The Day's Energy

Slipstream made its debut today with my 14-mile commute into work. Although the weather was perfect, my gut was telling me to drive in for some reason. I should have listened to my gut. It's correct 99.2% of the time. And if the gut was wrong then there's usually a foretelling event early enough in the morning to sway me in another direction. Experiencing something out of the norm or uneventful early enough in the day allows me to see where I jumped off track and to quickly get the day back on the rails it's supposed to be on. A flat tire within the first mile of the commute is an example of such an early event. One, if you notice it as such an event and two, you act on such an event. Within the first mile you can turn around, go home, change clothes and start the day over by driving to work.

I ignored the sign. So flat one was fixed and that left one air cartridge left with one spare tube and some patches.

As I had a meeting scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Looking at my watch I still had plenty of time, even with the flat to make it to work, get some breakfast tacos and coffee and make it to the meeting. And then I took a wrong turn. My gut said to go east for another two blocks and then catch S. 5th Str going northward. Except I went left and tried to take a sort cut through a neighborhood. It sent me five miles in the wrong direction.

I regrouped after I saw the street I used to take into work. A little busier traffic-wise but doable. I wasn't five minutes on the road and I had another flat. I parked the bike at the bus stop and changed the second flat. I used the remainder of the second air cartridge but it wasn't enough. I had to ride out of the saddle until I could get to a bike shop.

As I approached the bike shop there weren't any cars in front of the doors. Noticing the hours posted on the front window the shop didn't open until 10:00 a.m. So much for supporting the commuters. I decided to ride another mile over to Lance Armstrong's shop called Mellow Johnny's. As they support the commuters I knew they'd be open.

They were open. Bought some air. Bought a tire. Broke a tire iron. Used one of Mellow Johnny's tire irons. Paid the equivalent of a full tank of gas. Packed up and went on my way.

I looked at my watch and it was 9:45 a.m. Late for the meeting I reajusted my expectations of getting to the meeting, of eating breakfast tacos or making coffee. I just wanted something positive to manifest itself in front of me. To have something to laugh at, admire, aha at. Something. Anything.

I arrived at the office parking lot with loose handlebars. That was not my sign. It was more of the same. I took it as a sign not to burst into the meeting late. I sat at my desk while cooling down and knocked out a quick article for one of the publications. As I sat there I knew something had to be done to change the energy of the day. This was definitely the most expensive commute I'd ever had and quickly hovering close to the worst commute, except for getting hit by the truck or the lady who ran me into the curb where I cut my ankle up pretty bad. No, those were way up there as the two worst commutes and three flat tires weren't even close to knocking them off their pinnacle of bad commutes.

I got a phone text request for lunch. That'll do it I thought. A good lunch can always change the energy. It did. The whole afternoon was bliss. The second meeting of the day went well. People were good to work with. The day had the Friday energy back. The commute back home was going to be tremendous. Until.

Until I heard a sound. It sounded like something fell off the shelf and there was the sound of air at the window. A minute later my coworker says, "Tony, I think your tire just went flat. I felt a breeze in my hair, I looked around and watched the back tire go from full to flat."

Crap. So much for a change of energy. I called for an extraction. Packed up Slipstream into the SUV. Took it home. Crawled into bed.

Sometmes the only way to change the energy of the day is to change the day.

BTW, Slipstream is the newest old bike added to the fleet. It's a freewheel single speed on a an old steel Schwinn frame.

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