Somewhere within Theodore Wirth Park, I heard a hiss-hiss-hiss sound and realized I'd blown a tire. I pulled off to the side and went through my pannier bag to find my spare inner-tube and bike tools. I popped the wheel off and quickly pried the tire off with a tire lever.
Several people called out as they passed by: "Got everything you need?" Yep, I said. I felt very scout-like, I was prepared!
Nevertheless, a man in an orange volunteer t-shirt arrived soon thereafter. Bob, one of the ride marshals, offered assistance. Much appreciated, since roadside repairs are a little different than garage/workshop repairs. He reminded me to check the inside of the tire for damage or debris that would puncture the replacement tube. It seemed OK. A couple more marshals stopped by, which was also helpful because we were having a hard time getting the wheel back on past the derailleur, in part because of my confusion around what high and low gear is on a bike.
Which, by the way, is the opposite of the terminology we use for automobiles. Which is, frankly, moronic. Seriously. Maybe there's some technical explanation, but it is not intuitive.
I was back on the road in just a few minutes. The day started out cold, but my hands were no longer numb and I was starting to feel good. Unlike the St. Paul ride, much of the route we took was familiar to me from my usual weekend outings.
Around mile 29 or 30 though: hiss-hiss-hiss. Not again! I pulled off to the side and checked the tire. This time, it was obvious: a big hole in the tire itself. Another participant called out: "Got everything you need?" The marshals could help me with a tube, but a tire? Maybe they could have, but it seemed less likely. Fortunately I was only a mile from home and, even better, only 2 blocks from Misfit Coffee. The pour-over Papa New Guinea there is my favorite local coffee.
Coffee in hand, I walked my bike home and locked it up, traded my biking shoes for running shoes, and jogged to the finish. Inspired by Ricky Bobby, from Talladega Nights. And after all, there was a free beer from Utepils waiting for me, and I'd told Bob I'd find him later to talk about the Tour of Minnesota ride.
So that's what I get for quadruple-patching a bicycle inner-tube! I stopped by the One on One bike shop later in the afternoon to pick up a new tire and 2 new tubes: a replacement and a replacement spare.
It was a beautiful day, and I regret nothing.