A Strange Sensation
Summer has arrived, and with it, triple digit temperatures (mid 30’s for you Celsius types). For those like me who wake up after 9 AM, the mid morning temps make exercise at those hours dangerous and foolish. My bike rides get pushed back into the late evening hours.
My pretty ride
Last evening (99 degrees at 7 PM), A friend and I jumped on our bikes and headed out for a short, hot, sweaty ride. We planned on just over ten miles, most of it downhill or flat, just to get out, get moving, stay active despite the heat.
As we headed down South Jordan Parkway, reaching speeds just over 35 mph, the hot wind sucked the moisture from my skin, and much like its cold counterpart, took my breath away. It was uncomfortable, but it did not diminish the exquisite rush of traveling at high speed on a bicycle.
We approached Redwood Road, then turned right, heading south. More concerned with making a clean turn than the road in front of me, I did not see the basketball sized pothole until it was almost too late. I loosened my grip on the handlebars just before impact, reducing the jarring effect on my arms and shoulders. Both tires hit the edge of the hole, but I kept going, feeling lucky and no worse for wear.
I sped up, trying to close the gap that had opened up between me and my friend. I heard a sound like a small motor humming behind me. A quick check over my shoulder revealed no vehicles or danger. Then I felt it. My rear tire went from firm to splashy to deflated in three seconds.
Flat tires are not uncommon and are mostly a harmless annoyance, unless they occur when I am riding 30 mph on grated concreted. I knew I had to stop fast. Riding on a totally flat tire would quickly cause rim damage. As I depressed the brake, the back tire, reacting to the groves in the concrete, began to fishtail. I was convinced I was going over, and nothing I could do would prevent it. The front end also began to wobble. I waited for the rear tire to fold underneath the rim, maybe dislodge altogether. I regained some composure and decreased the brake pressure. The bike steadied, and I was able to slow to a stop, heart almost beating out of my body.
It took me a few minutes to calm down, fix the flat, and be ready to ride again. I didn’t think about the fear again until this morning.
It fascinates me, this ability we have as humans to experience certain kinds of danger, fear, and so quickly be ready and willing to face it again, deliberately. I am unsure if this is an illness, a defect, or something to be admired.
Either way, I think I’ll ride again tonight.