I went on my longest cycle to date yesterday, a 43 mile cycle from my house, north, around Lake Sammamish, and bake home. It included 2140 feet of elevation gain.
About 13 miles into it, I got a flat tire. This is the third flat tire I’ve had in about three weeks – one other on my bike, and another on my car. That’s got to be bad luck, right? I stopped, none too happy to be starting my ride this way. A few minutes after I stopped, a generous rider and his friend stopped to help me. The guy actually changed my tire for me. So nice! It really bolsters my faith in humanity. I think I probably could have changed it, but it would have taken me a good hour, and I would at that point, turned around and gone back home. However, this guy was able to change it in about 20 minutes, and he gave me some useful tips. Hopefully, I’ll have a chance to pass it on at some point.
I kept going after the flat, and made my way up and around the lake. I was feeling good, though as my rides have gotten longer, I’m starting to find myself getting a little uncomfortable in the, ahem, saddle area. I bought a pair of bike shorts, but they didn’t really seem to help. Anyway, after making my way around the lake, I hit the longest hill of the ride, a very long, gradual gradient as I rode back west. At that point, I was nearly home, with only a few miles to go. However, just as I hit some busy roads, there was a power outage, so the lights, including pedestrian signals, were all out. Suddenly, my ride became extremely hazardous. I managed to make it through the high traffic section, but it was hair-raising. After that, I just wanted to be come, but of course, I live on a big hill, so the last few miles are always trying. I slogged along, though, and was absolutely exhausted the rest of the day.
The whole ride took me more than four hours. Without the flat tire, route-finding, and traffic problems, I think I could do it in closer to 3 hours. 3 hours is a very reasonable ride; 4.25 is just more than I want to do right now. I’m undecided whether to try to do the ride again, or to do something else. I’ve been making my way through the so-called “preparing for spring” series that a local bicycle club put together and ran in the winter. I’m not sure I would have much liked doing these rides in the cold and the rain, though.