Saturday, April 3, 2010

8 Minutes and Counting

I woke up at my normal time today, 6:15. I was full of hope and energy for a solid training day. The forecast was WINDY, which meant the trees would be bent over and with swirling dust clouds everywhere, and the occasional tumbleweed somersaulting across the road. I decided that I would run long at Magnolia Road, a popular place to run that starts at 8000 feet and goes up from there, and save my long ride for Sunday.

I roped two training buddies into heading up there, Shane and Brandon; they are always good for hard workouts balanced out with lots of side-splitting laughs. The conversations are often shocking and I have learned a lot about subjects I never knew existed. I met them at 9 am after a tough swim workout. Brandon offered to drive, so we loaded up his car with our gear. I opened up the back to toss in my bag and commented on the mess that was left over from his recent ski trip. Clothes and gear were strewn everywhere (more about this later).

We drove up the canyon observing the intense the wind, hoping maybe it would be lighter up higher. We got to our destination in about 25 minutes. Brandon opened his door and we were greeted by a hissing noise, one that was easily identified as a leaking tire. Uh oh! We had a quick discussion about our options and decided with the heavy wind and thick clouds looming not too far, we should leave. The goal, make it to Boulder before the tire went flat.

We piled back into the car to navigate the steep, windy road with the tire losing air quickly. Halfway down, the car started to lean. Time was not on our side. Shane kept popping his head out the window to give us status updates on the tire. It was time to pull over and change the flat. We found a parking area for a nearby trail head and set to work.

Shane promised he could fix the flat in 8 minutes. I found that hard to believe given that it takes him longer than that to fix a bike flat. I pulled out the stopwatch.

Eight minutes sped by. In 8 minutes we had yet to find the jack! We had to flip through the car manual to get the information. All the while, the wind was blowing like crazy and we were freezing. Luckily, the mess in the back of the car was warm ski clothes. Lots of them. Jackets for all of us. Pants. Gloves. Hats. Still not enough. Brrrr. It was so windy that I could hardly stand; I was getting blown all over the place. We witnessed a small group of cyclists dressed for deep winter riding sideways and looking miserable. We concurred that they were not very smart.

After about 40 minutes and lots of cursing the flat tire finally came off (one of the lug nuts was very stubborn. Applying extra force started the car rolling down the hill). We added more time to the 8 minutes when we could not remove the spare from underneath the car and then we couldn’t get the spare on (I use the word “we” loosely, Shane did the dirty work. I was a cheerleader. Brandon did some miscellaneous jobs like removing a lug nut). The car was not high enough. There is a reason the manual instructs to park the car on level ground. We were facing the downhill. Oops. We borrowed a second jack and placed it underneath car. Kids, don’t try this trick at home, very dangerous.

Finally, an hour later we were on our way.

The moral of the story. Always carry a jug with you in case you have to go to the bathroom.

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