Flat Out?

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July 20, 2005 at 10:41 am

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Inexplicably, I developed (another) flat front tire after riding the

yesterday evening with Justin and Joel.

While we did a little mountain biking, 90% of the ride was on paved trail and streets, and I don’t recall riding through or even near any tire-puncturing hazards on the ride!

Anyway, since that makes two flats in about ten days’ time, I dropped my Tassajara off at BikeWorld for not only a repair of the flat, but also adding

to both tires for puncture-protection.

I seem to be the flat tire inducer of our riding group, between bad luck and my propensity for !

And, yes, bike geeks, I do plan on learning how to repair my own flats at some point. Given that it costs less than $5 to have pros do it, however, I’ll probably be letting them do it for awhile… especially while my bike’s still getting broken in.

Since the bike’s in the shop anyway, they’ll do the routine maintenance on it so hopefully my chain will not clank like it’s about to fall off when I go on Thursday night’s

ride. The chain clank was really throwing off my cadence during yesterday night’s ride, and causing me to shift to a less efficient gear just so the noise would cease!

Both of my knees hollered during the ride, in part due to the changing air pressure thanks to Hurricane Emily, but primarily due to my seat post continuing to slip downward halfway through every ride.

I love the bike and BikeWorld’s technically savvy staff, but I do want to issue a swift shin kick to whomever over-lubed my seat post.

I had been cleaning off the seat post after every ride, but now I’m thinking the dirtier and grittier that excess lube gets, the more likely the seat post will finally stay put!

I’ve got it cinched on as tight as feasible, without being impossible to adjust by hand.

My other issue with the bike is one that I’m still fumbling over with my mind, trying to figure out if it’s my poor posture/form, bad seat adjustment (angle, not height), or if the handlebars are actually too broad for my upper body.

When I got fitted for the bike, I tried out both a Tassajara GS (women’s) model and the unisex model I ended up purchasing.

The differences in the GS frame didn’t suit me since I’m not a petite gal, but the female sales associate that helped me did mention that if I had problems with the handlebars being too far apart, they could “chop them down”.

Sounds like an aggressive decision, but the more I ride the more I feel it in my hands and shoulders.

For instance, even with padded biking gloves on, my right hand is going numb on every ride and then remaining in pain for a day or two post-ride.

The pinky finger remains partially numb for the entire time — part numb, part achy and painful.

No good.

More generously padded gloves are in my future (may get some when I get my bike back from the shop; DONE! New gloves have thick gel pads vs. just foam), but I think the root cause is the handlebars. I’ve looked at other riders’ rigs, and I’m not sure anything I’ve seen would solve my issue.

I’d hate to blindly drop another hundred bucks on, say, a new handlebar setup — either risers, a different center post or bar ends for varied grip options.

I noticed another local bike shop near our house has a cool bike trainer setup where a rider can park their bike on the stand, mount the bike and pedal and shift normally, all while being taped with a video camera. It’s used to help riders (presumably mostly competitive riders) identify and correct any deficiencies in their riding posture.

I feel like that’s something I might need, to determine where my issues are.

Far too many of my passions seem to aggravate my tenosynovitis (inflammation of the tendon sheath) in my wrists, causing pain, numbness and weakness.

So far, I’ve got the following activities directly aggravating my wrist pain: photography, especially aerial since I do so many contortions to get shots; computing; bicycling.

About the only wrist-friendly activity I love is hiking, it seems!

Anyway, enough bike chatter for now.

Yesterday’s ride really kicked my butt for some reason. I suspect the heat and humidity were the primary causes — my body really shuts down in hot weather (as evidenced by my

in Palo Duro Canyon many years ago).

However, I’m sure it didn’t help that I’d been sitting on my ass playing World of Warcraft for hours yesterday, and that I had not gone riding since last week’s Thursday downtown ride!

Speaking of World of Warcraft, I’m now at level 14 and have just figured out the gryphon transportation — too cool!

Unfortunately, the game can get very laggy on my 2Ghz desktop which I for some reason thought was still pretty state of the art.

It doesn’t take much to plant the “I need a new computer,” seed in my brain, so I may start squirreling away money so I can purchase a new desktop in the future. I don’t need a monitor, nor do I need hard drives or DVD and CD rewritable drives.

I wish I had the time and know-how to just build my own PC, because I’m reaching the stage where that would truly be the most cost-effective option.

Maybe I can wrangle my brother’s help so I can do that.

One thing I definitely do need is a new video card (mine’s fine — 128MB GeForce 4, I believe — but when upgrading I always want the latest video available) and I need more RAM.

I’m running at 512MB and would like to finally operate with 1GB.

Thankfully, that can be added later — a faster processor is really my primary, immediate need.

Okay, okay. Geek speak, bike chatter and knee talk all in one post. My work here is done!

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