April 24, 2024
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April 24, 2024
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Ironman in Canada Part 7: When Bad Things Happen for Good Reasons

My wife bought me a new bike for my 50th birthday.

She did not buy me spare tires.

(You are going to blame this on her?)

Yeah, maybe I should change that tone.

(Doing so might just save your…)

Last Sunday I got a flat tire.

(Did you pick up the bike and jog home?)

I was 17 miles from home.

(Did you call AAA?)

No, I started to change the tire myself.

(You can do that?)

I’ve done that before.

(Why not patch it? Changing sounds like a lot of work)

During a race one does not have the time to sit and wait for the glue to dry.

(How long does it take to change a bike tire?)

A good triathlete can do it in less than two minutes.

(How long does it take you?)

My record is five minutes 45 seconds.

(Ah, but how long did it take you on Sunday?)

Grab a comfy chair my friend, I have a story for you.

To change a flat bicycle tire, one must change the punctured tube that sits between the wheel and the tire.

First you must remove the wheel. Now removing the front wheel only requires the counter clock rotating of the skewer.

(The what?)

The front wheel axle.

(Bicycle axles are called skewers?)

Yes, a quick release skewer is a mechanism for attaching a wheel to a bicycle. It consists of a rod threaded on one end and with a lever operated cam assembly on the other.

With the wheel free of the frame I started peeling the tire off the rim.

I removed the dead tube and tossed it over my shoulder like it was a road flattened snake.

Bicycle tire tubes come in all shapes and sizes and unfortunately, I had the wrong ones with me.

My previous bike had standard size rims.

My new bike has Zipp rims.

(What are Zipp rims?)

Deep rim carbon aero wheels.

(So what?)

There’s a little valve on the end of the rubber tube. That is how the air gets into the tire. That valve has to stick out of the rim for the air to get into it.

(How “deep” are your Zipp wheels?)

Fifty eight millimeters.

(And how long were the valves on your spare tires?)

Thirty five millimeters.

(So there wasn’t any chance of you inflating that tube?)

Not a chance.

(So, in the middle of a race, with the correct tubes, do you perform mouth-to-bike tube?)

A CO2 cartridge will fully inflate a bike tire…


Tube in one and a half seconds and if those fail I also have a hand pump on my bike.

(So how did you get home?)

I called my ever-loving wife.

“I have a flat.”

“Are you OK?”

“Yup, I’m safe.”

“You know how to change a bike tire…why are you calling me?”

See, this where my brain goes, select response:

(Choose your next words carefully, they may be your last.)

Answer: D, “I have the wrong tubes.”

“You are lucky, I was about to pick up pizza for the kids. Where are you?”

My brain:

(You chose B.)

Yeah, but we stopped for pizza on the way home.

(What about the bike?)

We brought it along to the pizza pick up.

(What did you do about the flat?)

The very next day I took the front wheel to the bike shop.

It seems that they don’t make tubes specifically for deep rim carbon aero wheels.

They make valve extenders.

(You had no idea?)

None. Had this happened during a triathlon, I never would have finished the race. Sometimes bad things happen for good reasons.

David Roher is a USAT certified marathon and triathlon coach. He is a multi-Ironman finisher and a veteran special education teacher. He can be reached at: [email protected]

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