Sunday, June 10, 2007

The law of averages or is that God speaking to me?

David Crowder Band, A Beautiful Collision,

Tammy was out of town with her mother and an aunt over the weekend. She'll put well over a 1000 miles on her wheels before she returns sometime tonight. I was able to get out and take advantage of some beautiful weather, if not just a bit breezy, for some nice rides over the last few days.

I got up early Friday morning to take the little guys for a walk so as not to leave them feeling neglected while I spent the day on my bike. I ran into a neighbor, Tom Ferguson, as we were finishing our walk. He was curious about my riding and wondered how I handled the occasional flat tire. I told him how flats weren't really much of a problem as I'd sometimes go over a thousand miles without flatting. I carry two tubes with me and seldom have I ever had to use them both on a ride. But what if I flat twice he wondered? Tom is a pilot for Northwest and I'm sure it's only natural for him to think in terms of worst case scenarios. I told him that if I were to flat 3 times during a ride that I have a patch kit I carry with me for just such a thing. I thought for a moment and realized that I actually didn't have the kit in my current ride's bike bag...it was on my other bike. Note to self...just to be sure, have the patch kit with me for today's ride.

I was on the road by 7:30 pressing into a northwest breeze. One mile from home I came upon a crashed motorcycle. The rider had already been ambulanced away and his bike was laying on its side on the shoulder while two police cars directed traffic.

I was intent on going long this day but wasn't sure just what that meant...hopefully something on the other side of 100 miles. I picked my way through to hwy 7 in Excelsior then headed west. I had gone this way several times last year and now find it to be one of my favorite rides with a mix of heavy traffic to rolling two lane highways with moderate amounts of traffic. Here's the route I took.

The wind kept me slowed for the first 55 miles but once I was able to turn my bike out of the wind I started making good time toward home. I had to add some mileage to the ride as hwy 212 was under construction east of Cologne. It forced me on to roads I otherwise wouldn't have taken but I was glad for the diversion.

Just south of Carver I had an older guy on a moped pull out onto the road ahead of me. I could see that he was watching me in his mirror as his head was cocked the entire time I was behind him. I found a flat stretch where I dialed the speed up and rode alongside then in front of him. In time I came to a steady climb and he left me behind.

Now I come to 'the law of averages or is that the voice of God speaking to me' part of this story. As I was telling my neighbor Tom...I seldom flat. Coming across the Minnesota River into Shakopee I flatted. No big deal. I was back on the road a few minutes later having changed out the rear tube. Not more than a dozen miles later I'm pushing through Prior Lake when I feel a sponginess in my tires. I figured it had to be something with the road's surface as the odds of flatting both tires at the same time were pretty slim. It wasn't the road surface. Both tires were going flat. I pulled over a bit disgusted as I just wanted to finish the ride now.

About this time a rider from Silver Cyclists rode by without so much as an 'everything okay?'

I found a tac in the front tire. I pulled it out and pitched it into some tall grass off to the side so it wouldn't make its way back to the road. It was a small puncture so I used my patch kit to make the repair saving my last spare tube for my rear tire. In my haste to repair the rear tire I didn't check to see if the object which caused the flat was still embedded in the tire. I slapped the new tube in, pumped it up and rode off only to find that I was experiencing my 4th flat of the ride a few moments later. I knew what had happened. Sure enough, there was a broken nail still sticking in the tire which had now gotten me twice.

Back on the road for the final stretch home trying to find a rhythm after being sidelined for much of the last 30 minutes. It was still a good day on my bike all things considered. I brought it in with just under 129 miles. I hope to continue going out for some longer rides on Fridays and possibly turn out a double century (200 miles) in the next month.

I got to thinking about the conversation I'd had with Tom before the ride and how it prompted me to make sure I had my patch kit with me on this ride for without it I would've been dead in the water trying to thumb a ride home the final ten miles from Prior Lake. Was it the law of averages which caught up with me? I've never experienced four flats in one ride. There is also another consideration and that is that the conversation with Tom was actually a prompting to be prepared for what I would experience later in the day. But it wasn't Tom who was prompting me. I speak with Tom maybe a couple times a year. Without our conversation I'd have most likely headed out that morning unprepared for what I would face. How else do you explain the events of my day? Coincidence? I prefer to believe that God talks to us in many ways and you have to be open to His urgings. Does God really care about my ride or whether or not I'm prepared to handle a flat tire? Yeah, I think He does. But that begs the question...why wouldn't God simply keep me from flatting in the first place? I think what it's really all about is that God dealt with me in a very simple way to show me that He's there with me not only in the small details but in the entire mix of my life actively prodding me.

Do you ever notice His influence in your life?

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