sfr400k: the series, and the rain, continue

I didn’t bring my camera along on this ride, and waited too long to write the report. So I will just make brief, passing mention of this ride here. I did enjoy it a lot, in spite of the intermittent rain that turned somewhat-risky pieces of broken glass in the shoulder and roadway into little magnets attaching themselves to all our tires the whole dang day. I heard one rider got six flats that day! I succumbed myself, but only once, displaying my poor skill level in replacing a tube. I don’t know how long that took exactly, and I don’t wanna know, but I do know my riding partner was extremely patient while I struggled with my ailing pump that would blow air everywhere except into the tube. Finally, Ben loaned me his pump and I fixed it. In my defense I can only say it’s been a really, really long time since I got a flat tire (lucky me, right?), and I have always carried my pump under the down tube of my bike, which got absolutely pummeled with rain and grit for about 20 hours on the previous ride.

So, that was my lowest point of the brevet. What were the highlights?

-got to ride with Ben G most of the day, whom I’ve ridden with before and is a very nice brevet companion;

-we both got rides home from the exceedingly kind and noble volunteers b/c we finished last and thus ended their shifts early;

-second lanterne rouge (last place) finish of the season, though despite this fact, I did not feel too bad throughout the ride and even caught some city limit signs from Ben (usually when he didn’t realize there was one coming up);

-some nice pictures of the day on Eric W‘s flickr.

-one other thing was… my gear woes. Actually, my amazing good luck despite some gear woes. The condition of my rims, which had well over 15000 miles on them at the opening of this brevet season, took a stark downward turn as a result of the rainy 300k in March. They prompted the following comment from at least two mechanics at Box Dog on the occasion of the most recent tune up: “rims are super done!!!!!” But there wasn’t enough time to get the wheels rebuilt before this ride. Knowing it would be rainy, my Most Frequent Riding Partner advised me to wipe my rims throughout the ride to keep grit from getting stuck in my brake pads. This led to the unfortunate situation of me not aiming correctly when wiping, and wearing down the sidewalls of my second-hand and already-well-loved Challenge Eroica tires. I did not realize that this was case until quite late at night when I got the flat, but I had been hearing a disturbing thwap-thwap sound all day, the origin of which neither Ben nor I could not find. But when I was fixing the flat, I noticed that the sidewalls were delaminating! I pretty much assumed that would be a ride ender at some point, but they actually held up for the entire rest of the ride and even getting home from BART the next day. Just in case you’re curious about what that might look like…

peeling sidewalls for ??? kms hmmmm

peeling sidewalls for ??? kms hmmmm

-still working on the sleepiness on the bike problem. successfully napped in the Petaluma Safeway for a good 15 minutes (never napped in public before!), but about half an hour after leaving the Safeway, was still drowsy on the bike. Ben and I tried to keep each other awake with chatting and stories, but I felt pretty uninspired to spin yarns at that late hour, and the pace was pretty low.

In spite of the difficulties, this was a great ride. I am definitely not sick of the standard SFR series. I enjoy how the rides build on each other and share some of the same roads. The Hopland 400k has the most departures from the others which makes it pleasurable. Joy Road, Occidental, Wilson Hill, Chalk Hill, and my favorite, Chileno Valley–all in one ride. I don’t care if it rains throughout every brevet this season, I still get so much enjoyment out of the rides. The sense of freedom I get from being on my bike all day, riding through all kinds of countryside, even in all kinds of weather, is really worth it!

Next up: SFR 600k, from San Francisco to Fort Bragg. Will I repair my ailing rims? Will I really be lanterne rouge this whole season? Will I nap at the Fort Bragg Safeway, or even want to? You’ll only find out here on mmmmbike!

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