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Epic Week? Day 4: What Else Could Go Wrong?

by on May 29, 2014

Of course the answer to the question in the title is, “A whole lot more.” But I had my share on today’s 200k.
Over the previous few days, the weather forecast kept being downgraded. What started as sunny, warm, and tailwinds gradually shifted to cloudy, rain, 50’s and headwinds. In fact, I was making new clothing choices as I was leaving the house, adding knee warmers, arm warmers, and at the last possible moment … a wind vest (which I took only so I could decide when I actually left on the bike. I nearly forgot my shoes, remembering them when I was ready to back out of the driveway.
I had packed the previous night. I would be attending a “convention” in Ocean City, MD and decided to carry all my clothing and “convention” needs on the bike so that I could test the carrying capacity and handling of the fully loaded bike. Who knew that dress shoes took so much space?
When I arrived at the Park & Ride in Chester, it was closed for repaving. I had anticipated this, but was still disappointed. My backup was at a church 4 miles away from the ride’s start. I parked the bike. I finished getting dressed. Then I pulled out my phone to take a photo of the fully loaded bike so I could post my departure on Facebook.
I dropped the phone.
I picked it up and turned it on. There were vertical lines running through the right hand part of the screen. That side of the touch screen would not register my touches! I decided right then and there that denial and magic was what I would rely on. I pushed off, and before going 100 yards I returned to the car to get the wind vest that I had decided that I did not need. I didn’t take it off the rest of the ride.
A light drizzle was falling, and yer I made good time to the opening control. I pushed off from there at 8:00, later than I had wanted to.
During the first 40 miles of the ride I kept messing around with my Garmin trying to get it to work right. The 4th time I loaded the route it finally (mostly) behaved. I didn’t really stop until about mile 42, Denton where I took on water and got a foil food wrapper to put around the toes of my socks as a wind break. I had decided against toe covers earlier that morning and my toes were suffering from that decision. It was here that the problems with the phone increased. Denial and magic didn’t work. My cold damp fingers wouldn’t activate the fingerprint reader to unlock the phone. Then the phone told me to key in my pass code, but two of my code numbers wouldn’t work. I pocketed the phone and decided to let the whole problem marinate.
My next leg was 50 miles. I could have stopped in Bridgeville, but decided I had enough fluids so I bypassed that opportunity. Headwinds increased. Rain was intermittent. Legs got tired. Heart rate monitor acted up for a little while. Mostly I kept waiting for the miles to pass by and for me to get to a rest stop in Milton.
When it came, I was a mess. The woman at the Subway took pity on me. My answers came slow. I was in a daze. As I ate and drank my faculties quickly returned and I set my sights on working out the phone issues. I discovered I could use voice command to read and answer text messaging. I could ask for the location of the closest wi-fi. I went to the local coffee shop, sat on their wi-fi with my iPad (I was carrying it for the “convention” and notified people where I was and what happened.
With only 35 more miles to go, my spirits were lifted even as I encountered stronger headwinds. My speed was up and down, but I kept moving. Before I knew it I was finished with the 200k, (in just under 9 hours) and riding on a flat rear tire. It took a while to fix the flat. I first tried denial again. Sine the leak was slow, I reasoned, I might just pump it up and ride it to the hotel. That didn’t work. A 1/4 inch long wire had punctured the tire and tube.
With the flat fixed, I was on my way to the hotel. I used the “go to” function of the Garmin to locate the hotel. It wasn’t in the list. I tried to find the hotel. I couldn’t find it. All the details were … on my phone. I didn’t think to ask the voice command to give me directions. I found a hotel with wi-fi, went to my google mailbox where copies of all emails go. Had to reset the password (evidently I changed the password 9 days ago and didn’t update my file) and finally found the hotel 1 block from where I started looking.
It was a challenging day. I ended up with 137 miles. I think tomorrow is a rest day.

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