Band of Brothers: Flying Wheels Edition

When I got back from Hawaii I checked my training schedule to see what sort of torture Teresa had in store for me that weekend. She wanted me to do the Flying Wheels century ride, so I met my teammates at Marymoor Park at about 7:45 am on Saturday to get situated. I hadn’t thought much of the ride going into the workout and just figured a steady bike ride in zone 1-2 would be a piece of cake compared to the windy hellfest I endured in Hawaii the week before.

Once I got there, however, I realized that the ride would be much crappier than I initially figured for a couple of reasons. First of all, my mind still must have been in warm, humid Hawaii mode because I was underdressed for the ride. The weather report said it would get to low 60’s but the entire day was overcast and I remained half-frozen throughout the entire workout. Secondly, before I even started the ride I realized my front tire was partially flat. I found that perplexing since I had pumped up my tires before I left my house, but instead of switching out the tube right there like a smart person would have done, I just had the REI dudes re-pump it up and hoped the mysterious disappearing air pressure was just a fluke.

Spoiler alert: it wasn’t. I got a measly 40 minutes into the ride and was following my friend Kirsten up a hill when I noticed that I was working harder than usual to keep up with her. I started to wonder if my front tire had gone flat again when some dude behind me yelled, “Hey, your tire’s flat!” Guess that solved the mystery. I sighed and pulled over, watching Kirsten ride further away from me until she was out of sight. Tire Change Mode, activate!

Unfortunately, Tire Change Mode was less Optimus Prime-y and more Herpy Derpy since my hands were frozen and resulted in a profound lack of dexterity. A five-minute job turned into 10+ as I fumbled to get the tire loose. Two of my teammates, Lyset and Ashley, stopped to help and were super patient as I rained expletives down on my stubborn wheel. When I finally got the new tube in, I promptly blew through a cartridge because I can never remember how to work the damn valve thing right, and I also freezer-burned my hand because I forgot that cartridges are full of COMPRESSED FREAKING AIR and was holding it like a moron while it was leaking all over the place. Thankfully, I had a backup cartridge and managed not to waste that one. Success!

I rode with Lyset for a while and then we parted ways. When I rolled up to the first aid station, I figured I had to be at the halfway point because I had been riding for like an eon already. I pumped up my front tire the rest of the way at the REI tent, inhaled some chomps, and glanced at my watch, expecting to see something like “3:00:15.” It read “1:30.” Son of a bitch!

The never-ending ride continued. I was starting to feel a bit lonely since I had lost my teammates, so I’d tuck in and draft behind random groups of cyclists before leapfrogging to the front in an effort to find someone I knew. When I got to the fork that split the 100-mile riders from the 65-milers, I had a Choose Your Own Adventure moment where I seriously contemplated saying “Screw this ride” and cutting it way short so I could go home and watch movies with Jason instead of trudging on for four more hours. Ultimately, my conscience guilted me into doing the full 100. Stupid conscience.

I pulled into the aid station at the mid-way point, hating life and cursing this dumb sport, when I heard “Rebecca!” and looked up. Several of my teammates waved at me. My reaction:

They like me! They really, really like me!

I was so thrilled and thankful that they all waited for me to catch up. What an awesome team. Seriously. You should be jealous of this tri team because we’re spectacular.

Reuniting with my teammates gave me a second wind and the second half of the ride went better than the first. The only downside was the fact that some fluffy white shit was all over the place and kept destroying my allergies. When I wasn’t sneezing every 45 seconds, I had a steady stream of snot dribbling out of my nose. Nothing takes the fear factor out of un-glamorous acts such as going to the grocery store in sweatpants like training for an Ironman–my red eyes, my raw, crusty nose, and a caked-on layer of mucus all over my face really brought all the boys to the yard.

By the time we hit the penultimate aid station, all of us were pretty tired of the century ride. We took turns squabbling over how much further it was, but nobody knew the exact distance since all of our odometers were reporting different mileage. After a while we all started to sound like Great Depression-era migrant workers pining for a better life on the west coast:

Eric: “I bet they have food at the finish! Real food, too–none of this ‘gel’ and ‘bar’ nonsense.”

Bill: “I’m pretty sure we’ve only got 20 miles to go!”

Kirsten: “And it’s all downhill from here!”

We were like the immigrant mice in An American Tail who were convinced there were no cats in America–a better life is just around the corner! You just wait and see!

Finally, finally, we returned to Marymoor Park. I was done with this ride–I got a flat tire, I was freezing, my allergies were kicking my ass, I was hungry for real food, I desperately needed a shower. It was one of those mentally tough motherfuckers of a workout, and I was beyond relieved to be done. I honestly gotta thank my teammates for bailing me out of this one–they really helped boost my spirits and get me through the workout. It was a tough day to be a triathlete but a good day to be a TN team member.

2 Responses to “ “Band of Brothers: Flying Wheels Edition”

  1. Karin says:

    I definitely found out in Hawaii what an awesome team this is! So nice to have that support.

  2. teresa says:

    I love all you guys!!! Yeah, chalk this one up in the ironman bank (got that from Linsey).


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