For the past few years, I've been pretty serious about my racing and running, but this year is different. This year I'm really serious - as evidenced by my goal to GQ/BQ, my weekly track workouts, my recent purchase of a wetsuit and other tri gear, and a whole new level of discipline.
Along with that, I also decided that this year would be the year I finally learned how to change a flat tire. I made some attempts at practicing last year, but never successfully did it by myself, and felt extremely discouraged about it. But with the new bike, I was newly inspired. And it just so happens that changing tires became a necessity, because I had to get the Armadillo tires off the old bike before we sold it.
Side note on the Armadillos - they are in fact puncture-resistant, but they also make your ride very, very sluggish, and I will not be using them anymore. Scott wants to hold on to them in case he decides to put them on his bike, but I'm looking to get faster, not slower, so I'd rather run the risk of getting a flat.
Anyway, I sat down last week to get to work, and it took me quite a while to get the first tire off, but as I learned, the Armadillos are much harder to get off than a standard tire. I got the tire off, though, and removed the tube, and got ready to get everything back on - the really hard part.
The first part of the tire went on fairly quickly, but I was struggling with the last little bit. I tried everything I could think of to get those last few inches over the rim, and nothing was working. Then, finally, I remembered watching the guys at the bike shop the last time they had changed a flat for me, and recalled how they used the palms of their hands more than their fingers, and tried shifting my hand position a bit, and those last few inches slipped right over the rim. Success!
The next real test, though, was removing and changing the rear tire. I knew this would be trickier, but I knew I had to do it, so I got started. Shifted into the lowest cog and ring, got the deraileur moved out of the way, and slipped the wheel out. I had no idea how I was going to get it back on, but I'd cross that bridge when I came to it.
Changing the tire and tube went a lot faster this time, and I was feeling much more confident. I reinflated, and got ready to put the wheel back on. It was a little tricky, and took me a few tries, but I did it!!!!
I hopped on for a quick spin around the cul-de-sac to make sure everything was shifting ok, and it was, and I was pretty elated. Something that felt so impossible to me last year was now completely within my grasp.
This may seem like a small thing to those who are very proficient at changing a flat, but for me, it's a really big deal. I may not be able to change a tire quickly, but I am completely capable, and will no longer worry about getting stranded and having to wait for rescue if I get a flat tire halfway through a 30-mile bike ride. And I do plan to practice some more, so that I get a little faster at it.
It's really nice to feel self-sufficient : )
And it's nice to not feel intimidated by the mechanics of my bicycle. I also successfully swapped out the pedals and aerobars, and removed the bike computer. Still have to reinstall the bike computer on the new bike, and I may need Scott's help with that, but we'll get it done.
So that was my big victory of the week, and it's a pretty exciting one. It definitely changes the way I feel about biking.
The new bike changes the way I feel about biking, too. I set out for a 20-mile ride yesterday morning, but I was having so much fun, I added on another 10 miles! I averaged 18.3mph for the ride, and it actually would have been more like 19mph if the second half of the ride wasn't so hilly. I am really feeling like I can hit a 20mph average on the tri, which will be incredible.
As I said in a Facebook post last week, biking is fun again : )
This morning, though, time to shift gears (no pun intended) back to running. Hazard Castle 7-mile race kicks off in 2 hours. I just finished my bagel and coffee, and have about an hour to get ready.
I have big plans for this race. Hoping for 8-minute miles, or maybe even a little less. It's not a terribly hot morning, so the heat shouldn't be a big factor. The 30-mile bike ride yesterday may not have been the best idea, but my legs feel ok, and I don't think it'll be too much of an issue.
And last year's time was 59:02, and I am fairly confident that I can shave at least a minute or two off of that, so although the goal is 56 minutes, I'd be happy with 57 or 58, too.
Off to the races!!!