Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Me ...

...and Tom Peterson

Are you sick of hearing about Tom Peterson yet? I’ll get to the part about Tom in a minute, but first I want to talk about … me.

I have been meaning to post about my new most favorite tires, how cushy they are while still being fairly flat resistant. Then I had two flats on Saturday, and again two more flats on Monday! Hard to make this sound like an inviting entre’. As with everything, there is a back story:

On Saturday, I had something faster than a slow leaker but much slower than a ran-over-a-nail flat. So I pulled the whole mess apart (rear tire naturally) and when I pumped the tube, I was able to find the hole so I checked the corresponding location on the inside of the tire and got … nothing. I did a pretty thorough job of running my finger around the area; it was a really small hole (tire still spongy even after I got the wheel out of the dropouts). Oh well, these things happen, and there wa a cold wind blowing out on the Souht Bank road so I put a new tube in and off we went (the Missus and I) only to have another flat about 15 miles later!

I went through the drill again and found a hole in the same location as the last one. This time I turned the tire inside-out and lo! There I found the little teeny gravel dagger. OK, fair enough, these are the kinds of flats one should expect this time of year, but I know to take extra pains to try to find the source of the problem so my bad as they say in the ‘hood’. This was no fun, out on the S Bank road there is no butter smooth asphalt paved yuppie driveway to roll up on for maintenance and repair. To get off the road you are either in gravel or honey wagon droppings. We were in gravel but still…

On Monday, as we were getting ready to leave the H-burger shack haded for home I noticed the rear was flat again! When I got the tube out and pumped it there was no question about where the hole was, and it appeared that there was a more serious problem: Imprinted on the tube was something like a circle. But when I checked the corresponding area of the tire, nothing. I said something like a circle, almost round, but a very distinct impression. So I looked inside the tire and there, rolling around free as a pea in a barrel was a nice nearly round, peanut sized piece of Grays Harbor county road crew gravel. My extra badness! This is maybe a more bonehead move than leaving a sticker in the tire when you put in a new tube. So in goes the last flat free tube in the saddle bag. About 15 miles up the road, another flat, this time on the front. I went through the drill and by turning the tire inside out and really flexing the rubber I found deeply embedded, another incredibly sharp, almost microscopic cinder, just slightly longer than the thickness of the tread.

With no more virgin tubes, I had to patch. Mrs. C was duly impressed, I took her arms-crossed toe-tapping as some sort of female expression of praise. Actually, the patching went so well I even surprised myself. There was a brief moment of panic as I thought my tube of glue had gone dry, but there was still enough in there to get the job done.

There are two people other than myself who know exactly why, after a year and a half of flat freedom I would incur 5 flats in three consecutive rides. Those two people are Bill the LBS owner and Cory, the shop mech. I am sure they are laughing right now in anticipation of this little bit of dark velo magic I am about to impart: they were the ones who turned me onto the ‘buy-five-and-get-five-free inner tube deal they had going when I was last in the shop. As we all know, if you go out of your way to arm yourself in the face of no visible adversity that adversity will hunt you down and flat your tires mercilessly. Here is my question Abby: I still have two of those, brand new, never been used, still in the box, tubes. When will the full punishment have been meted out? How many more flats are needed to make the point?

Have you ever noticed how good writers can take seemingly unrelated items in a piece, and then cleverly connect them with a bit of art just at the end of the piece? Watch this:

Time now for an appetizer of crow ‘strips’, (like chicken strips only they tend to stick in the throat on the way down).

My apologies to Mr. Thomas Peterson. Though I’m the newest member of the Thomas Peterson fan club, I gave him something of an undeserved shot when I posted his Prologue TT results on Sunday. It’s hard to be accurate when you are intent on being loud, or quick, so that‘s my, explanation-is-not-an-excuse-excuse.

Peterson came in dead last in the prologue, down on GC by over 5 minutes. Given the length of the TT that’s a lot but it could be excused as he is young, relatively new to world class racing and time trialing skills usually develop after a rider demonstrates he has the other elements need to ride with the big boys.

Well it turns out that Peterson had a flat tire on his TT bike just before the start so missed his start time by approximately TWO MINUTES! That’s huge. Take a couple minutes off his time and he would have been in the thick of things right off the bat, certainly not Lanterne Rouge at the end of a 2K prologue! As of the finish of Stage Two, I calculate that he would have moved up a couple places any way. My apologies to Tom. However no slack for the press corps covering the race. They are just lazy, Armstrong pitch men. Here are sample headlines for the truly insightful stories they are not writing: “Flat Tire No Get Out of Jail Free Card” or, “Flat Tire Cruel Intro to World Class Cycling”.

I must say though, not knowing all the details I am amazed that Tom could fix a flat (presumably tubular tires?) in around two minutes! I’ll have to work on my flat repair skills, looks like I am set up for plenty of practice.

1 comment:

  1. Do they not just supply him with a spare tire? The two minutes is probably what it took for the crew to actually get to him and swap it out.

    What you need is a crew ready at all times with the sandwiches and spare tires.