Saturday, July 11, 2009

House of Puncture Vine

I exited the BART in Walnut Creek to find Anthony getting off the same train. I always have difficulty finding my bearings outside the Walnut Creek station, so welcomed having someone to follow. We were both there for the same purpose: the House of Pain.

Well, almost.... he was doing "House of Pain Lite", a less maniacal version of the ride. Or should that be "The House Of Mild Discomfort"? Maybe another time for me. Today I wanted to throw myself at the mercy of the real deal. Ben's spoken highly of it: an East Bay hammerfest, a chance to acquire some heat adaptation not likely available from Roasters.

We rode together to Danville Peet's, arriving around 8:40 am. A decent group was there for the Lite ride, and they were soon gone. I waited basically alone for a group to congeal for the main ride, analogous to the group which picks up Spectrum from Los Altos Peet's, but nothing really formed. I guess most of the riders go to the Park and Ride, or meet it along Danville before the ride turns onto Railroad where Peet's lives.

The ride finally arrived around 9:20 am. I joined in near the front. No pain yet -- it was easy spinning through downtown Danville. What awaited? I would soon find out, I suspected.

But I suspected wrong. Less than a mile after starting, my rear wheel went suddenly flat. I pulled over to the side of the road, causing some distress in riders behind I'm afraid, to inspect. The ride moved on, I got off my Ritchey, and looked at the tire.

Almost immediately I found the thorn. The most and justifiably feared puncture vine. But with such a localized puncture I'd be able to patch it almost as quickly as I could replace it. But wait -- not far away I found another. Then another. My tire was full of them. One by one I pulled them from the rubber, only to find more. I realized then that this wasn't looking good for my front tire either. Not surprisingly, it was also flat. Only one spare tube, and these tubes were going to be beyond any sane patch job. So it was back to Peet's for me, grab the vest (needed for the ride to 16th St BART) and the journal (needed for the BART ride itself) I'd stashed in one of their cabinets, then find a bike shop for new tubes.

Which I easily found: Pegasus Bicycle Works had just two weeks before opened their new shop next door. To salvage something from the day I found my way to South Gate Road, rode the Diablo summit, then home via North Gate and Pleasant Hill BART. A decent ride, after all. Maybe I'll be back next week and hope for better luck.

I never did figure out from where I picked up all those thorns.

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