|A mural next to the hotel parking lot|
We went to dinner at a restaurant called Redsmoke Barbecue, which was recommended by someone at the hotel. I ordered a caesar salad with pulled chicken, and it was AMAZING. Their caesar dressing was fantastic, and the smokey flavor of the chicken went really well with it. Everyone really liked their food, so I am going to keep that place in mind for when we are in Detroit again.
After dinner, we went to Greektown Casino. I'm not a big gambler (I play Keno occasionally at the bar, but I never go to casinos), so I didn't play; but Kendall really likes playing roulette, so I just went with her. I never understood roulette, so Kendall explained it to me, and it was actually really fun! I'm kind of glad I didn't have much cash with me, though, because I'm sure I would have played ;) Kendall played $25, and ended up winning upwards of $400 (walking away with $180, though).
My mom and her friend went up to the room, but Kendall and I went down to the hotel bar to chat. We stayed late! I don't remember what time we got back to the room, but I think it was around 1:00. We got up at 7:00 this morning for the bike ride. It was raining on and off, which was a bummer, but we just hoped that it would clear up.
|Myrtle, me, my mom, and Kendall|
Kendall and I went to Wave 2, and my mom and Myrtle were in Wave 1, so we split up before the race started. We stood around in the rain while we waited for the start. I've never seen so many bikes in one area. There were about 6,000 people registered for this ride!
|Kendall and I waiting for the start|
|Roosevelt Park, where the starting line was|
|This was when we were waiting for Wave 2 to start|
As soon as our wave started, Kendall and I just tried to stay together and find a little breathing room (it was pretty crowded). I was loving the ride--it was an awesome way to see Detroit. At around mile four, we had to go under a bridge, and there was water over the road. At the last second, I made the split-second decision to go up on the sidewalk while I rode under the bridge--a stupid decision that affected the rest of my ride.
It was really dark under the bridge, and there was a lot of litter on the sidewalk. There was also mud, and some glass. I couldn't see very well, and I heard a pop at one point. I got back onto the road after the bridge, and my bike felt "off" (hard to describe). I asked Kendall if my back tire looked okay, and she said it looked low. I pulled over, and my tire was completely flat.
I had just bought a spare tube yesterday, so I had that with me; but I had no clue how to change the tube. I watched several YouTube videos over the past week about changing bike tires, but it was just too overwhelming and I couldn't remember anything. I told Kendall to go ahead, and I would just walk back to the starting line--I didn't really have any other choice. I walked back about half a mile, and there was a tent set up that a few people were changing tires in. I was so relieved! A really nice guy changed my tire tube, and then I was able to ride again.
Unfortunately, I was now at the back of the pack, and even the sag wagon had passed me while I was waiting for my tire change! On the plus side, there weren't many people back there, so I was able to ride much faster (and pass the sag wagon). I wanted to try and catch up to Kendall, so I did a few fast miles. Then, I noticed that my front tire was looking pretty low. I pulled over again, and it discovered it was leaking air. I rode it as far as I could, but it only made it a couple more miles before it was totally flat. I didn't have any other spare tubes.
I started walking, hoping that maybe there would be an aid station or something that I could maybe patch it. After a mile or so, a guy who was riding by asked if I needed air. I said, "Yes! Thank you!" and he let me use his air pump. I hoped the air would buy me some time to ride to an aid station or something. It was leaking faster at that point, and only lasted a couple of miles before it was flat again.
At that point, I knew it was over. There was no way I could walk 20 miles to finish the course, and I didn't have any more spare tubes to fix my tires. I used Google Maps on my phone to see how to get back to the hotel, and it was about six miles away. So, I started walking, while pushing my bike with me. It took me nearly two hours, but I finally made it back to the hotel. I put my bike in my mom's car, and just sat in the car (because of course it was raining again!) to wait for the rest of my group. Jerry called me, and I asked if he could come pick me up. It was only 12:40, and I knew it would be a while before everyone else finished and got their food and drinks at the finish line (the finish line was another 2.5 miles away, otherwise I would have walked there, too).
Jerry picked me up from the hotel, and drove me home. I can't even begin to describe how disappointed I am that I couldn't finish the ride! I had NEVER gotten a flat tire before, and today I got two. I did learn quite a bit, though, and I will definitely do this ride again next year. I'll make sure to bring at least three spare tubes, and an air pump (I had an air pump on my bike, and I swapped it out for a water bottle cage yesterday! Doh). I will practice changing the tubes, so that I can just do it myself if needed.
Over all, it wasn't a super fun day, but I really did like the ride when I wasn't having tire problems. I wish I could have finished it, but it just wasn't in the cards today. Lesson learned!