The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Must Be The Season of the Flat

If anyone knows how to break a bad tire spell, please let me know. In a previous post I noted how I was having an unnatural number of flats during this training season. Taking PscycleSteve's advice, two weeks ago I ditched my tires and bought two new Michelins.

Last week I rode on the new tires on Friday (27 miles) and had a metric century scheduled for Sunday (following the route of the Mansion Ride that I did in June). Nine miles into the ride, I got a flat on my rear tire. I changed the tube and shortened my ride to 50 miles without further event.

This morning I planned to do the same Mansion Ride route on the North Shore of Long Island. After getting to sleep at 2:45 a.m. following selichos, I woke up at 5:30 for the vasikin minyan. After driving to the Syosset train station, I was on the rode at 7:50 a.m.

Strangely, I felt strong rather than tired and was having a very pleasant ride on a very mild morning.

Five miles into the ride I took a detour to do a series of hill repeats at a short but very steep hill. I did three repeats of the hill (each of which was three tenths of a mile). The problem wasn't the ascent, it was the descent.

Normally, high downhill speeds don't bother me so I don't brake too hard. But, because the hill started on an extremely high gradient, it meant you had to break very hard at the bottom (or risk flying by the stop sign and going into a busy intersection). I tried my best to brake a lightly and gradually as possible but it was difficult to do so. (The problem with breaking hard is that it creates tremendous friction which creates heat which can blow a tube).

After the third descent, I was deciding whether to continue with the route or do another repeat. Suddenly, I heard a loud BOOM!, like a firecracker. I knew immediately that I was hosed. I just didn't know how badly.

I walked the bike to the curve to inspect the damage. Not only had I blown a tube, I had wrecked the tire. It was shredded at the clinch point for about 2 inches. This was not fixable.

Before I could even figure out what I was going to do (I was almost 5 miles from my car), I noticed two riders approaching me. One was riding slowly and the other was walking his bike. They came over to me to see what was going on. (They had heard the pop and actually saw smoke coming from my tire).

It turns out that the fellow walking his bike had himself suffered a double blowout (including one wrecked tire) when he hit a nasty pot hole. He was actually walking to a rendezvous point where his wife was picking him up. They had a bike rack and offered to drive me back to Syosset. That saved me huge agmas nefesh and probably an hour of walking on my cleats.

I couldn't find an open bike store so I just drove home. It was annoying to have woken up after less than three hours of sleep to get in less than 7 miles of riding but I was very grateful that I got the lift back to my car. When I got home I hopped on my spin bike and cranked very hard for another hour.

In the afternoon I bought a new, very expensive tire, a virtually indestructible Bontrager, the kind I used on my Trek 1500. I think I will replace my brand new front tire with a Bontrager as well.

Remarkably, I've completed three Alyn rides, over 1,000 miles without a single flat and until this year I never experienced anything like this while training. I think I got one flat all of last year. I am hoping that I am getting my bad-tire-vibes out of the way before the Alyn Ride.



  • At 2:58 PM, Blogger PsycleSteve said…

    Wow! I'm impressed. You've become so strong that you can actually cause your rear tire to smoke!!!

    I think everyone goes through a "flat" period. I used to get it on my Vittoria's so I switched to Michelins. They were ok for 2 years until I started getting flats. Switched recently to Vredestein (I'll take the Dutch over the French anyday). So far so good. "Meshana galgal, meshana mazal"?

  • At 3:23 PM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    It was just very frustrating yesterday because the next time I get to do a long ride is the day after Yom Kippur. On the other hand, hitching a ride in that spot was "min hashamayim" so I guess I shouldn't complain much.

    It looks like my Michelin phase lasted two weeks. Back to the Bontragers.

  • At 6:44 PM, Blogger Jacob Da Jew said…

    How much were the Bontragers?

    I think that my trek1ooo has them since the Armadillos are too big for the frame.

  • At 8:42 PM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    $50 each


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