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I got up a little after 5 a.m. and splashed some water on my hands and face then checked my email. I took some dried fruit from the kitchen and munched for a minute while I read before going to the bathroom to put on my cycling clothes. I didn’t want to disturb Lisa and now Noah who was, as is his style, sleeping distributed all over the bed. The price for caring this morning was paid by absolutely nailing my left knee into the edge of the bathroom vanity. Our bathrooms are really too small for dressing. Other than the nearly stifled curse, I didn’t give it much thought although it did, I noticed later, leave quite a goose egg (and now a bruise). I came back into the kitchen and poured lots water in a glass that has a bike etched into its side, then sat quietly for a few minutes munching and drinking. I opened Noah’s father’s day present, a snake that had a clothes pin set into to the top “to hold all my papers” that had been hand painted and formed by The Kid. I pumped up the replacement rear wheel and all seemed good. I rolled down my hill right around 6:30 and pedaled through Wesley Hills then north toward the hills and Harriman.
I had skipped the outer layers and was chilly going down the hill, but it seemed prudent. It would be warm later and I didn’t want to carry all that stuff.
I told myself what a great morning it was and turned onto Camp Hill Road thinking about the wisdom of long sleeves, the sand and gravel on the road and where I wanted to ride. I thought about Noah and Lisa, the architecture of the houses beside me, and the rapidly fading morning sun, and friends, and people and places of a long time ago. The clouds looked ever more threatening but I was not to be intimidated.
My hands on the top of the bar, the sun no longer displayed my shadow on the road. I hit the first small climb, and felt my left knee complain. Look at that. “That hurts” I thought as I gently rubbed my hand past the spot where I had driven the vanity into my knee. I wondered how long my knee would hold up.
Some cyclists blew by on a down hill and after some brief morning banter I turned off to continue. I briefly thought about hanging with them as long as I could, but I wasn’t in the mood to work that hard just yet.
As I climbed the first real hill the woods exploded with bird song. Lots of species I didn’t recognize raucously cheering on my climbing. My own personal Alpe D’huez like cheering squad. A deer on the side of the road couldn’t even be bothered to step away from me though we could have brushed shoulders. So much for exuding power and ferociously attacking the climb.
33.26 miles and 2575 feet of climbing later my knee held up fine. But my bike once again was not. My rear tire was flat I realized climbing the last significant bit of hill as I neared home. “Meh”, I said to myself, “it must be a slow leak, and I only have a few miles left”. I took out a cartridge and poured CO2 into the tire. Nice and solid. Then I hear the hissing… Sad. I was hoping to avoid changing a rear tire this close to home, but I guess not. Tube? Check. Levers? Check. Someplace to sit while I do this that’s not in the middle of the road? Check. Second CO2 cartridge? uh, Second CO2 cartridge? Oh bother.
So for the second time in two weeks I called the “Team Car” to come and get me. Fortunately, Lisa and Noah were just about to go out, and I was just a few miles from home. So lickety split they were there. Some nice cyclist stopped to help, but I explained that there was no need and I’d be fine in just a few minutes. As a bonus since I rode from home, Lisa was able to take the car with the rack on it to make things even simpler all around.
For solo riding I’m now adding a mini-pump to the kit bag. And hopefully this will change my current ride karma and I can make it all the way home on the next ride.
Noah wanted to stay with me, so we watched parts of the most recent Star Trek movie (he likes the space parts, no exposition, please, and is very sensitive to the feelings of the heros, so we edit as we go). We then went ice skating at the local rink, met the lovely and helpful Jill, who was willing to watch and play with Noah both on and off the ice while I helped Lisa get her bearings, and then we came home made dinner, and “picnicked” in the family room watching the end of the Tour de Suisse.
All in all it was a great father’s day.