Tuesday, August 30

Prepared for (not quite) all-out war on Shenandoah Mountain

Sunday's ride looking for the Land of the Lost was a test run for my new Shenandoah Mountain 100 set-up. What's new and different (and the same)?

I had some time to chat with Thomas Turner while racing at ORAMM (he had flatted and had multiple issues, and I was riding with my head out of the game). He told me that one of the tubes that he had TAPED to his bike had a hole in it when he went to use it*. I've had many discussions with the technical wizard at Backcountry Research about this very topic of tube fragility, especially after the 2010 Shenandoah 100. I flatted early in the race, and when I went to use my tube, it had a hole in it. I had been carrying an ultra-ultra-liteweight tube starting late May 2010. Fast forward three months later to the Breck Epic, and I'm shoving a broken tire lever I loaned out to a fellow racer back in the strap without thinking about what I was doing. Fast forward to Shenandoah a few weeks later, my tube has a hole, and I'm walking down a mountain looking for an errant tube lying in the trail. Lesson learned... check your shit before a race.

It may be pointless, but part of my now extensively anal preparation of tubes for the purposes of strapping now looks like this:

A homemade, extra-wide rubber band (made from an old tube) around the middle of the tube.

Not only for the tubes I'm carrying, but the ones in my drop bag as well.

As cool as it looks to have the tube under the seat with the Hitch/Race straps, I can get the Back Forty from my drop bags and strapped to the bike pretty freaking quick if I need to reload.

The next two items may not seem to make much sense, but let me explain.

Ignore the non-standard placement of the BR logo on the strap.

A second tube with no CO2 on the seatpost and a 25 gram CO2 with inflator mounted and ready to go where my Mountain Pipe pump should go.


When I first feel a flat tire coming on, I stop to check it out. Often times (like four times this year) I go ahead and put in some CO2 after I break the inflator out and attach it to the cylinder, and I attempt to get the Stan's to seal. Once that fails, I throw in a tube, use the rest of the CO2, and then sometimes have to use the mini-pump to finish it off.

I don't wanna use the mini-pump when I'm racing a man-eater like Gerry "The Pflug" Pflug. I will grab the ready-to-go CO2 and attempt to get the hole to seal. If that fails, I'll throw in the lonely strapped tube, hit it with the remaining CO2, top it off it I must, and I'll still have one more fast flat fix before I'm walking to the next aid station.


Of course, I'll have my Tülbag (pronounced tūl-bahg) loaded with the usual crap:

Driver license (to make it easier to identify the body)
Heavy duty tire boot (doubles as a shelter)
Glueless patches (which probably won't work being that my tube will be covered in moist Stan's fluid)
Chain tool/spare quick link (even though I have never broken a PC-1 on the trail)
$5 bill (stripper money... you never know)
Another CO2 head (because it was already in there)
A spare QR end (because I've lost one before)
4, 5, 6, and a sneaky 8mm allen keys (to attend to the entropic nature of threaded objects)

That's what I'm carrying and whatnot.

Oh yeah, I had some squishy bits mounted up, but we can talk about that next.

*My mind is blurry on this topic. He was either talking about his ORAMM flats or a previous race.


Anonymous said...

After that statement, I predict a broken PC-1 this weekend.

Shane S. said...

Does anyone ever really race Gerry? I tried and failed at FG. He went off the front with Schalk and Cesar Grajales up Coopers Gap for the king of the mountain at FG..... talk about feelings of inadequacy!!

Montana said...

Indeed. Racing the Pflug is pointless. A challenge just makes him angry, which makes him ride faster. He's only beatable when he's un-acclimated at altitude

phattire said...

Enjoying your blog. Good luck at the SM100! I don't typically run the super light tubes, but it's good to know they're considerably more fragile by comparison to standard tubes.

WillC said...

Good luck down there. Wish I could get down there. Watch out for Ramponi, too. He's noisy, fast and 50. I hope I can ride and party like him when I'm 50.

dougyfresh said...

we'r ridin ALL DAY LONG!!!

(in T-Hom's best Ranponi voice)

WillC said...

"I'm going to ride my bike all day, doo-dah, doo-dah." That's the song of the Ramponi.

Jason said...

The "wallet" that your $5 of stripper money is in reminds me of my own "everyday" wallet (sans money). Of course I am sort of high class about it and use a small elastic hair band of my wife's ('cause I gotta represent). I feel it says I'm a Dïrt Bähg (pronounced dirt bag), yet still a player in the small, no one gives a shit world of independent bike mag publishing.

You go way more prepared for a race, I like to risk it and take nothing. Ask for help, bum shit, get to an aid station, quit, ride back to the finish in the back of a pickup truck at unsafe speeds on winding forest roads and start drinking beer before people like you finish. No need to worry about Pflug, he doesn't drink.

Good luck this weekend.