Monday, July 8, 2013

Size Matters

Saturday's pancake ride referred to more than just breakfast...pancake also referred to the state of our tires...as in pancake FLAT!

Goathead
Tribulus terrestris - aka Goathead




This unassuming plant at the side of the road ruined five tubes on this ride. James, Eric, Ironman Mike (just so you don't get confused with my Mike/HS), and I all had flats. I was the winner however and managed to get a flat on both the front and back tires.


I did a Google search on goathead thorns and flat prevention and every person had a different remedy, none of which were 100% successful. Short of putting solid tires on my bike, I think the best thing to do is avoid areas where this weed is prevalent, at least until it dies back for the season. This last option is a real bummer because the Delta backroads make for a beautiful ride.

First Man Down

First of Five
James was the first victim of the day, but he seemed to take it all in stride. After his flat, he instructed everyone to stay off the shoulder of the road whenever possible to avoid the thorns. I did the best I could to stay out of the danger zone, but I'm pretty sure the Delta breeze keeps these little tube poppers evenly distributed across the road.

We had been pushing the pace up until this point, so James' flat came at a good time for a little rest. We almost made it to Isleton before Eric got his flat. Another little break was OK, but I was starting to get hungry and really wanted to get to Korth's.

Once Mojo had changed his tube, we were back on the road and started to push the pace again. We eased up a bit after crossing Highway 12 because the road was crap, but once we got up on the levee, things smoothed out a bit so I decided to go for it.

As with most of our rides, the guys don't like to have a girl out in front. It wasn't long before I was chased down and put in my place. I didn't give up though and had a blast chasing Ironman Mike and Mojo down the levee road.

Ironman Cabo and Pancakes

Since it was the 4th of July weekend, Korth's Pirate Lair was extremely busy. That being said, over an hour to get pancakes is a bit ridiculous. Luckily, we got to listen to a first hand race report of Ironman Cabo as we waited for our food.

Met up with the rest of our group that started in Walnut Grove

It was fascinating to hear Ironman Mike recount the details of his race. Hearing his race report also made me question ever wanting to do a full Ironman (especially in Cabo! LOL). Eight foot swells, competitors getting tossed on to the beach, hills, heat... hmmmmm... maybe I'll pass on this one.

Still having a good time...disaster has yet to strike me!

First Flat

After breakfast I got a terrible headache. Each bump on the road seemed to drive an invisible spike into my head. It was painful, but since I was roughly 20 miles away from our end point, I kept pedaling. Our group switched from social to focused. As four of our riders pulled away, I eased up a bit to ride with HS and give my head a break (the back roads through the Delta can be REALLY rough!). I soon realized that my front tire was flat. HS whistled for the group in front to stop, but they kept going. ARGH!!!
Damn goathead!

It was annoying to get a flat, but I welcomed the chance to practice my tire changing skills. I took the front wheel off, got the tube out and pulled my spare tube out of my bag.  At that point I remembered my decision from earlier in the day...

...as we were getting ready to leave the house, HS asked if I was bringing my phone. Since the bag on my Planet-X bike is too small for my phone, I took the larger bag off of my road bike. Knowing that this larger bag was already stocked with a tube, CO2 and a tool kit, my only thought was "Should I pack a second tube?"  I decided against this because I figured "Who gets two flats on one ride?" (You do dummy!!!) 
In making this switch, I unwittingly transferred a bag that contained a spare tube with a 50mm stem. Not useful when you are riding a bike with 50mm carbon wheels! OMG! I realized my horrible mistake when the valve didn't even peek out from my wheel! Had I made the decision to add a second tube to my bag, I would have put in a tube with a longer stem...what an idiot!

At that point there was nothing to do but put the wheel back on and start walking...I prayed that one of the front four would realize we were missing. We walked along for about 5-10 minutes before a vision in a red & black bike outfit appeared on the horizon. I have never been more happy to see James than I was at that moment! Even if he didn't have a tube with a long enough stem, I was certain he said he had a patch kit.

NOTE: I really hated admitting to James the mistake I had made in not packing a tube with a long enough stem...I'm sure I've added one more thing to his "don't do this" list. Oh well, I hope everyone reading this learns from my mistake! 

Stupid thorns!
At first James thought his back tube had a longer stem so he proceeded to let the air out of the tire so he could give me the tube. It wasn't until most of the air was out that we realized that this stem was also too short. At this point, he dug out his patch kit. It didn't take me long to find the hole and apply the patch. With the repair completed, our concern switched to the amount of CO2 we had remaining.

James had already used some of his CO2 fixing his flat and we had used most of HS's cartridge trying to fill up my tire the first time. Luckily I found another CO2 cartridge in my bag and we were able to fill up both tires. We mounted our bikes and headed for home, mindful of the danger lurking at the side of the road.

Second Flat

As we turned on to Thornton Rd, we passed Mojo.  He wasn't that far ahead of us after all. What I didn't know is that they got sidelined themselves when Ironman Mike got a flat. Mojo later reported that IM had a blazing fast tire change. Mojo made a u-turn and waved as he passed us again.  Too bad this didn't happen just a few minutes later when I got my second flat of the day!

As we neared James' ranch, I noticed that I was getting another flat. Initially I thought it was the patched front tire, but after I climbed off the bike, I realized that it was the rear. Since we were already on Thornton and I could see the sign for Acampo, I decided to just jog with my bike. I was tired and hot and I just wanted the ride to be over with...walking would have just delayed everything.

James stayed with me and sent HS on ahead to get the truck. Jogging with bike shoes on is not ideal and I eventually slowed to a walk knowing that HS would be by with the truck any minute.  Unfortunately, my brief jog ruined my bike cleats...just one more item for the "don't do this" list!

Time for new cleats!

No Auto-Pause

My auto-pause was off on my Garmin, so my average MPH was pretty low...too many stops for flats!



Don't Do This 
  • Don't pack tubes that are too short for your rims (size matters!)
  • Don't assume that you will only get one flat
  • Don't run in your bike shoes

Well, I can't say that this ride wasn't eventful. Still had a great time and learned a few things too :-)