Thursday, December 29, 2011

Flats, Falls, and Lost Keys

Wait a minute...what is THIS?

Two days in a row? What kind of nonsense is this Alice?

It's the kind of nonsense that occurs after an epic that should have been completed in about 2 hours, but which took about 7 hours start to finish.

To begin... Elsie, Betty, Wilma, the newly dubbed Dair-lyn (more on that latter) and yours truly set out at 8  o'clock this morning for the five cities tour--San Diego - National City - Chula Vista - Imperial Beach - Coronado. We've done this ride plenty of times. It was a completely gorgeous morning for a ride! It was Wilma's first ride with us (yay! first of many to come) and Dair-lyn's naming ride (only we wouldn't know that until later).
But before we even began riding, Betty handed me the tip of her presta valve...which she apparently had broken off when she was pumping air into the tires. While the OTHER part of the tip was holding air in the tire, I knew this wouldn't last for a long ride (or at all), so we decided to change the tube... After all, I'd brought my pump!

Yes...more adventures of the herd changing flat tires. We are good at that, remember?
Admit're loving the Ugg boots, aren't you?
Betty removed the tube, without breaking a nail!
Since we weren't quite sure how long the whole tire changing episode would take, and since Dair-lyn and Wilma were on commuter bikes, and because we ASSUMED they'd ride somewhat slower than us on road bikes, they took off while we were changing the tire.

This turned out to be not such a good idea BTW.

In fact, we changed the tire pretty quickly (maybe 20 minutes...which is a world record for us), then we set off. It was a little cool, but I wore my arm warmers and a new INCREDIBLY YELLOW bike shirt (that tank top was under the bike shirt. You can see the a part of the bike shirt in the photo's the yellow thing GLOWING in the corner. I'd taken it off so that I wouldn't get bike grease all over it).

The first five miles were relatively uneventful, although the first five miles of the ride are probably the most treacherous. Harbor Blvd is a well used road in the morning. It crosses both the entrance to the Naval Base at 32nd Street as well as the NASSCO shipyard. It's not very scenic and the road it pretty rutted up. Also, once we get past NASSCO, there are train tracks running at funny angles on the street...all in all...BUT once we get past the first 5 miles, it's a nice ride around the south bay.

Even though we weren't being very speedy, I figured we'd catch up to Wilma and Dair-lyn, and as we passed into National City, I could see Wilma waving to us from the side of the road. We pulled up and learned that poor Dair-lyn had gotten her front tire stuck in one of the train tracks, fallen, and clunked her head...pretty badly.

It was actually rather scary. She was a little disoriented and kept asking us what happened over and over. Wilma had gotten some ice and some water from a recycling place nearby. (good Samaritans...I think they have some on hand. They told her that bikers fall on the railroad tracks pretty regularly). The good news was that she wasn't throwing up, and although she couldn't remember falling, she was talking to us and was making sense. 

After a few minutes of trying to figure out what to do (should we call a cab? should a couple of us ride back to get the car? Her car was back in San Diego and she certainly couldn't drive). We pretty quickly decided to call her husband, who came with their son to get her and take her to a doctor (good news...she texted me that she went to the ER and had a CAT scan and is OK... but is probably going to have a hell of a headache tomorrow).

Her biggest concern at this point was that I made sure she looked good in the photo...that's our girl!
But...while we were waiting...and trying to make jokes to keep all of us from freaking the heck out, several other groups of riders stopped to make sure everything was OK. And best of all, Dair-lyn got her heffer-name, something she'd wanted since she went to San Francisco for the Nike 1/2 with us! 

We told her to be some point a heffer name would present itself to us...and it did today when one group of (shall we say) Senior women rode by and stopped to check on us. We talked to them for a bit, and one was named Dair-lyn...or maybe it was Darryl-Lynn, or maybe it was Darrylin...or maybe it was a woman with a really serious southern twang saying "daaarlin." In any event, we decided it was the perfect heffer name for the woman previously knowns as Cindy. 

Dair-lyn's husband arrived and took her home, then to the ER (ER Hell she texted me.) And like I said, she says she's fine. Her husband's new helmet will have to be replaced...and it shook all of us up a bit. 

Wear your helmets me!

So...two bad things had happened...what else could there be? Someone mentioned that we could just head back...but it was Wilma's inaugural we decided to go on. Needless to say, we rode very carefully back down the bay and over to Coronado, but like I said, the roads on the rest of the ride are in pretty good shape, and one of the best things about this route is that most of it is dedicated bike path..the kind where you are NOT sharing with cars.

Once we got to Coronado, we were STARVING (as it was by then about 11:30), so we went to our now favorite Coronado breakfast place, the Firehouse Cafe...unfortunately, it was no longer breakfast time.
Yes, we still had mimosas...and toasted to Dair-lyn
We ended up inadvertently having a pretty leisurely lunch...which was OK. We needed to catch the ferry to get back to San Diego, and the ferry from Coronado to San Diego leaves on the 1/2 12:30 came and went...and we finally got on the 1:30 ferry.
Wilma and Elsie looked VERY happy about not being on a bike seat at that moment
A truly spectacular day
I can't explain....
I'd pretty much predicted that I'd have a parking ticket when we got back because I'd parked in an unmetered 2 hour area. Even when I parked there, I was mostly hoping that I'd get lucky and get three hours without a ticket, but five hours? I thought that was pretty unlikely. I figured the parking ticket would be the third episode of back luck for the day (since bad things happen in threes), but that wasn't the third piece of bad luck...
Nope...the third thing was Betty saying "Hey! Where are my keys?"*


This is why we have AAA
Because sometimes we lock our keys in the car
All in all, it was a pretty good ride. The weather was absolutely stunning...even for SoCal. We were lucky that we've learned how to change a flat. We were very lucky that Dair-lyn** is OK. And we were really, very, lucky that Betty had locked her keys in the car and not dropped them somewhere outside the car. 

* Elsie would say that the fourth bad thing is that when she got back to her car, she didn't clip out of one of her pedals fast enough and fell again... that's twice. I hate to tell her about the bad things happen in threes rule.... shhhhhh

** BTW...Dair-lyn is a pain in the butt to look forward to me calling her DLyn for short.


  1. First in!

    It's nice to see that your awesome riding shirt is an official herd color.

    Glad to hear D-Lyn is okay. I am a big proponent of helmets. Especially after putting mine to the test a couple summers ago! Yes. Concussion, tons of stitches and cracked jaw, but I'm still alive!

  2. Gald DLyn is OK, but, more importantly, glad she has a Heffer name! :)

    Bonus points that you didn't get ticketed.

    Happy New Year!

  3. Welcome to the herd d-Lynn! Looking forward to better rides. Great to have Wilma (an original HEFFER) on the ride also.

    Thanks Alice for capturing another year of HEFFER adventures

  4. That is some ride you all had. I'm glad it ended well for one and all. Who wouldn't rejoice from escaping the parking police!

  5. What a day! Falling off the bike is my single biggest fear. Glad Dair-lynn is fine and it IS A pain to type.

    Keep at it - am so jealous of your weather.