Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What Tires? I'll tell you what tires!

Or perhaps this post should be titled “Don’t Mess with Success.”  If you go back to my 'What Tires?' post you will note that tires generate a lot of comments.  So maybe it is true that if you talk about flats, and tires, and tire problems you actually are doomed to have a flat on your next ride. I’m not superstitious, but I generally observe folk customs.  Can’t hurt….right? (What is the definition of superstitious by the way?)

By now you must have guessed, I got a flat on last Saturday’s ride, … sorta. On Friday, after a little deliberation I did exchange the worn Jack Browns for the pair of less worn Panaracer Pasela’s. Turns out we had a blue bird day (pretty much) so the added traction really wasn’t necessary (the old ‘take your raincoat along to avoid rain’ syndrome).

Note I mentioned a flat, … sorta. I actually had a slow leaker, late in the ride. Now I normally don’t mess around with that 'pumping up' stuff. It’s a flat or it isn’t. But in this case I was just 24 miles from the finish, I was tired, and that tire had been getting low for most of 100 miles or so it seemed. So when I came off Bordeaux and turned onto Mima-Gate road I stopped to put on my raincoat, have a little bite of bonk protection, and pumped up, thinking this should get me to the finish. I figured it was a microscopic offender nestled somewhere in the canyons between those huge tread lugs, and the light was getting dim as the day wore on, and I was tired, and, and, and. Seemed like a good idea at the time. Three more stops to pump up and I was crossing the finish, more exasperated than exhausted. One thing about those slow leakers, the more you ride on them the faster they leak.

The next day the tire was still soft but not flat. When I pulled it off I discovered the tire had an old cut to which I had at some time applied some form of boot which was mysteriously missing. I cleaned it up (got rid of the adhesive residue etc) and applied my last piece of Park tire boot material, patched the tube and put things back together.

So now I’ve said it: I got a FLAT, a FLAT TIRE befelled me, I had to repair a FLAT. I also re-learned my lesson about slow leakers; no more messin’ around with those, it’s a FLAT or it’s not, no in between.

PS:  I mowed the lawn today,

If you are up to your knees in snow and ice or your house is sliding off the hillside from all the rain, don't blame me, blame the little one,  El Nino.


  1. I can only think of a couple times when my flat problems have been catastrophic rather than a slow leaker. Heck, even on the last SiR ride I did, it was a slow leaker which finally forced me to stop and swap out a tube.
    Of all those slow leakers, only once have I managed to get away with the 'pump it and finish the ride' plan of attack. Last summer on Mark's 400k; Narayan got a really flat flat 1.5 miles from the finish, and immediately after repairing his, we crested the hill on 128th and I noticed *my* rear tire was feeling soft. Determined to just finish, I pumped it up and rode it in. Sure enough, it was soft again after breakfast when I was walking it back to my car.

    Since you mentioned a Park boot... The best boot I've used was an improv after running over a sharp rock in some fresh chip-seal during the Daffodil Classic last summer. Barely 40 miles into the ride, and there was a 1/4" gash clean through the belting in my Gatorskin (big guy standing and mashing up a hill, these things happen). I used a wrapper from some awful tasting electrolyte powder I was testing out, folded it in quarters, and slipped it between the tube and casing. The electrolyte solution was terrible, but the wrapper lasted another 350 miles as a boot until I wore the tire out, so I chalked up the cost as a wash.

  2. Clifton:
    Those mylar wrappers are good. I once rode most of a 400K on a Clif Bar wrapper (I had other uses for the $20 I had in my 'rando purse'). By the way, I'm still having trouble commenting on your blog, send me an email msg and perhaps we can communicate to sort my problems out.

    Dr C

  3. I sorted out the post issue on my LJ. I had my security settings clamped down due to some previous issues. You should be able to post now.