Sunday, November 4, 2007

Solvang Prelude, Nov 3 2007

For the last 15 years or so I have made the trek to Solvang, California for their annual Century ride in March. For the last 3 years I have ridden a single speed, the last 2 on a fixie. Last year was the first year I missed it in about 13 years due to five broken ribs from a crash about a month earlier that pretty much kept me off bikes for about 6 weeks. This drove me to ride the Metric Century Prelude this weekend. As you may have heard LA is experiencing some dry windy weather. Although the Santa Ana’s don’t blow as far north as Solvang, if cool mornings and warm breezy mid-mornings is your idea of perfect riding weather, then the weather was perfect. The highlights of the ride were three fold.

1)My best friend Mike’s new Fetish fixie; red with ENO cranks and Mavic track wheelset. I hate the term but that is a sweet bike.

2)My ill-conceived attempt at using toe-clips. I bought some Soma double straps and double toe clips. The shoes where some Adidas Classic Pro with MKS toe Clip cleats. First the cleats were almost impossible to insert while riding. Second the straps are the new Vegan style (I’m not kidding). They are 1/3 thicker than standard laminated straps and nowhere near as nice as the MKS (NJS) version. It was all I could do to thread them through the pedals and then they started delaminating. They will go back to Soma and from now on it’s back to Look pedals for me.

3)The third was the ultimate flat tire story. After only 10 miles I got a rear flat tire (I rarely get flats and never at Solvang). I pulled over and after removing the tube, pulled out my Zepal frame pump (the best blankity-blank frame pump on the market; I'll explain later) Anyway, this was the first time I had used the pump and it was set in the Schrader mode. As I open up the nozzle to switch the innards, the pin on the lever popped out into the brush on the side of the road. The best blankity-blank pump on the market was now the best blankity-blank expandable dog club on the market. One thing about roadies, is they always want to be sure you have everything you need to fix a flat. Even on a sponsored ride, everyone of the 2000 riders ask, “you all right?”, “got everything you need?”, “need any help?”; “yeah, yeah, no… “ Anyway, the first person I actually said, “need pump” to was a portly Hispanic guy named “Ramon”; a very helpful fellow who seemed to be an expert on my Zepal pump; “best blankity-blank frame pump on the market”. So, while I was trying to use the 10 inch frame pump he was carrying, he miraculously found the pin for my pump! I would have kissed him if I knew him better. Anyway, after too many “Dude you rock” and “Viva la Raza’s”, Ramon was on his way and so was I; for about 50 feet, when my tire went flat again. Humph. About this time Mike showed up, coming back from the top of Ballard grade (Had I known how far back you were I would have just waited for you). Also, the sag wagon arrived with Mr Blankity-blank (the kind that uses blankity-blank as a verb).

So you got a blankity-blank flat tire, too blankity-blank bad. Do you need a blankity-blank tube? Oh you got a Zepal pump? Best blankity-blank pump on the market. I tell Mr Blankity-blank that I just fixed a flat and I suspected there was something in the tire I missed. He looked at the tire and pointed out a small hole left behind by some long since removed road hazard. Well there’s blankity-blank problem, you see that blankity-blank hole? Your blankity-blank tube will get sucked into that blankity-blank hole and cause a blankity-blank flat; that’s what you call your blankity-blank pinch flat. You’re gonna need to put a blankity-blank patch on that hole. Mr blankity-blank then pulls out a bag full of tubes and as he goes through them he starts yelling out, “What the blankity-blank is this? They send me out to help these blankity-blank riders, and all I got is blankity-blank mountain bike tubes!” About this time some rider stops behind the SAG wagon and asks to use a pump. “Hold you blankity-blank horses and I’ll get you a pump” and Mr Blankity-blank then walked to the rear of the SAG wagon and out of sight. It was at this time I discovered there was a passenger in the SAG wagon. I never saw him, but I heard this phantom voice say, “Yep you got yourself a pinch flat”.

Mr Blankity-blank then returned complaining; blankity-blank, they gave two blankity-blank pumps that don’t work, hey buddy, can I use your blankity-blank pump? A Zepal, best blankity-blank pump on the market. I then handed the pump to Mr Blankity-blank, and he disappeared behind the SAG wagon again. While we were waiting for Mr Blankity-blank to return, Mike dug a small piece of glass from my tire and managed to find the holes in both tubes. I patched the tubes, re-mounted the tire and put in one of the patched tubes. Mr Blankity-blank returned and asked if I wanted to buy a patch; I said no. Well, it blankity-blank looks like you know what you’re doing, with that blankity-blank pump and all, I’ll be blankity-blank on my way. As the SAG wagon pulled away, Mike finished pumping up my tire. As he pulled the pump off the valve stem, I hear this psssssssssssssssssss; what the blankity-blank was that? Ahh, the valve stem just broke off; blankity-blank? Turns out Mike had a brand new tube that we installed and there were no more tire problems for the rest of the ride.

We had a great time and will be back in March for the Century. Hope you had a blankity-blank good time reading this and remember it’s all about the blankity-blank ride!Brad

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