Monday, June 11, 2007

Gremlins, Part Two

Photo: Riders for the JCBC Gringo's Ride (named after the Mexican place the ride starts and ends at, followed by various amounts of gorging of tacos and consumption of alcohol, of course) regroup at the fire station. The "slow" group is yet to arrive.

After I got off work, I grabbed supper for my wife and I, then headed off to a different Monday ride than usual. I've been talking on my bike club's e-mail discussion list and decided to see what the infamous Gringo's Ride was all about.

Whereas the Trek ride is about 25% slower than I'd normally go on my own just taking a recreational ride, the Gringo's ride had me pushing myself at least 25% HARDER than I'd normally go on a recreational ride. Dare I say this was more "training" than "recreation". Training for what? I have no clue. I am not training for anything. I don't have any brevets or centuries scheduled. I'm not signed up for RAGBRAI and I'm missing BAK as I'm typing this. The pace was around 16-17 MPH for 20 miles or so. I covered 18.2 of those miles. I'll get to that in a bit.

It was definitely more ride than I'm used to doing on a Monday night. In distance, it trumps some of my Saturday solo rides. In intensity, it trumps most rides I've been on, but its a draw when compared to the Wednesday night Discover Vision Center ride.

Anyhow, about 15 miles into the ride, coming up Ridgeview, I flat out for no apparent reason. It's one of those little holes that goes PSSSSSSSSHT-PFFFF-PFFF-pff-pff-pff as the wheel's spinning. Two riders, Nan and (I think) Jerry break formation to assist. I checked the tire and rim tape but found nothing. The hole was opposite the valve stem and apparently on the outside-facing part of the tube. I pulled out one of my other tubes (which had already been patched once) and replaced the damaged tube. I borrowed Nan's Topeak Road Morph, saving my CO2 for later.

About a mile later, that tube gives out. Bewildered, we pull off again. The existing patch didn't give out, there was another hole, this time on the rim side. I patched it and aired it back up.

As I sit on the road, ready to roll, I can already hear hissing. One of the patches has failed or something. That tube is a write-off. I stuff it in a pocket and pull out a brand new, fresh tube from my seat bag. Tired of pumping the Road Morph, I broke out the CO2 and got my tire aired up just as Kevin pulled up in his pickup to drag me back to camp.

So that's why I missed the last 2 miles or so of the ride.

I'm almost worried to ride my Trek tomorrow. Fortunately if I blow another tire, I won't be too far from the bus. I guess we'll see what happens. I'm down to one spare tube (with a patch) and I still have a lot of CO2 left. I'm not sure I Trust my Trek any further than I could throw my Sorrento, though.


Frogman said...

Did you give a good check to the inside of your tube? Is there a thorn or nail stuck through it? It's risky, but finger tips can feel much better than what the eye can see. I'd go for a very through look first before I stick some fingers and poke around in it.

Noah said...

I always do a visual inspection followed by a manual post-mortem with my fingers. I start by examining the outside of the tire casing, looking for any obvious foreign objects, holes, or slices in the casing.

Then, once I get the tire off and the inner tube out, I inspect the inside of the tube by sight then feel. I do the same with the rim. Spoke flats are very uncommon on double-walled rims, though, because the spoke nipples are down inside the rim, away from the inner tube by several millimeters. Still, I check the rim itself for burrs or sharp edges.

Last night, I found NO REASON for this kind of thing to happen. I'm pretty sure my third and final flat was due to a patch giving out. Today, I've had no problems. If it happens again, I'll let the bike shop sort it out and I'll ride my hybrid until they fix it.

Apertome said...

I've been fortunate and not had many problems with flats so far (knock on wood). I hope you have no further problems.

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