1 hour ago
After Sonny gave me a ride to Pomeroy Wednesday night, I checked into a hotel -- the kind that doesn't offer ice -- and spent the night and the morning futzing with back wheel. I finally changed the tube and reset the tire, and the wobble was gone, so I started out. The highway was replete with workers spreading pea-sized gravel on the road, and I had to wait in line with dozens of other cars as oncoming traffic took its turn on the one lane that was open. When my turn came a couple crew members threw my bike in a truck and I got driven across. Getting on, I thought: Finally I can ride.
I rode about four miles and had a flat.
I spent an hour by the side of the road changing the tube, looking so pitiable that a man driving a street sweeper gave me a bottle of gatorade and a bottle of cold water. I was pretty well supplied, but I took it nonetheless. Finally I started out again, and climbed to a summit (the lonely, distant house pictured above) -- just three or four miles on. There were warnings for truckers to check their brakes, and a sign warning of a steep, five-mile descent.
The road was wide, unlined, and filled with the new gravel. Trucks passed me honking, and I could only just hold on and hope they would give me space, and that I wouldn't lose my nerve. A mile and a half downhill my back wheel started to wobble. I wheeled to a stop by the guardrail to see that I had another flat.
My spirit broke. I became preternaturally calm. I'd blown through three tubes in a day, and had no more tubes, and inspecting the one I'd changed, I could not find the leak, in order to patch it. I started walking -- no shoulder, gravel roadsides -- and I stood still, clinging to the guardrail, whenever a truck came at me. I watched with a pleading eyes the pickups going my direction, hoping one would stop -- but, really, it would have been dangerous for any of them to stop.
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