Headwinds & Flats

Just a not very satisfactory morning. Wolfed down some leftover chicken as I was getting ready to leave for work and it triggered that allergic reaction I’ve written about finally self-diagnosing in the past in which my esophagus basically plays the Black Knight and closes up in full “None. Shall. Pass.” mode.

So I spent the next hour wearing myself out hacking, gagging and coughing the chicken back out of me. It normally doesn’t take that long, because I’ll normally sense when the reaction starts and wisely stop eating. This time I was running around getting my crap together and just gobbling the half a chicken breast barehanded like a cro-mag. So by the time I recognized the symptoms it was all jammed in down there, and subsequently it all had to come out.


I should’ve just notified my superiors that I was gonna work from home — which I’m gonna start to do officially next week — but see, if I bike to work every remaining day this week, my last day in the office will see me break the 2,000 bike miles barrier for the year so far.

So once my esophagus relaxed and I’d recuperated enough from that ordeal onto my bike I went, and it was headwinds the whole freakin’ way in. To add to my misery, I flatted at 4th Street and Westminster — on top of flatting last night on the way home by LA City College.

When it rains it pours. But whereas last night’s flat was a result of a poorly sealed patch on the tube, this morning’s flat wasn’t the result of any bad innertube repair. It was this fucker sitting there on the tip of my filthy index finger, yanked from the inside of the rear tire that it had wormed its way through the tread (click for the bigger picture):

Putting my hopes on a doomed-to-fail stick-on patch getting me the remaining 11 miles to work, I set out again into the headwinds that found me whether I was pedaling south or west.

The patch failed at Venice Boulevard in Culver City. Not wanting to patch again and without any other spares I had confidence in I rode slow on the mostly deflated tire to Palms Cycles and ordered me up five new tubes.

“Five?” the clerk asked in surprise.

I was in no mood to justify or be explanatory or cordial. “Is that a problem?” I asked.

Dude shook his head and rung me up. Then I went outside and swapped out the flat rear tube for one of the new ones and the rest of the way to work was uneventful, save for the incessant headwinds.

Of course, after arriving I tweet vented my frustration about the winds and the flats and a follower tweeted back wondering what kind of tires I was using because he commutes pretty much every day and has had something like two flats in seven years.

Don’t tell me that. I don’t wanna hear that. Shit like that makes me ornery.

Why? Because today’s two flats were Nos. 10 & 11 for 2010. I think I had something like 34 last year. I’m a flat magnet. Two in seven. Pesh. Good for you, but keep that factoid to yourself.

The irony is, I’m rolling on a pair of Gatorskins, purported to be one of the toughest, flat rejecting tires around. But the reality of rolling 2,000 miles back and forth across Los Angeles in four months is that unless I opt for solid rubber, it doesn’t matter what shoes my 8Ball is wearing: I’m gonna get waaaaaay more than my fair share of flats.