Sunday, November 04, 2007

These tubulars are cursed...

I made a realization today... if I do no other good, I at least serve as a way for the rest of the bike racing community to feel better about themselves. With all my crashes, mishaps, and general suckitude this season, I just hope that after that bad race you can say "Man, at least I'm not Rich."

Today could have been the big one I've been trying to pull off. The scene was Northampton for the big Verge race. I'm a big fan of this course since it gives you a little of everything. Fortunately I stayed over in Western Mass last night so the drive was less than half of what it could have been. I was there super early anyways so I had plenty of time to prep. I was also giving the tubulars another try after having the front re-glued and the rear checked out. I hadn't had a chance to test them yet so I wanted to do lots of laps. I had pumped them up yesterday and then they stayed in the car overnight. When I took them out they were both basically flat. I was worried, but they held new air so I wrote it off to the cold. What I noticed though was that throughout warmups, the rear kept losing a little air. The front had a little too, but not as much and they seemed to be getting better as I rode more. One last check and a top-off of the rear 15 minutes before race start and I headed up there.

Had a fairly early signup so I think I was in the 4th row. The race starts and for a change I got it right (mostly). Didn't find my pedal instantly, but quick enough and I was off. I will note I practiced this on Friday night and I think it really did help. Basically nobody went by me before turn 1 and I was actually riding well. I was maybe 15th and I didn't really know what to do with myself :) I felt GOOD and I blew threw a few guys running the sandpit and then busted up the runup to stay in great shape. I was right around a guy from the team who eventually finished 12th and is a good gauge for me so I was just a happy guy. Then it happened. I noticed all of a sudden that the rear wheel felt a little squishy. Then I came off the fast ugly downhill and knew something was wrong. The rear was all over the place, but wasn't quite flat. I had to make a choice... the pits were right there so I could take a wheel and then try to chase back or I could see if the tire held. Into the pits it was. Fortunately Bill D was there and helped me with the change which felt like it took forever, but was probably actually quite admirable. Out of the pits and I wasn't DFL so I had to get to business. What I noticed shortly though was that I could hear some brake rub so something wasn't right. It didn't feel like it was too bad though I so decided not to stop again and check it and just put my head down. I did ride fairly well for the rest of the race, but I was just way in the hole. Then on the next to last lap I sort of slid out on an easy turn and went down on one knee. I had just made contact with a huge group that I was going to work through, and then I lost contact so I basically packed it in. Rolled home in some meaningless mid-pack position although I did manage to gap a guy over the barriers and ride away for that one meaningless spot. By the way, after the race I checked the rear wheel and if I gave it a light spin, it wouldn't even go around twice. The left brake pad was basically ON the rim so I had ridden all but half a lap of the race with my rear brakes half on. I better get payback for that unnecessary workout at a future race.

2 major points of excitement from the B-Masters was G getting the hole shot and then Coley taking second in a 2 up sprint. I think Gary was top 10 and Bill D was up there too.

So the tires... I dunno. Next step is that some proper valve extenders and some Tufo sealant are on order. I was talking to Tommy Mannion after the race and he was saying he also had some problems like this and it turned out to be an issue with the valve stems/cores not being tight. I'm going to tinker a little and try to get this figured out. This keeps going and maybe I'll be donating to the "Bad Brad wants tubies" fund. Maybe I can call it a positive that I started and finished on the front which peeled off last week. Kudos to Landry's for doing it right which I obviously couldn't do.


badbrad said...

With the luck you're having with those tubbies I'm not sure if I even want them!

You'll get me next time ;)

badbrad said...

but my fund is still taking donations regardless!

CCC said...

Stick with it Rich, you're due!