Weekends are a great time for relaxing and recovery. Unless you’re training for a 70.3. Then weekends are a great time for those long workouts that just can’t fit into the workweek (there is only so much daylight, right?). Only, we like to get away on the weekends, go exploring, get out and see the world. Which presents quite the dilemma.
Thus, we find ourselves “multitasking” as we attempted to do this weekend.
This weekend we trekked out north of Seattle to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival based in Mount Vernon, WA. We hit it just right – beautiful weather, blue skies and brilliant tulips fields.
Apparently this is a very popular thing to do and we were lucky to have enough foresight to bring our bikes along with us, thinking this would be a great way to 1) avoid the traffic and 2) get a 40 miler in as our training recommended for the weekend. Two birds, one stone? Excellent (or so we thought…)!
Here’s what actually went down. We parked our car at a local park near the river and launched from there. Three miles in, these bikes are already paying off big time. We’re soaring past lines and lines of cars. We’re really applauding our wisdom. Freaking geniuses, we are. Four miles in, we’re quietly taunting the cars as we go by, making faces at the kids trapped in the back seats.
And less than five miles in, I say something to the tune of “hmmm, I wonder if we have an spare tubes on us?” or “hmmm, I’m not sure if I have any backup tubes… sure hope we don’t get a flat!” and mere seconds later, Jason gets a flat tire. Bad timing? Karma for the taunting? That’s what we get for being ill-prepared? Eh. Yeah.
Here we realize that my hunch was correct – we hadn’t checked our backup supplies before we left home. But fortunately, I had a spare tube and just as we’re getting ready to use the only CO2 cartridge I had to inflate the tire, a guy in a truck pulls up and pulls a pump out of the back of his truck. (Turns out there was an official ride going on and his bike shop was providing the support vehicle.) Anyhoo, we pumped up the new tube, patched the old one so it would be ready for next time and we were in business, once again flying past those poor fools sitting in miles-long lines to get into the parking lot. The tulips were well worth the trouble (though had I been sitting in a line of cars, I might have thought differently…).
Here’s the kind of views were treated with:
What did I tell you? Totally worth it, right?
We left the first field and decided to take the long road to the next field and get some extra miles in… the weather was marvelous, the views were great and the riding was mostly good, except for the parts where you had to squeeze by the sitting cars on a narrow shoulder (which were fortunately few and far between considering and we avoided those roads as much as possible. About 2 miles from the second field, we rode past a huge field of daffodils on private property. Daffodils! At the end of the field, I had an opportunity to turn off the road so we could view the field safely (i.e. out of the way of moving traffic and other bikes), so I turned. As I’m turning, my back tire caught a pretty bad patch of loose gravel and… Down. I. Went.
Now, it’s been YEARS since I fell off my bike (excluding that time I fell off of the spinning bike, but I digress…). The last time I fell, I caught some gravel and ate it. I screamed bloody murder until someone came out to check on me. I was fine, but I wanted to some attention. You know how kids are… I was no different. I was hurt, I wanted some love.
The difference between then and now? Let’s see. I was going faster this time. Definitely. But I fell in slooooooooow motion. And my foot was securely clipped into my pedal, leaving me no choice but to go down with the bike. And I’m a big girl now, so presumably, I fell much harder than before. At the last minute, I distinctly remember thinking “holy crap, I’m going to land on my face” so I put my hands down.
The good news? Well, I didn’t land on my face. I took the brunt of the fall on my left elbow, the heel of my left hand, and my left knee.
I don’t remember if that’s how I landed last time. I didn’t scream bloody murder this time. There was almost definitely some cursing this time. And for a minute I thought I might throw up.
So now I am the walking wounded. I hadn’t put my bike gloves on because we were only going a few miles. I sliced the top layer of skin off the heel of my left hand, my elbow is swollen and bruised (and I can’t put any pressure on it without yelling), and my knee’s all skinned up and bruised (ditto on putting pressure on it) and I have varying levels of road rash from my ankle up to the side of my thigh. Awesome.
Being as prepared as we were, we of course had no bandaids. But Jason did for some reason have a little bit of toilet paper. We washed the dirt out of my knee and hand the best we could and me, being as stubborn as I am, pouted for a while about taking a spill and then determined that we would go see the rest of the flowers.
As fate would have it, as we arrived at the second field and changed out of our biking shoes, Jason looked at his rear bike tire (the one that we had changed out earlier) and wouldn’t you know it, it was flat again. Really? Really?!
Out come the tools again and we borrowed a pump from a more prepared soul who was locking their bike up next to ours. Sigh. A few minutes later, we had the old patched tube back on the tire and inflated and marched our stubborn butts across the street to the tulip display gardens with our fingers crossed the patched tube would get us back to our car.
Our very last stop was the street festival, which was within walking distance of the park where we had parked our car for the day, so we made one last stop figuring if we got yet ANOTHER flat, we’d just hoof it back to the car.
Luckily, we made it home without further incident, but suffice it to say, Saturday was a very tough day for biking. And did we make it the whole 40 miles we had planned, you ask? Oh heck no. We finished out the day with 12 miles under our belts. And which workout from this week called for 12 miles on the bike? Well, none. But sometimes you’ve got to know when to throw in the towel and live to fight another day.