Today was as promised, the perfect grey, grimy, winter day. The fog was so heavy en route to the ride that I had to use my windshield wipers. I prepped myself and the bike under the porch at Joe's Bike Shop, while it went from foggy, to pissing and spitting rain. A brief motion to drive to Munson was squelched by a long missing K.W.. We're not sure if he had an aversion to Munson, or was just afraid that if he got back in his car, he'd return home.
We rolled out in the rain with a plan to ride the Greenway first, and then work our way around to Pedrick, The Cadillac Trail, Tom Brown, Fern, etc. Unfortunately, this plan took us through a fair amount of pavement right out of the gate, and the standing water on the roads had me wetter than I wanted to be so soon. As soon as we hit the woods, things got better. The tree cover kept the rain from being as invasive. Within a 1/2 mile of the rooty dirt roads, Little Ball's cyclocross bike decided it wanted to be on top for awhile, so she pitched quite cleanly. It was probably the quietest crash I've ever seen. If nothing else, that Ball kid sure can crash smoothly!
All was well as we traversed the next section of pavement, and started through the vineyards. Down the long hill on the vineyards cut-through road, there was loud bang! I knew someone's tire had blown, but in the microsecond before my rear wheel got squirrelly and tried to pass me, I had just enough time to wonder, "Who had the flat?". Imagine my excitement to realize it was me.....again. My back wheel kept trying to pass me on either side as I slowly wrestled her to the grass. When I changed the tube, I come to find out the tire casing has separated from the bead. tried several methods to boot the tire and reinflate, but the tear is too long, and in a really bad spot. I tried to convince the crew to roll out, and I'd call for a ride home, but they were having none of it! They probably figured that if they had to suffer the weather, I needed to suffer, too. A quick call to Little Ball's dad, Big Ball, and rescue was on the way! (Now just a quick note. It's Sunday morning and nasty outside. You're warm and dry at home, getting ready to watch whatever your favorite sport is on TV. The phone rings and you get a request to get dressed and bring a spare tire to the other side of town, so that a friend, who doesn't have enough sense to stay inside in this weather, can keep riding. What do you do? I know what most people would do! Ken is a stand up guy, and I'm in his debt!)
Tire repaired, and appropriate (and inappropriate) heckling commenced, we're off again. The remainder of the ride was uneventful for the most part. At one point, Big Mark tried to tackle a tree with his head. But unfortunately, we all missed seeing it, as all these wet roots still give him a fit, so he was bringing up the rear. His skills are definitely improving, though. The wet roots of Cadillac will give anyone a little surprise dirt kiss from time to time, and at each regroup he was closer than expected.
This day was definitely one of those H.T.F.U. rides, and I'm thankful to the crew for being patient so I could finish it out!