowed me down a bit (one of the sponsors is allowing almost-unlimited play of their ad.  I'd already been taking advantage of that).

But I did get out there, and actually felt pretty decent after the first minute or so.  So much so that I ended up riding quite a bit further than I'd planned.  In fact, I went as far as I've been going, recently, before turning around.  I knew I wouldn't take any of the detours that I normally take on the way back, but I still went six miles outbound.

Boy, did I get an eye-opener when I turned around.  I hadn't realized how much the wind had been pushing me.  Man, was it brutal on the way back.  I had my thumbs inside my mittens for most of the return trip, and was even making fists to warm my fingertips some of the time.

But other than my hands and my cheeks, a little, I was actually doing pretty well most of the way.  Being sick wasn't bothering me, and the cold was causing minimal problems.

Until I was a mile and a half, or so, from home.  Then I started feeling cold around my torso, so I hurried up, from there, to get home.  Timing-wise, that worked out fairly well, though it did make one hell of a (completely predictable) spike in my heart rate.  I hope that spike didn't ruin the efficacy of the ride, but I have no way of knowing.

All in all, though, I think it worked out about as well as it could have.  The Under Armour hood that I mentioned a few days ago arrived yesterday, so I was happy to wear it today.  And, as planned, I left the face-cover on it down.  It was great, although I might have welcomed wearing my ski goggles as well.  Anyway, I probably won't wear that all that often, but I am glad to have it.  Tomorrow's supposed to be around 20F, so I'll skip it, but the days after are supposed to be down to single digits.  I'll wear it then, possibly with the goggles.  I just hope the prediction of snow for tomorrow evening is off; I do not want to deal with snow at that temperature range.  Perhaps more to the point, I don't want to be riding my hybrid at that temperature.  We'll see.

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