A Cold Thanksgiving Half-Century

November 26, 2020
55.32 miles
Great Allegheny Passage, Montour Trail

On Thanksgiving, I decided to go out for a ride. However, before I could do that, I had to fix my first flat tire! I had gotten a flat the other day when I was on the way back from the grocery store. When out for longer rides, I always carry a pump, some tire levers, and at least one spare inner tube, but I don’t usually bring any such equipment when traveling the roughly two mile distance to the store. Of course, this was the exact moment that my rear tire decided to give up on me.

Swapping out the inner tube was easy enough, but I wasn’t able to resolve the problem that I mentioned in a previous post with my rear break caliper. I did figure out that it was because my rear wheel is significantly out of true, possibly due to the broken spoke. I’ve patched up the broken spoke with a wooden chopstick and some duct tape for now, but this hasn’t really helped all that much.

Anyway, I did a half century on the GAP out to the Montour Trail and back. It turns out that my favorite part of the Montour Trail is a little further out than I had imagined; I had already gone about 25 miles by the time I reached it, so I had to turn around after only a couple of miles on it.

I ended up going pretty slowly. I mostly attribute this to the fact that it was a cold, wet, miserable day. I’m very lucky that I decided to turn around at the beginning and grab a jacket, because I think I would actually have gotten sick otherwise. I also seriously considered stopping by REI and grabbing a pair of long cycling pants, although thankfully it didn’t come to that. Now undoubtedly I don’t have the form/fitness that I had over the summer (ha, I say that like I ever had any fitness to begin with…), but the effect of the climate after four hours in the saddle is also nontrivial.

A nice abandoned section of road blocked off to cars. It led to a short tunnel in the middle of nowhere, leading to a dead end. (full resolution: left, right)

A fun episode: on the way back, between the Waterfront and the South Side, I saw a bald eagle! Some cyclists passing in the opposite direction advised me to look out for the eagle ahead. It was quite cool to see one “in the wild”; a picture is below.

A bald eagle, spotted along the Monongahela River. (full resolution)