2 hour ride with 45 min rear wheel change

I psyched myself up to go down Alba Rd. This is a very twisty, steep bit of road and is a challenging climb. However, only 1/4 mile down the road, I felt like my wheels were sluggish and flat. The undulating asphalt felt more intense so I slowed to a stop at a turn with a little pull-out. My front tire was OK, but my rear was so squishy. My heart sank.

I’d only gone on a flat, slow incline to warm up so I was feeling warm and good. I took off my arm band and turned off my music so I could concentrate. I ate a few honey-stingers and drank some water before starting on my back wheel.

Since I was in the shade of twist trees and no direct sunlight, I started feeling chilly right away. Hmm. This was also my first time changing a rear flat tire. I kept my bike wheels down and took off the quick release, which was really hard to open up since it has been close to a year since I’ve had to even touch that part of the bike. Uhg. Almost dislocated my shoulder unhinging that thing!

I ALWAYS have a fresh tube (the edges can split if you leave them for months in a saddlebag), 2 levers and a Lezyne pump now that I’ve experienced 3 flats. Sounds funny but in the 250,000 feet of elevation climbed, 200+ hours of riding, 3 flats sounds like very little! I’m glad! But that also means I never get practice, so the whole change took me 45 minutes!

1. High pressure pump= awesome easy tire change!
2. Wear gloves and you’ll keep your hands warmer and clean while fussing with dirty tires.
3. Car drivers don’t give a crap about cyclists. At least a dozen trucks, SUV’s and 4×4’s passed me and no one said anything.
4. I saw over 2 dozen cyclists descending (must have been a let’s go on an awesome ride on a crazy descent) and each and EVERY person either asked “do you have everything you need?” or “are you OK?”. I was so happy. It made me feel like a self-sufficient person but also that everyone else was able and willing to lend a hand!!

I was truly happy to say, “I’ve got it!” while having small parts in between my lips so I wouldn’t lose them in the leaf-muddy side of the road. I was glad I stopped on a flat spot!

I did get REALLY confused when I had to put the rear tire back onto the frame. For some reason, the derailleur and chain and spokes were not looking quite right going back in. Next time I will take a picture mid-removal of the wheel. However, I had reception on this section and called my husband who told me if understand better if I put the bike upside down. Pushing in the derailleur, I instantly saw how the wheel was supposed to reinsert and how the chain was router around the spokes. Whew!

I disliked the Lezyne little rubber pieces that plug each end of the pump because they would fall off and land in the dirt as I pumped my tire. I did like that I was able to get full pressure in a short amount of time pumping. The little lezyne metal lever in conjunction with a regular flat plastic one was great for my EC 90’s because I could lever out with the plastic one and shimmy the smaller lever to unseat the tire. I was a little tentative because of the delicate carbon, so in the future, I may just bring 2 plastic levers.

I decided I’m not dexterous enough to deal with the lezyne mini cartridge inflator. I mean, I lose more air than inflate because it needs to be completely perpendicular to the valve. I still carry it as an emergency fall-back, but I’m useless at using it.

By the time I finished, I was freezing and my hands were starting to seize up. I decided to ride home. Thankfully, my husband made egg salad sandwiches and the house was warm and toasty when I returned.

Thank you!! to all the cyclists out there who asked if I needed help. It made me feel strong, not alone and part of something a little bigger: a community of cyclists who will always help one another.


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