Jon had been hankering for a while to ride ACH and the timing just never worked out. When I was going, he couldn’t make it. When he was free, I wasn’t. Not that I needed to be there, I’m am by far NOT an expert at riding ACH (or riding anything, for that matter). But it’s nice to have someone familiar when you’re hitting a new road. Everything was going great until…
We had just passed Islip Saddle, you know, where the road closes during the winter. We were about 2 miles east of there when we came upon a minefield of brick sized/shaped blocks of granite in the road. Some smaller, but mostly all paver sized.
They were in the shade so I didn’t see them until we were right on top of them. There had been rocks since the first Angeles National Forest sign in La Canada Flintridge, so I’d been on high alert but these ones surprised me. I swerved and somehow missed the larger ones, only hitting the small golf-ball sizes. Once I was clear I looked in my mirror for Jon. He seemed OK.
But then he started dropping further back. And further back. I pulled over into a turnout and waited. And waited. It felt like longer than it was, but probably only 60 seconds or so. I knew something was wrong and all I could think was that he’d gone down. I boogied back and found him upright and not dusty in a dirt turnout.
His story was the same as mine, he avoided a few of them but nailed a big one. It dinged his wheel and split the side wall of the tire. I had my plug kit, but no way could I plug that. Jon nursed it back to Islip Saddle where there’s a parking lot so we could call AAA Roadside. Uh, no cell service. And my phone died.
Jon hops on my bike and rides back toward Big Pine so he can get some service. Eventually comes back after only getting a few text messages out to the lovely Adell. It’s noon now. Roadside will be there between 1 and 2. At 1:30 I start doing laps back and forth from our spot, trying to find the tow truck. Still no sign at 2:20, we start talking about contingency plans. At 2:30 I make one last trip back to mile 57, and no sign of the tow. I head back to Islip and we start making plans to nurse the bike on to Big Pines, that’s only 15 miles away. As soon as we decide that’s the best option, here comes the flat bed.
Thank the Maker. I didn’t want to spend the night on the side of the mountain, and I certainly didn’t want to spoon with Jon to stay warm.
So yeah, the day didn’t go as planned. We had a route and a new lunch spot to try and we didn’t do any of ‘the plan.’ Jon’s bummed about needing a new tire and his taste for ACH is not as sweet. But as I was hustling home, 3 hours later than planned, I realized it actually all worked out. We got to put some miles down, I got to hang out and talk with Jon who I rarely see anymore, and we got a good story to tell. Maybe everything didn’t go as planned, but maybe it did.