356 days: Totally tubular

Quick recap: I have a plan to raise $10,000 for some awesome organizations by Sept. 22, 2013. While I train for Ironman Lake Tahoe.

The Ragnar team is now 3/12 full. Jennifer from the Ragnar team last year is on board! Looking for 9 more to join in on the fun!

Tomorrow is LIVESTRONG Day! If you missed my last two posts (Saturday, Sunday) you missed the chance to make me put my money on the line. But, wait, there are still 2 days left! Make me pay! Please don’t make me beg… Trust me, I am pretty good… I’ve been studying Theo’s methods, and boy is that puppy persistent!

How will you make me pay? Like this:

  1. I’ll match all donations through my Crowdrise page, dollar for dollar. 2 for 1 for LIVESTRONG donations.
  2. Post a pic to Facebook (or e-mail it to me) wearing LIVESTRONG gear or a bracelet. Or lots of yellow. Or ANY yellow. Tag me in the post and say that you’re wearing it to celebrate LIVESTRONG Day. I will donate $10 to LIVESTRONG.
  3. Go work out or train extra hard in honor of LIVESTRONG Day. Post about it on Facebook (or e-mail to me). Tag me in the post and say that you biked/ran/swam/elliptical trained/lifted/walked extra hard in celebration of LIVESTRONG Day. I will donate $10 to LIVESTRONG.

My totally tubular ride

Lauren and I celebrated our 9th anniversary a little over a month ago. And gifted each other tickets to ‘Book of Mormon’ at the Pantages Theater. For different nights. Uncoordinated efforts of ‘great minds thinking alike’. So, we found a buyer for one set and are headed to the show on Tuesday night of this week. On 10//2. Yes, on LIVESTRONG Day.

This means I needed to get in my celebratory ride this weekend. And boy did I have a doozy planned. 50+ miles around Palos Verdes. Crest the summit 4 times in 4 different places (one for each of the charities we are supporting here) – about 4,500+ feet of climbing. In the 90 degree heat.

My first climb to the top was to be up Silver Spur, continued up Hawthorne, and then Crest with a rapid & violent 55mph descent down Crenshaw. I cranked up the numbingly steep grind of Silver Spur. Blasted up Hawthorne. Was crushing Crest, but with only 100 meters to go until the left turn taking me to the gloriously wicked steep, liberating 2-mile descent down Crenshaw I heard the sound dreaded by every cyclist. PPPPPSSSSSSSSHHHHHH!

Yep. Flat. Drat! I almost NEVER get flats!

A couple of years ago I set aside my fears of riding tubular tires – the glue, etc – and made the plunge. The ride quality is amazing, and the tire/wheel setup is ridiculously light. And with the Tufo tape they are actually quite easy to mount and change out. Fill them up with flat prevention/repair sealant and these things almost never get flats. But when you do, and if it is a bad puncture, you are pretty much stuck since you can’t just pop in a new innertube (unless you carry a bulky backup tire and mounting tape. which I don’t).

Anyway, back to my story… I pulled over to the side of the road, removed the valve core, dumped in some more sealant, inflated the tire with a CO2 cartridge, only to hear the dreaded PPPPPSSSSSHHHH sound again… that gradually slowed down as the sealant kicked in. OK, I get it now… the puncture is bad. But it will hold at a low pressure. Excellent, I was only 10 miles from home and could put on a new tire when I got home. But, wait, I am on the top of a hill, with EVERY route home involving crazy steep (read: fast) downhill descents on an underinflated tire that could go on me at any second. AND the temperature readings on my computer have been showing road surface temps in the range or 90 to 100 all day – the types of temperatures that literally met the glue holding my tires on my rims.

Yeah. This wasn’t going to be fun. So, instead of that glorious 55+ mph descent, I rode the brakes down Crenshaw and had to keep myself at a moderate, safe pace the rest of the ride home.

So, if I couldn’t get in my epic ride in celebration of LIVESTRONG Day, what could I do to finish this off appropriately? Turn this ride into a brick! Bike-to-run. Every triathlete dreads these, but they are a necessary part of the training regimen.

I got home – 25 miles on the bike, one nasty set of climbs, and one nasty puncture that, thankfully, didn’t completely fail so I could get home safely – and followed that up with a 5-mile run along the beach. In the heat of the day.

At the end of the day, I can’t think of a better way to have celebrated LIVESTRONG Day. Start with a brutal plan. Overcome a potentially debilitating obstacle. And turn it into something even more brutal… and great. The very essence of LIVESTRONG.

Let me know how you plan on celebrating LIVESTRONG Day tomorrow. Or did you already?

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