Yesterday, I was riding around the Buffalo Marathon course to cheer on some friends that were running in it. I stopped at the 7.5/11 mile point. After they had all passed, I got back onto my bike to ride ahead, and found I had a flat tire! Ouch! I moved my bike back to the side of the road, and changed the tube. I had 1 spare tube, and 1 CO2 cartridge, and a little tire filler thing that I have never used. I also had a small bike tool kit. I managed to change the tube in under 10 minutes. Before installing the new tube, I ran my fingers around the inside of the tire, but didn’t feeling anything sticking through it. The spare tube had a short valves stem instead of the longer valve stem, but it worked. I threw the old tube into my back pocket. I debated about throwing the old tube away, but I decided I could patch it and at least find out where the puncture was. Whether it was from a spoke, or a pinch or what.

When I got from the race yesterday I bought some new tubes with the longer stems, and CO2 cartridges. I will carry 2 tubes and 2 CO2 cartridges with me on the century next weekend. Hopefully that will be more than enough. I haven’t have a flat in many many years.

Last night I added air to the tube that flatted, but it seemed to be holding air. Maybe it was just a loose valve, and it leaked. But this morning I found it was softer. I added more air, and stuck it in a bucket of water. I found the hole on the outside. I patched the tube using the patch kit in my tiny Park tool kit that I carry with me.

The new tube seems to be doing fine. I am going to swap it out since it has a short valve stem, and my new bike with aero rims uses the long valve stems. I had the short valve stem tubes for my Trek with the non-aero rims.

*GRUMBLE!!!*

I was going to swap the tube out, and found the tire was soft. I pulled the tube out, and found the tube had a small hole in it, again on the outside. About the same place as the other one, about 3-4 inches from the valve stem. It’s like there is something sticking in the tire in one spot. But I had taken the tire off, and hadn’t marked where the valve stuff had been in relation to it. I have looked closely inside/outside the tire, and don’t see anything. I don’t feel anything at all. Ack!

Maybe I will throw a couple Specialized Armadillos on it. I had one brand new Armadillo out in the garage. So I pulled the Hutchison Quartz off, and installed the Specialized Armadillo. The Armadillo is slightly heavier (a few ounces). I remounted the wheel then went to wash my hands. I felt a small stab in the palm of my hand. I found a small metal sliver. Not sure if this is what causing my problems or what. I will probably go buy another Armadillo. I have never had a flat with kevlar lined tires. So yeah, they are slightly heavier, but if I don’t have to change flats!!!

Ack! I just read a review on how slow the Armadillos are. That people use em for training but not for races. Maybe I will stick the other tire back on, and hope that little sliver was the issue. If it goes flat this week, I can always put the armadillo on for my Century. But I can always keep track of where the hole in the tube is in relation to the tire. So that if there is something in the tire, I can locate it.

Ack! I guess better now than in the middle of a 100 mile ride!

I pulled the Specialized Armadillo off and re-mounted the Hutchison Quartz. Then I realized I mounted the Hutchison Quartz in the wrong direction. So I pulled it off, turned it around, and reinstalled it. At least I am getting lots of practice changing the tubes and tires. It may help during a bike race. I hope that little metal sliver I found was what was causing my flats! I will take the bike out for a ride later and see if I get another flat. If I get a flat, I will try to find the position on the tire where the puncture is occuring.

Such fun!