April 24, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Ironman UK 2023: Part 15

With my bike working again, we were all smiles. (Credit: David Roher)

2 Days Until Ironman United Kingdom

I woke up in my third hotel in four days.

Now think about that for a minute. We had been on the move since we left Newark Airport at the beginning of the week.

I opened my eyes and just lay there enveloped in the overstuffed comforter. We had been moving around so much that I just wanted to enjoy not moving for just a moment.

(You do realize that a “moment” is less than one second, right?)

I got up, prayed and headed downstairs for breakfast.

(By breakfast you mean the three bags of groceries the front desk was refrigerating for you?)

We would repeat this for every meal shlep to the front desk all weekend long.

(Did you go for a run after breakfast?)

First, I had to finish making the sign.

It took three men, (two in person, one on the phone) to reset my Di2 shifters. Yes, that’s a rubber chicken strapped to my bike.
(Credit: David Roher)

(Which sign?)

The one claiming that I was never going to do another Ironman race, ever again.

(You rewrite that thing every year?)

No, I just safety-pin new numbers over the original ones.

Then it was time to assemble the bike. That did not go well.

First, I had to reattach the derailer.

(The what?)

The bike chain travels from the pedals to the rear wheel and back again.

After the chain leaves the back wheel, it passes through a gear shifter called a derailer.

Joe LoPorto of Fit Werx NJ advised me to dismantle the derailer for the transporting of the bike.

(What does he know?)

Joe LoPorto built my bike for me by hand for me in his store.

(OK, point made.)

Then I released the bike frame from the travel case and fastened the wheels to the frame.

(So far, so good…)

I clicked the shifting buttons on my handlebars to see if the derailer was working…

(It wasn’t.)

….and nothing happened. The Di2 has crashed.

I knew everything was going to be all right when the fly wheel of my derailer hanger started to spin again. (Credit: David Roher)

(Like an airplane crash?)

Like a computer crash.

(Did you freak out?)

No, the Di2 electric shifter had done that before as a result of luggage crews mishandling my bike, so I wasn’t worried. I was annoyed that I was going to be spending vacation time on this issue. I pushed my bike to the race convention center where a local bike mechanic awaited my arrival.

“I’m sorry mate, I’m not familiar with Di2,” he said.

(Panic?)

No, I called Joe LoPorto back in New Jersey. Joe spoke to the on-site mechanic and together they put Humpty Dumpty back together.

I was so happy that my bike, “Friday,” lives…

(Friday?)

Many cyclists give their bikes female names.

(and since people say that you look like Tony Stark…)

…I named my bike after a character in the Ironman movie series.

Now that we had the bike working, it was time…

(Wait for it..)

…for something else to go wrong. As soon as I began to ride back to my room, I noticed that my Garmin bike computer was dead.

(You need a computer to ride?)

I can’t ride without one.

(Why not?)

It would be like flying a plane blind in a snowstorm.

(Why? Who cares if you know how fast you are going?”)

The bike computer gives me:

  • clock time
  • elapsed time since bike start
  • speed
  • MPH Average
  • power wattage
  • cadence

Without that data I have no idea if I’m pedaling too fast or if I’m in the wrong gear.

So, I bought a new bike computer, but a brand I didn’t know. I went back to the expo to have the salesperson help me set this up. He turned it on and he got it to “talk to” my bike and its many sensors, but the device didn’t fit my bike handlebars.

It was back to bike tech Jerry who rigged it with a zip tie and half a roll of duck tape.

Is it duct tape or duck tape?

“Duck tape” has a prehistory and a history.

(How can you have a pre-history?)

The original version of this waterproof adhesive goes back to 1902 when it was used in the construction of NYC’s Manhattan Bridge.

(The bridge is held together with tape?)

No, the tape was used to waterproof the cables … that hold the bridge together)

The cloth-based adhesive we all think of was created by a factory worker during WWII. Vesta Stoudt was worried about GIs being able to tear open their ammo boxes with ease and she wrote straight to President Roosevelt from the Johnson & Johnson factory she worked in.

I just hoped that it was strong enough to withstand 112 miles of Bolton roads…


David Roher is a USAT certified triathlon and marathon coach. He is a multi-Ironman finisher and veteran special education teacher. He is on Instagram @David Roher140.6. He can be reached at [email protected].

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