Monday, August 4, 2008

My absentmindedness

Whenever I'm meeting someone else for a ride, I start getting ready about 5-10 minutes before I actually need to start getting ready. Or rather, 5-10 minutes before I should actually need to start getting ready. This is because I am absentminded and will undoubtedly spend that last 5-10 minutes coming back into the house to retrieve something I should have had with me in the first place, whether it's my heart rate monitor strap, water bottles, or cell phone (I've only had to make the call of shame once, but I never ride without it just in case).

So on Thursday afternoon, when we packed up to spend the weekend in Utah, I went through my mental list of things to bring several times. Realistically, this shouldn't be a mental list, but a real one, either laminated and hung prominently on the wall of my garage or tattooed to my forearm. But the list is still mental, which means it's prone to omissions.

This time I forgot my floor pump. Since we were staying at my sister's house, it also meant no access to one. At my parents' or most of my other siblings', there's at least one cyclist in the house. I'm sure this will change for my sister and her family, living as they do right at the mouth of American Fork canyon, but for the time being, there are no cyclists resident. Which means no floor pumps.

On Friday morning, I took off to ride over and back of Suncrest. I thought I'd be OK, since I'd just pumped up my tires on Thursday morning for a ride. I even theorized that since we had gone up in elevation going from Boise to Utah that the pressure in my tires would have been greater than they would have been at a constant elevation.

Everything felt fine as I pedaled through Alpine, into Highland, and towards the hill. I got to the top and noticed there was quite a wind blowing. Those of you familiar with Suncrest know that the south side tops out at about an 8% grade, but the north side is a consistent 10% grade pretty much top to bottom. As I began my descent, I didn't like the wind, but I thought it would be OK. Then as my speed increased, a good gust hit me, and I got the wobbles. Could not keep the front end under control. It got so bad that I slowed all the way down and checked to see if my quick release was sufficiently tight.

I tried descending again, but the wobbles soon returned. Then I remembered the tires. Between the wind and the under-inflated tire, I simply couldn't keep the bike from shaking. Of course, once the front end starts to shake, I get nervous, which does not help me to relax and just let the bike go. So I ended up riding the brakes pretty much all the way to the bottom. Thankfully on my descent of the South side, there was less wind and a flatter grade, so I made it back without incident.

I wish there were some way I could buy my sister a floor pump for Christmas without it being obvious that the gift was really for me.


  1. Just order a pump online and have it show up at her house.

  2. Mark,
    I will get you a scrap book kit for your blog if you buy Kat a floor pump!
    Oh, I " fill" so blessed!


  3. If you have ridden Suncrest more than a handful of times you have experienced wobbles so bad that you have dismounted and checked your front quick release. I bet I even know the exact spot that it happened. The bottom of the big left bending turn right where the mountain opens up to your right and the road flattens out slightly? There is a crosswind right there that has made me pucker a few times myself.

  4. Karyn - deal.

    Steve - that's the spot.

    Kanyon Kris - see deal with Karyn--good suggestion.

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