Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Snakebitten - chapter 2

For the most part, I consider myself a pretty lucky guy - so I don't like adding chapters to this heading.

So, after my previous post on getting a little concerned all over again about the tubular tires I've started to experiment with - I decided to strip them off of the Tufo tape and reglue them with the glue recommended by continental - the maker of my conti competition tires - and you guessed it, they recommend continental glue be used to glue their tires - go figure. But I bit, you know, just in case it actually might hold them on better on top of conti selling an extra can of glue.

I won't beat around the bush. Installing tubular tires is laborious. Stretch the tire. Put a layer of glue on, let it dry, put another layer on, let it dry, put another layer on, then wrestle with the wheel while trying to stretch the tire over it, while it has wet glue on it - yeah, it's like that. But once on, you should be set for a might long time right. That's how it's supposed to work.

So after this process - I got out Tuesday night with Zeph (who recently got caught wrestling something else), Brandon and Tyler - a few of the conmen who suckered me into leadville, and piled it on by making throw my name in the hat for LOTOJA. Once again am crossing my fingers I don't get drawn. Anyway, back to the ride. I put on the Easton Aero wheels with the newly glued tubies on them - thumbs still raw from wrestling the tires on - and head down the north side of the hill to the local grocery store, then back up to meet the gang for a quick tour into Utah County and then back up the hill to get home.

First item of note - those of you who ride suncrest know that when descending the north side, you need to be ready for some wind coming around the second left handed bend on the way down. There's a little there more often than not, and sometimes it can be stiff, which can be sketchy at 50+ mph. I learned real quick that those deeper dish wheels make my bike buck a little harder when that wind hit's it - no fun crash story, but pucker factor none the less.

I meet a guy named Paul on the ride back up who was good company which makes the climb go a little faster, and meet up with the guys. We race down the south side trying to keep up with EB who makes his bike go pretty fast down hills and settle into a nice ride. The tubies feel great, no sketch factor at all. Then it happens. PSSHH. It wasn't pssssssssssss, it was PSSHH - and the whole group heard it. At first I thought it was my front tire, which had sealant in it, which I thought worked great. But no such luck - it was the rear tire, which had no sealant, and no sealant worked about as well as you'd expect.

So before I can rave about the pros of my new tubular tires, I've got a couple of con's to bring up.
1 - Your screwed if you get a flat. Granted- sealant should eliminate this the large majority of the time - but if not, your screwed. No tube to throw in or patch to throw on. The only fix is to carry an extra tire, which you'll need to throw on and ride gingerly home since there's not much besides a tight fit holding it on your wheel. After having to wrestle it on in public on the side of a road.
2 - Carrying an extra tire isn't really that much more of a deal in regards to weight and room than carrying your standard spare tube - other than I think I'd feel a little silly announcing to the group - "uh, hold up once second, forgot to grab my spare tire".
3 - Carrying that spare tire is that much more of a deal on a cost basis. That flat tire I got - it was a bad one, large slice on the sidewall, not sealable with sealant - so the tire's shot, with less than 150 miles on it. Here's the rub - those things cost $100 a pop. Yes, there are cheaper tubies, and I'm a frugal guy for the most part, but not in this case. So yes, I was a little peeved at ruining an expensive tire after so little use, and more peeved about the prospect of having to wrestle a new one onto that dang wheel again - it's currently being "stretched" in preparation for install tomorrow night.

While on the topic of cons - here's another. Cell phone reception can sometimes be spotty where I live in Suncrest - it's great most of the time, but there are moments. So, tire's blown, I tell the guys I forgot my spare tire, and to go on without me, I'll call my wife for a ride. It's about 7:30 and I'm up by Cedar Hills Golf Course - can see my house across the way. In fact, I can almost hear my wife's phone ringing, in my house, while looking at it while calling - but what's really going on in my house - silence - wife's cell phone is sitting on the counter taking a nap, and pretending I'm not calling it. No ring, no indication that I just left my 8th voicemail saying it's 8:30, cold, and I'm standing on the side of the road in cycling shorts and a sweaty jersey - trying to dramatize the phone into working by explaining I'm dipping into a hypothermic state. Still didn't work.

Luckily - the conmen's phone's were working, and after hitching a ride down to the gas station by a sympathetic fellow cyclist - thanks Kyle in the yellow truck, Brandon was gracious enough to drive back down the hill and pick my sorry behind up and take me home. First time I've been snakebitten on a road ride - and think I'm not due again for quite some time.


zeph said...

meant to ask you this the other night...what was the thought process behind putting sealant in the front tire, but not the rear?

i was glad to be on the ride with you...validated my decision to NOT ride tubeless on the road. too far too fast and a long way from home. i bet annie agrees and was intentionally ignoring your call to teach you a painful and chilly lesson.

ps - rawrod?

Jason said...

Think I got side tracked with a poopy diaper when putting the sealant in, and never finished the job.

I rode tubeless, not to be confused with tubular, most of last year with no problems. First problem with that set up was this year when the rubber band ball that the stan's turns into after a while caused some serious wobble at speeds over 40 mph - an issue that should be specific to the road bike I would think - no such problem with the mountain bike. Still tubeless on the mountain bike, back to tubes on the non tubular road bike wheelset.

Yes on Rawrod