Thursday, January 15, 2015

One Too Many Flats, Or, Bad Day To Be Presta

Steve and I set out to ride the West County 100km perm pop this past Tuesday.  His first attempt was our well-below-freezing night ride, when common sense intervened, and we turned back, rather than risk increasingly icy conditions.

The weather was January-perfect.  High 30's to mid 50's.  Sunny.  There would be an increasing east wind, but we'd deal with that when we got there (the last 20+ miles of the ride).

I was planning to ride to the start, only about 6.5 miles.  But I just couldn't get myself awake, and ended up driving over.

It was all good until Zion Church Rd, where I came up with a rear flat.  And that wouldn't have been a big deal, but my fancy new pump would remove the core of the tube!  Fortunately, Steve had a pump which didn't do that.  (Lynne makes mental note to buy new tubes; these are getting old, anyway).

That taken care of, we pressed on to the control at the Shell Station at mile 25.  We had to push it, and got there with 5 or so minutes to spare (!)  I hate that.

Then we headed off toward Gaston (mile 42), with a longish stretch on Gales Creek Rd.  There were log trucks.  One came up and honked, but I honestly don't know what he thought I could do - scarce shoulder and guardrail (and the creek) on my right.  I did ditch to the guardrail, but still.

Then on to the quiet of Stringtown Rd.  At Stripey Trees Corner (private designation), I could see Mt Hood, Mt St Helens, AND Mt Adams.  This was a first.

South of Forest Grove on Old Hwy 47, Steve came up with a rear flat.  His tire had come off the rim and was fouling the brake pads.  As we were looking at it, the tube exploded.  Well, so much for that.  We got it changed; it didn't appear like the bead was separating.  And with that, there went our nice time cushion to get to Gaston; we made it with a few minutes to spare.  I hate that.

Got some drinks and snacks, and set out into the headwind back to Hillsboro.  As we were passing the water treatment plant, Steve pulled over; his rear tire was getting squashy.  He went to pump it up again, and his valve core vanished into the grass.  Not a good day for presta valves.  He didn't have another tube, and I run a different wheel size.   He suggested I finish.  I thought I'd do that, and drive back and pick him up.  Good thing it was a nice day.

There were 15 miles left to go, so off I went.  Given the wind, I was pretty happy any time I got over 12mph; there were a few times when I was down to 9mph.  I could see all the mountains from Geiger Rd as well.  Nice.  Finished with 15 minutes to spare (I have cut it closer), and loaded up my bike.

Driving west back to get Steve, the sun was at the Exact Wrong Angle, making it a very tense drive.  I stupidly elected to take Hwy 8 (TV Highway) to Hwy 6 to Fern Hill.  Traffic was as usual for that time of day, not light.  Found Steve "I was taking pictures of the dead flowers", and, with some wiggling, we loaded up his bike.  I figured it would be easier to follow the route back, so we did.

Steve was thinking maybe this would be better ridden in the summer, but I assured him that it really isn't that bad!

I quit feeling guilty about driving to the start.

Turns out my RIDING time was less than this past weekend's 100k riding time.  Ok, then.

Aftermath: new tubes which work and play well with the pump.  Discarded the rear tire and spare tire, moved front to rear, new tire on front.  Pulled another spare out of the used tire stash.  Of course, when I went out to get the bike to work on it, my rear tire was flat.  The ride could have been even more exciting, fortunately not!

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