Posts Tagged ‘puncture’

Feeling a little deflated?

22 May 2012

Yesterday, I got my first puncture in a long while. Ever since switching to the Bontrager Hard Case Lites I have not suffered a puncture out in the field, as it were. I think it was on the Frenchtown practice ride back in 2010 that I got my last puncture. So to get one on a local ride means it is time for new tyres.

Yesterday was such a beautiful day for riding. A very slight breeze, maybe too light to be even considered a breeze, coming from the East. I was finally out in short sleeves so the temperature at 6am was nice. Sunday had been a hot day and I got a little burned working in the back garden wearing just a vest. So I was looking for a faster time as I was not wearing a layer that would add air resistance.

My first checkpoint is after 2 miles, once I get to the top of Hoffman Lane, to the West of the landfill. 8:15 minutes is a good time to get there but I am normally around 8:30 – 8:45. From my time there, I can usual gauge how the rest of the ride will go, especially if I can discern the direction of the wind, if there one. Yesterday’s split was 7:49. I could barely believe it. That’s a great split. Of course, when I get a split like that, you know there is not going to be any letting up. My next split is when I come back to Motor Parkway after climbing Blydenburg Rd. I got there in 18:58. Under 20 is a great time there so I was very pleased to see 18 at the front.

The rest of the ride was going well. I got up to 37+ going down Motor Parkway and it has been a while since I have gotten that fast. Normally, with layers, it is about 32/33mph. So I was maintaining the pace, if not actually increasing it. Nipping down Terry, where I was briefly dismayed having gotten behind a school bus which put on its red stop lights, then along Johnson to Ocean Avenue and back up to the start of Motor Parkway, I got there in 36 minutes. Normally I think 38 is a fast time. By now I am sure I am challenging for my best ever time around this route. I got my second best time ever last week, down two minutes on the all time fastest, but I was almost two minutes faster on that time already.

I was zipping around the lake when I got the feeling that my back tyre was flat. You can tell straight away. It is a feeling of harmony with the bike and you can tell when the wheel behaves out of character. I checked the tyre and it was deflating. I slow wheeled around to a safer place to change the tyre. As I was trying to inflate the spare a little before tucking it under the tyre, I couldn’t discern any air coming out of the inflator. No! It’s broke? Couldn’t be! But it was. I tucked the tube inside the tyre, popped the tyre back into the rims and tried inflating the tube. Nothing. I disassembled the inflator, wondering, hoping it was just dirt. Put it back together and felt a little air. I twisted the inflator a little more and felt more air come out. It was going to be enough to allow me to limp home rather than go all out.

I decided to take a different route as I had given up on the fast ride and I nearly got lost. I knew I was in the triangle between Motor Parkway, Ocean Avenue and Old Nichol’s but where in that triangle I was, I couldn’t tell. I decided to head east, after coming to two dead ends as I was bound to hit either Motor Parkway or Old Nichol’s. Fortunately, I came out on to Old Nichol’s and from there, I found Townline which leads to home.

So it could have been a fast ride, a very fast ride, but it wasn’t to be. However, I think it is indicative that I am feeling strong which is just as well as I have a 400k on Saturday and then the big ride of the year, the PA 600k the following weekend.

Just got back from Windy City

16 April 2011

Boo. That’s all I want to say, boo! Where did the higher temperatures go to? I had already laundered my winter cycling clothes and put them away in drawers for the first time in months. Now I had to get them out again and don them once more.

I actually checked the weather last night. Windy and cold today or more windy but less cold on Sunday. Wind today was from the East and the wind tomorrow is from the SW. I chickened out and opted for a tail wind to end with; I went out today.

A new route was created today. Last weekend, Alma told me that on the Mt. Sinai Patchogue road, it is the highest point on Long Island. It looked like a long gentle climb up so I wanted to try it out. I actually think I had done it before but was not too sure. As such, it was a nice climb as climbs go. There was a cross wind at that point which helped to slow me down as I began the descent. It turned out to be a nice route. Only 30 miles but on semi decent surfaces for the most part.

Two bad incidents though during the ride. First, another puncture. I have no faith in the Specialized tyres and should have changed them before now. I have two brand new Bontrager Hardcases waiting to go on the wheels. So six miles into the ride I am thinking, “Do I have a puncture?” It wasn’t obvious but enough to make me wonder. I got off the bike and felt the tyre. Yup, a puncture. I quickly changed inner tubes. I checked the tyre but could not find anything poking through that would have caused the puncture. I was debating whether to make it a shorter ride at that point. I had another spare and because I was doing a circular, I wouldn’t be really increasing my distance from home, if I needed to walk. I proceeded as planned.

The second incident really got my goat! A STANLEY STEAMER van driver had an issue with the lane I was cycling in on 347. There were four lanes going East. The right most lane was a right turn only lane and as I was not turning right, I was not in the lane. The van driver beeped his/her horn a few times and the passenger wildly swung their arms around. They passed by me very close. There must have been inches in it. They got a lot of verbal from me and some hand action I am too polite to go into further details! I sent them an email thought I don’t expect a reply at all. We shall see. But it is drivers like that that should be banned from our roads.

Anyway, apart from that, it was a good ride.

Cranbury 200k v2.011

6 April 2011

I guess it could have been a lot worse. It could have been 201km!! (Actually, it was over, as I mapped wrongly on the GPS and despite a warning from behind I was on the wrong road, I continued on.)

The good news was that it wasn’t freezing or raining. I think that is the extent of the good news. Oh, the fact that I finished inside the timeframe is also good news. This ride came three weeks earlier than last year and I could tell. My fitness levels are not as high as they were last year and I am carrying a couple of extra pounds still. That needs to go soon as I don’t want to be lugging up the equivalent of dive weights up and down hills.

Alma gave me a lift to the start. A much better starting place than last year, where we had some old Cranbury inhabitant complaining of the lack of parking spaces at 6:45 on a Sunday morning in the pouring rain. When we got to the Village Park, it was filled with randonneurs. I passed the bike inspection with ease though I was without the dynamo light. Not that I planned on using a light but was pleased I had enough charge in the NiteRider light to get by.

Seven o’clock came and we got the nod from Laurent to clear off. We slowly made our way out of the park and along the first quiet street. As soon as the right-hand corner was being rounded, I saw the leading riders suddenly start sprinting. A traffic light at the end of the next street grouped everyone together and then it turned green and people began pedalling. The lead rider was already out on his own – not sure who it was until we see the official timings. The peloton split in two and I was stuck in the second group. I rounded a few riders and pedalled to bridge the gap. A couple of other riders sat on my tail as I closed the gap. I haven’t done any speed work at all this year and it was beginning to show. After 4.88 miles, I was dropped from the leading group – they disappeared into the distance and due to lights, there was no-one visible behind me. I was waiting for the second group to claw me back.

Two riders appeared up front and before I knew it, I was on their tails and taking a much needed breather. I followed for a few miles and we were joined by a small group of about six riders. I missed a left turn and the original two riders followed me but the other group turned. We made a U-turn and followed the group through the housing estate. At some point, I think I dropped the other two riders as I tried in vain to stay in touch with the group. I was officially dumped at a light where I missed the green and didn’t go through the red. We were not far from the first check-in and I saw them briefly as we neared the coast for the first time. Then before I knew it, Burger King. Grok disappeared and I order an egg and sausage croissantwich!

A brief visit to the bathroom, eating sandwich and I was off. I made a left turn and couldn’t get my cleat into the pedal. I thought it was loose – thinking back to the other week where I had to leave my boot on the bike. As I was checking it out, another group sailed me by. I grabbed on to their tails and followed them. We did our only climb of the ride as we approached the eastern coast line and as we made to cross the first metal bridge I got a puncture. I had to walk the bike over the bridge as I didn’t want to fix the puncture on the bridge. A few riders passed me by just after I changed tubes. It took me 20 minutes from the moment I noticed I had a puncture to getting back on the bike.

Travelling down the coast was aided slightly with a westerly wind though it was often blowing across rather than behind. The second check-in came, the Hess station. I filled up with water, grabbed something to eat, chatted a while and set off. Five more miles of travelling south then had me going into the wind. Most of the roads from now on would be travelling either north or west. It made a big difference. At times I was reduced to 10mph along the flat. I think I worked it out that if a person pedalled for the 90 hours of the PBP continuously, they would need to average 8.285 mph to finish within 90 hours. So at least I was going faster than that.

It was on this section that I made an error in the navigation. I am sure I must have done the same thing wrong last year as the roads did not look like the map and I was confused for a little while. This year, I didn’t stop to think about it until a mile and a half later down the road someone shouted behind me ‘Wrong road!” I turned to look, held out my hand and continued pedalling. I was dependent upon my GPS and trusted it would get me to the next check-in point. Funnily enough, I was chatting to the guy later on in the ride. He had turned around and gone back. As I came upon a right turn, there was the guy, standing by his bike checking his cue sheet. So not only had he turned around and gone back, he had gotten ahead of me. How many more miles had I added to the route? When I got to Wawa, I saw a few riders whom I had left at the Hess station and I know that I hadn’t been passed on that segment.

The last segment went by. I was computer watching and liked seeing the mileage creep up. Once I hit the 100 mile marker, the hundredths of a mile disappeared and the digits would only increment on the tenth of a mile rather than the hundredth. It seemed an eternity for the digits to change. But, a philosophy I have adopted with these long rides is that this time tomorrow, the ride will be over and I’ll be blogging about it. Time always moves forwards the mileage left always decreases.

At three miles left, I pulled over and turned on the camera. The first battery only lasted 3.75 hours and I had it taking a photo every one minute. I changed the frequency to every 5 seconds I think. I was passed by the same guy who had shouted at me all those miles ago. I followed him into the Village Park and saw huddled up in the car as I went by. It had taken me 90 minutes longer this year.

It was windier for sure, it was also earlier in April and this winter has seen tough conditions outside and I have not trained as much. However, I have no excuses as I can easily cycle indoors and I have not been doing that. The next 200k is in two and a half weeks and it is a hilly one. I shall be cycling most days between then and now.

Rattle and fun

28 March 2010

So much for setting off on a bike ride at 7am this morning. I was still sleeping at 7:30!! The Sunderland match was starting at 11 so wanted to be back for then.

Temperatures was back in the 30s. It is crazy to think that just one week ago temperatures were in the 70s. I have the suntan line to prove it! Ok, not very good proof, but it shows that it was hot. My feet were cold on Thursday after the ride but it was raining then and I think that had more to do with the wetness. So the plan for today was to do the climb up from Port Jefferson twice. Alma had asked me how it compared to Adamic Hill Road and I said that I would know better after today so I could do a proper comparison. (more…)

Frenchtown Practice ride

22 March 2010

Before anyone complains, I have forgotten everyone’s names already…  I do remember Jud, Leroy, Laurent and Rick as I knew their names before I even met them.  Anyway, I’m sure I’ll get to remember them soon.

Alma and I travelled down to Frenchtown the night before and stayed at Widow McCrae’s B&B.  I didn’t know until Sunday morning that the place was supposed haunted and could be the reason for the strange dream I had on Friday night.  But that story is for another blog site not one on cycling. 😛  I had brought with me shorts and a short sleeved jersey – it was going to be high temperatures but it was quite cold first thing in the morning.  Alma got ready for running and I headed off.  I was cold cycling down to the starting point.  I had forgotten my gloves but fortunately I phoned the cycle shop in town on the Friday just as they were closing and they said they would stay open for me if I made it down there in the next fifteen minutes.  That was nice of them so they get a big plug and a photo!!  Well done, Cycle Corner!!

Cycle Corner bike shop

Cycle Corner bike shop

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