What a week and where do I begin??? I decided that it was pretty pertinent that I take a long bike ride today(we are talking 60-75 miles) since Tour de Roundo(100 mile ride) is next Saturday (Oct. 9) and I haven't been able to ride for almost 2 weeks due to my usual tire issues. For all you that know me well, I have a horrible habit of blowing tubes. And the funny thing is, until today, I have never been on my bike when the tire blew. As a matter of fact, when April and I rode together two weeks ago, she blew a tire that loudly went "PHPHPHPHPHHTTTTTT"! (actually I thought she farted real loud) and I graciously asked her, "So what is it like to be on the bike when the tire actually blows?" To help you better understand my bad luck, until today, my last two flat tires in the past two weeks(ooops, I meant three) occurred when my bike was either in the trunk of my car or just sitting in my garage! Back tire blew after a long 50 mile ride and and I was driving home with it in the back. Fixed that tire when I got home and noticed quite a bit of wear and tear on my front tire so I took it off my bike, put it in my car to transport to Main street Bicycle and that one blew in the back seat. Then, when my bike was propped up in the garage upside down with the tire forks up in the air (feeling very exposed, I am sure--hehehehe), my back tire goes flat,--again --all on its own( these tires have a mind of their own, I am telling you!!!!). Tried pumping it up but it wouldn't hold air. Changed it and it had a hole about an inch from the stem that was about 3/10 of an inch in diameter. So I changed that tire and he is doing fine right now (Should I go outside and check him???? No!) Anyway, when I started out on my bike ride this morning with April, I had two new tubes and one new tire (new tire on the front--keep that in mind!!) So it started out as a great morning, April and I riding down these beautiful Summerville roads and in beautifual weather! Couldn't ask for much more except a greasy cheeseburger and large fry! Around mile 35, while on Central Aveneue, I hear "Thump, thump, thump". I thought, "That sounds like Sheila's thump thump thump when we had to change her tire in front of Legacy Farms" (except I bet that is the only one of her two flat tires she has ever had to change. Hmmf!) So I pulled over and filled my front flat tube with my CO2 cartridge and it held the air! I was like whoa! Another first! Any other time, the air just flowed right out (like at Paris Island, right Scott?) Well I had to call April because she was riding hard and fast and did not realized I had stopped so I met her at the CVS on the corner of Central and realized most of the air had leaked out(obvious signs of a slow leak??). So I pulled out my second air cartridge and thought, "Ha! This will do it! If I can atleast get to the blinking light at Jedburg Road, I can walk home from there. So I filled her up, hopped on the bike, and as soon as I started pumping my little short, fat legs, I heard the thump, thump, thump!! So guess what!! This bike ride turned into a freakin' brick!! I ran/walked the last three miles home. Now April rode on to her house because I told her to and she offered to come and get me in her car, but I refused. And before anyone starts yelling at me, I know all of you would have dropped what you were doing to come and pick me up. I know that Tina, Sheila, and Kristin would have taken their lunch hours to do that for me, wouldn't ya'll have? But I was only three miles from home!! Well as I began my long journey of three miles home on scary Old Orangeburg Road, I began to get really angry. I kept having all these trucks with empty beds ride by, you know the big bubba trucks, the work trucks, the logging trucks, and the cement trucks, the many, many minivans, the Sports Medic transport van, and no one offered me a ride. I might have taken some stranger up on a ride offer. After all, I did have my can of mace that Bill makes me ride with. I'm not scared as long as I have my mace!!! But I mean, you know, we see cyclers on Orangeburg Road all the time but they are on their bike, not walking it like a dog. Oh and let me explain why I didn't try to change my tire. (Another story here but you will get the shortened version! Last night I had to go to Nason Mdical center to extract the very large splinter that I did not realize I had in my finger from the Mudrun. My fourth finger, third section was definitely infected but I had thought I had gotten the whole splinter out last Saturday. Well, Dr. Nason(nice looking man that he is!) sliced it open and pushed out this splinter that was as wide in diameter as an unsharpened pencil lead and 1/4 to 1/2 inch long!! Cost me $230.00 bucks! So not only did I use up my two air cartridges already, there is no way I could change a tire with that little blue tool and have to push and shove it with my right hand like this. (Maybe next week I can handle it when the next tire blows!) So back to the passing cars. Yep everything passed me including 3-4 people that I knew. Now maybe they didn't recognize me (I will give them the benefit of the doubt here). But again, how many bikers do you see with helmet on, Agility Racing shirt on, big bright pink bandaged finger, walking their bike down Old Orangeburg? Wouldn't I have turned your head for a second look??? I am sure my gut and butt were jiggling! But there is a good chance if I see these 3-4 people on the side of the road with a blown tire, whether it be on their car, bike, or shoe, I'm not stopping. No I will stop and say, "I don't mind stopping to help you even though you couldn't stop and help me the other day........") (just kidding). I 'd stop and not say anything unlike my husband who would stop and say a lot. So anyway, as I got to the four way stop at Butternut and Old Orangeburg the spirit spoke to me. He said, Alice, you dummy, you asked for this! Don't you remember! After blowing a tire in Paris Island, you prayed to Heavenly Father to help you learn all you need to know about the mechanics of your bike and how to change those skinny little tires (I like the tires on my car better and I wish those were even bigger but my husband is too cheap to buy me the ones I want--their like $400 a piece and hum when you ride....) And then I realized that is why I have had so many flats. Heavenly father is giving me practice!!!!! And being safe about because I haven't been on my bike when any of them blew! (For those of you that don't know, I am a very careful person and I have a lot of fears that I am overcoming everyday like riding bikes,and doing mudruns and stuff like that. (You should have seen me when I learned to swim! God bless Jessica!--she taught me how!) So that is what is going on! I figured it out. Because, you know, I have become a pretty good tire changer since March. By this time, I had reached the blinking light and I started giggling and counting my blessings. I am such a lucky person. If a flat tire is all I have to complain about, then so be it. I have no injuries to complain about. My feet feel good, my joints feel great. I don't have back problems. I breathe well. Just have a few mechanical issues! SO by now I am back in my neighborhood and this big cement truck pulls up and stops next to me. The guy looks out the window and says, "Girl! You are hot!" And I thought, "How am I supposed to take this? I AM hot after this little workout this morning". And then he continues on," Girl, you are smokin'! I saw you walking way down Old Orangeburg. You must be walking fast!" My first thought was,"A*&^*^!! Why didn't you offer me a ride then!!??" My second thought was to grab my mace and just start spraying. But i just giggled and said,"Yeah. I'm smokin'!" On a mechanical note, I am not sure why those tires keep going flat, but I have more practice than anyone else that rides with me when it come to those skinny tubes!! The holes have appeared in various places or no holes at all can be found. I have let other people change the tire in case it is the mechanic's issue (that would be me!) But I am done with it! I am taking my bike up to Main Street bike. For $15 dollars a wheel, they will change the tube, check the rim, and everything else and that includes the price of the new tube. Not bad. If I don't do this, I will spend that amount or more in tubes before the month of October is over. I mean, I pretty much already own stock in Kenda (the tube company) already! And then I am going to get me some closet time and spend a few minutes talking to Heavenly Father after I put my kids and Bill to sleep. I think it is time that I ask for a little mercy and let him know that I have a little more confidence in my tire changing abilities and to thank him for all these wonderful opportunities of flat tubes that he has given me. All you peeps that are riding with me next Saturday at the Tour De Roundo--I want you to make sure you have an extra air cartridge and an extra tube in the back pocket of your jersey just for me. And add an extra hour to your estimated finish time for tire changing purposes, just in case!!! Thanks for letting me vent!!! Did anyone read this whole thing????