Just wrote a long, and very witty (I can assure you) diatribe about my afternoon. Unfortunately, I was writing it in my browser, which I shouldn't have been doing, and when I went to copy it before posting it, just to be safe, my finger hit the wrong key and my evening went the way the entire afternoon went.
Pithier version: After weeks of being sick, I finally felt well enough to ride today. Took the bike out despite the tires feeling soft. Got about 15 minutes out into the hills and realized they really were soft, and I was going to do some rim damage if I kept on the road I was on and didn't pump them up. So, stop in the shade, take down the little miracle pump, start sawing away at the back tire, and *POP* goes the valve. (A person who hasn't had the afternoon I've had might have made up a very cute little "pop" graphic. I am not that person.) Luckily, I was a Boy Scout, and although I mostly learned that you never, ever let other Boy Scouts know you're about to spend some quality time in the outhouse, I also learned to be prepared. Either that, or I just hadn't ever bothered to take the spare tube out of my little bag. In any event, I had a spare tube. Aren't I clever. However, I haven't changed a tire in this decade. Or the one that came before it. And my tube was kinda generic-sized, rather than a perfect 700-25. There was much experimentation, I can tell you. The correct answer: A little air in the tube, one wall of the tire entirely in the rim, less air in the tube, then squeeze that bastard for all you're worth. Total time of experiment: 30 minutes. In 90 degree heat. On a lonely road with a dog barking at me. But I got that thing on, and having learned my lesson about shaking a Presta valve, I put it into a nice comfortable position and leaned the pump against my shoe so I wouldn't shake the valve head. And I got it up to around 65 psi before this valve blew off with such force it got stuck into my pump.
But I'm not only a former Boy Scout, I'm a vitally important official who must be reachable at all times, and that means I had my cell phone with me. And my wife and kids were at home, so all I had to do was make the call and the sag wagon would come get me. Except, of course, that where I was stuck, nearly 4 miles from my home, there was no cell reception. So I sifted through a number of curses that were available to me, weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each one. I finally settled on the Jerry Bruckheimer summer blockbuster approach -- when you can't decide what to blow up, blow everything up. And then I put the wheel back on the bike, sort of, gathered up all the crap I had lying in the road, refused -- refused, I tell you! -- to recycle my first spent inner tube, and started the lonely walk up the hill to civilization, as it is defined by cell coverage.
Wife and children are extremely patient with me, too, but man am I depressed. I need my exercise (just as much as I seem to need these italics tags tonight), and haven't had it in ages. My cure for depression is a shower and a nap, and I got half of that. Maybe a little more. But one of our neighbors has embarked on a massive earth-moving project which I suspect is only because he was able to borrow a bulldozer (we live on postage stamp lots; you could move our earth with teaspoons), and by god, his equipment is OSHA-compliant, backup-alarm-wise. And I was even sleeping through that racket, until the ice cream truck came and parked on the corner under my bedroom window.
And I was just about to make some tired quip about seeking out a nearby tower (we were driving through Austin a couple of years ago, and looked out from the highway and realized, "Hey! That's the tower! The one that started it all!" Which is sick, in a way, but really, there was no expression about shooting from a tower before that happened...), when my finger slipped, causing me to recreate this (and honestly, I did a much better job the second time). Now I'm going to curl up with a tonic and lime and a little pre-race show. But if Lance had a bad day, better you don't even talk to me tomorrow.....