Florida State Series (FSC) #5, San Felasco Hammock, Alachua, October 23, 2011.This was my first race since Fontana (SERC, back in August) and frankly I wasn’t sure what shape I was in. I’d only been back on the bike about 4 weeks after getting doubled up with the sicks (food poisoning and a nasty cold), so I was anxious to find out.
I did okay. I was with the main group at the start all the way through the start of the singletrack, and finished with some slow but consistent lap times.
On the third lap I felt the handling get a bit squishy and my first thought was, “Oh no, I’m flatting!” I stopped for a second but the rear tire still seemed to be hard. “I’m not flatting.”
But the handling continued to get weird so I stopped again and this time the rear tire was a little soft. “Oh, no! I’m flatting!”
What to do? I’m halfway through the last lap. Do I change it? Do I go on?
I flipped the bike over, released the rear wheel, felt the tire again and said, “Naaaaaah!” I took out a CO2 cartridge and used about half of it (just in case I really did need to change the tube) and flipped the bike back over. At that point the back wheel came off (because I forgot to secure the release), and at some point in time a dude I passed at the begining of the lap passed me back.
So I’m back on my bike…only 3 miles to go in the race mind you…and things still feel squishy. So I stop the bike for a third time but the rear tire is still as hard as a rock. “Dude, you’re just imagining things…go go go!!”
I fire off but now I know the handling is going bad. I can feel the thing moving strange on the corners but, I think to myself, “I can make it!” I better make it anyway, because it turned out I didn’t have enough CO2 left to fill a small balloon.
On the last fast hill that leads down to the finish I stay off the pedals and just hope the bike doesn’t flip on the turn. It doesn’t and a minute later I roll in for a 13th place finish. I get off and grab the back tire…and it’s still fairly hard. WTF?
So I walk back to the car and I notice the FRONT wheel is flat. Huh! I double flatted on the last lap. “Well, I’ll be!”
The last time that happened to me was at the Chicksaw Trace Classic back in 2007. For all the world it felt like it was the rear sliding out, not the front.
Anyway, when I sent my coach a race recap I sent him my 5 Stages of Flat Denial:
1. Oh No! I’m Flatting!
2. No, I’m Not Flatting.
3. OH NO, I REALLY AM FLATTING!
4. I Can Make It!
5. No I Can’t. Shit.
And per the Strackacobra mission statement (“Hey, that would make a great t-shirt”), we made a great t-shirt with the Preserve Your Nuts squirrel on the front and the 5 Stages of Flat Denial on the back. I hope you enjoy it!
The Shirts for When it Hurts: Cycling tees for Mountain Bikers and Cyclists, visit Strackacobra!