Must be our lucky day. It was sunny out. Our first in quite awhile.
After breakfast, Brian hung his bike up on an abandoned A-Frame and worked some more on the shifting. The rear derailleur
cable was clogged with dirt and debris so he took everything apart and gave it a good cleaning.
We set off around 10am. Brian stopped to put on music and do some filming so I kept going by myself. From here, there were two
stories happening at the same time.
I cycled on. It was another wonderful ride with pretty flat terrain through the forest.
The temperature was perfect; the sun made me happy. I noticed a new kind of berry bush by the road I had never seen before so I stopped
and picked one - it was dry and bitter.
A small bus came across me at a narrow section of the road by a lake, so I stopped and moved to the side to let it pass. The driver
waved at me, and I did the same.
After a small hill, the road followed a lake. At the corner of a turn, I looked back and saw Brian just over another corner in the
distance, so I kept going.
The scenery was terrific. I crossed a bridge where a construction worker was pushing the sediment up the river bed with a bulldozer.
I waved at him and he did the same to me. A couple of more small ups and downs later I stopped by a small farm house. It looked very
lonely with the vast valley and mountain in the background. Where is Brian? Normally he rides a lot faster than me. Maybe he stopped
to do more filming. I didn't think too much about it and kept going.
At another narrow section on the road, I heard a truck coming from behind so I stopped to let it pass. Quite strangely, the truck
stopped and the driver stepped out. He was walking towards me.
2 kilometers after Yan took off, I was on a downhill and suddenly started to hear hissing noise that sounded like a river or waterfall.
But there were no rivers or waters. The noise was from my back tire - I got a flat!
Oh boy, not good. I got the patch-kit but Yan had the pump. Luckily, a small bus was coming from the other way. I waved the driver to
stop and asked him where Yan was. He said she was only 1 kilometer ahead. "Is she cycling?" I asked. "No, she stopped."
So, I took my backpack, carried it on my back and started pushing the bike. I walked for 2 kilometers and Yan was nowhere to be seen.
"This is crazy, I can't be doing this." I said to myself. A delivery truck came by and reluctantly stopped. The driver offered me a
ride but he was in a big hurry and the back of the truck was so high that it would be a major effort to bring my bike up. So instead,
I asked the driver to stop Yan and tell her that I needed the pump - "bombin".
I was a bit worried when the truck driver came over to me. He started talking. I could filter out a few words: Amigo, Necesario,
Bombin: Friend, necessary, pump. Then he squeezed my back tire and said "Problema". No good, sounded like Brian got a flat. So I asked
him how many kilometers, he raised two fingers up.
I couldn't believe it. It was some of the better ripio we had ridden. How could he got a flat. Anyway, I turned back and started cycling
really fast. After over 1 kilometer, I heard rattling noise from my rack. I stopped and looked. One of the screws to connect the rack to
the frame was about to fall out. Brian had the alan wrench.
If Brian was 2 kilometers away from where I was, he should be just over the corner. So, I took all my packs off, set them by the road,
and took only our passport/money pouch and the pump with me. Without the luggage, I could ride much faster.
Over the corner, no Brian. Another 2 kilometers, nothing. Another 2 kilometers, nothing. I was getting really worried and rode as fast
as I could. 9 kilometers away from where the truck driver stopped me, I saw Brian over the distance not very far at all from where I
spotted him a while back ago.
I stopped to take the tube out hoping the truck driver would stop Yan before she had gone too far. I got the spare tube. But wait a minute.
I don't. All of a sudden, I realized the spare was a shreader for my old bike and my new bike got presta valve!
Nothing was wrong with the tire. But ironically, even it was a tube-less tire, I decided not to use that option because I had never dealt
with them before.
I was near a lake, so I started patching the tube while waiting for Yan to show up. I soaked the tube in the water and found 3 holes.
So I patched them with 3 out of the 7 patches I got. Back in Candelario Mancilla, I gave General 4 patches to repair his wagon tire.
I soaked the tube in again and saw 5 bubbles coming out! I was getting really worried. Time to get creative. I cut each patch into 4
pieces to make more. It was a gamble but it was my only hope. I was simply running out of patches. Some of the holes were so small that
I had to soak the tube in 3 times to pinpoint them. When I was patching the 9th hole, I saw Yan coming.
I gave Brian the pump and told him I needed the wrench. After he found out all my bags were 8 kilometers away by the road, he was
shocked and wanted me to go back right away. We didn't talk much. He tightened the bolt and I took off. I rode like a manic. To my
great relief, my bags were still at the same place 8 kilometers away. I was exhausted. I sat on the bags and ate a bread roll.
A herdsman and three horses walked passed me across the meadow. After almost an hour, I was getting cold and decided to ride back to Brian.
I continued patching. In the end, 14 holes! Unbelievable. I had been patching holes for the past 2 1/2 hours! Hopefully nothing happened
to Yan's bags. I loaded everything back on and started riding. 6 kilometers later, I saw Yan coming my way.
Okay, that was the long version of "Brian got a flat that day."
Blowout - Part II