Finally ponied up and had enough courage to attend the Bistra Roca group ride last night. Did that ride one year ago and it crushed me. Serious group of cyclists who climb out of Blowing Rock and onto the Blue Ridge Parkway. Thirty miles of pain. I left about 90 minutes early for the 5:30 pm ride. Garmin took me to a very wrong place, was reading a "drive" instead of a "trail." Called the restaurant and got bad directions, so drove around aimlessly in frustration.
It was 5:15 and I thought all bets were off. Said to myself, "God if I'm going on this ride, you have to get me there."
A Mini Cooper with a Kestrel on top drove by. I spun a U and chased after him, and a few turns later turned into the restaurant parking lot with four minutes to spare (I hate to be rushed and flustered). Got out, got ready, and hit the road.
The ride was good. I was good. Climbed well and hung with some of the bigger dogs. We reconfigured and went onto the Blue Ridge Parkway as a peloton. All good, once again I was tucked into the pack and drafting when:
I know the sound of a puncture flat, and this wasn't that...I had completely blown the sidewall out of my rear tire. Riders rolled by shouting "all OK?" and I waved them past. I had two tubes and didn't think they'd fix the problem, so I stood on the parkway wondering how to get home.
Part two of miracle story: A large SUV pulled up. It was a couple on vacation from Little Rock, Arkansas. They were headed in the opposite direction to Boone, but offered to load my bike on the carrier and transport me back to Blowing Rock. I offered to buy dinner for the favor, but they declined. Just nice people doing a nice thing.
So from then until now, it's all been a bustle of activity. I need to get new tires on for the ride tonight, another group that will head out on the east side of town. Run and ride. The best parts of life in one.