Saturday, February 05, 2011

California - Day 12 Off Day Podcast and Tubes

Today I stayed off the bike for no real reason, just general fatigue. I fell asleep in the middle of the morning, then drifted off again in the afternoon, and basically felt kind of blah the whole day.

The most interesting thing happened early in the day, at least as far as local time goes. I got to be on the Spokesmen Cycling Roundtable Podcast (number 60). I am not a regular on it, nor am I normally on podcasts at all, so it was a bit comical because I was so new to it all.

I was bad enough that they had to restart the whole thing (thankfully it wasn't being broadcast live) and let my friend introduce me instead of letting me talk about me.

When I tried to introduce myself it went kind of like this:
"Um. I. Um. So. Uh."

I really had only two "speaking parts" that I remember. It's tough working out the etiquette on a delayed-sound group chat on Skype and if I'm ever on again I'll have to keep some of those lessons in mind.

The various participants, all pretty interesting and opinionated folk, struck me as being very polite. Most opinionated folk will talk over anyone and everyone to get their ideas out, but this group, they listened too.

It was kind of like an ideal debate, with all parties listening and talking.

The big surprise was that Floyd Landis joined on the call. I, of course, had just stated that I thought he'd doped in 2006, but that he wasn't the only one, and therefore it was a "fair" race. I also pointed out at some point that he had tested for a substance he hadn't been taking, which seemed wrong.

So on that note Floyd dialed in. Great.

On top of all that I had to introduce myself to Floyd. That was kind of a repeat of my ghastly introduction that had to be cut. I can't think of a reason why he'd remember anything I said other than all the ums and ahs I used.

I wish I mentioned (but didn't) that I thought he was innocent of doping on a technicality. He tested positive for something he wasn't taking, and he never tested positive for stuff he took (and for which they tested him).

I didn't mention (and wished I did) that I have friends who believed in him. Who I think still believe in him, at least as a person, if not in his doping purity.

Anyway it was really interesting and fun. It's kind of like the talks that we used to have at the bike shop, or sitting around after a race, or whenever you get together with other like-minded folk and talk about bikes and racing and doping and stuff.

Exhausted after this very stressful (due to newness, not negativity) experience, I took a spontaneous nap at, oh, like 10 AM.

We went on a little shopping trip and I got to get some more food supplies (which I'm eating as I type), looked for some stuff for the daughter's dance tonight (found them), and bought six (6!) tubes for my bike.

Since I didn't do much today, and I have pretty strong feelings about tubes, I'll put down what I put in a forum post just now (cleaned up a touch for clarity).

I'm ruthless when it comes to patches. If a rider has a flat, installs a patched tube, and the patch fails, I'm merciless. If they're a very good friend then I'll wait while I tell them never to ride with me with patched tubes. If they're not a good friend then I relentlessly hammer into them their total and absolute inconsideration for their fellow riders.

I've yet to leave a rider behind, but they inevitably only have one spare tube (the one that just failed because they tried to save a few bucks by patching it), daylight's running out, and I know how to change a tube quickly and efficiently, much more so than the rider in question, because I've changed hundreds if not thousands of flats in the 15 years I worked in a bike shop. It's much better for me to change the tube in a couple minutes and rag on them all the way back to the end of the ride while they ride MY tube that I installed on their wheel than watching them struggling for 10 minutes to install the (my) new tube wrong and puncture it before they get back on the bike.

I have been on a ride where a rider actually tried to patch a tube on the side of the road after a flat. I told the rider not to be idiotic and gave him a tube.

I also refuse tube payback. You should not return a tube to me. You should give it to the next idiot that insists on using a patched tube that fails on a group ride (since, by definition, any reader of this particular post won't have a patched tube in their saddlebag, there must be another rider on the ride who has a patched tube, therefore it's a group ride).

If you ride a patched tube, do it on your time, not a group's time.

I give my punctured tubes to others.

New tubes sit in the saddlebag, always, and on my wheels. I just bought 6 tubes at full retail at the local (during the aforementioned shopping trip) shop to replace the two I flatted (one I flatted, one I gave to a ride companion that flatted). Now I'm up 4 tubes. This should put me at +40 or +50 something tubes, but I rarely have more than 6 or 8 tubes on hand at one time. Well, except when I buy huge quantities - at one point I bought a box of 50 700c tubes, and I don't think I've used that many tubes in 10 years for anything.

To counter my anti-patch crusade, I very infrequently flat and therefore usually have a few tubes floating around. As I mentioned before, I give most of my tubes away.

Exception to my anti-patch thoughts - low pressure tires, like kid's bikes or wheelbarrows and such. Say 40 psi or lower. Those can be patched.

I guess it's a pet peeve of mine. Heh.

Phew, right?


Tomorrow I'll be going to the Red Trolley Crit. I plan on doing the 35+. When I first thought of my trip out here, before I got sick for 3 weeks, I thought of doing the P12 race. You know, because I can.

Enter it.

But when I started scanning the short list of pre-reg riders, some names popped out at me, names I didn't feel like riding against.

In contrast the M35+ race seemed more realistic. As one of my hosts said succinctly, "I know which one I'd register for."

I'll be meeting up with one or two virtual friends, riders I interact with online.

I don't really feel great, comfort food notwithstanding, so I have very low expectations. I told the daughter here that I expect to do maybe five laps, maybe ten. Not much more than that. I didn't want her to go to the race with high expectations of their annual training camp guest.

She told me that I should do at least 20 laps. And that I don't need to win, I could just finish the race instead.

If only life were that easy. But I am going - I even took money out of an ATM machine to pay for my entry (those that know me know I use ATMs to withdraw money about as often as I used patched tubes in my tires).

I just have to see how long I'll last in the race.


Tom said...

OK, so you don't like patched tubes. But do you have another post explaining why? Is there some evidence that they're a waste of time, or is it just a matter of personal preference?

Aki said...

Good question because I didn't say it. I've seen a lot of patched tubes fail where they were patched. As a risk averse person I view the risks of a patch failing as higher than getting a defective new tube.

Therefore, to reduce risk of a failed tube, it's better to have a new tube than a patched tube, especially a patched tube that hasn't been extensively tested.

It irritates me when riders ride significantly cut tires or tubes with multiple patches. To me that's irresponsible. Yes, it's okay if the rider is doing a solo ride - they only affect themselves. It's less okay when a preventable equipment failure affects 10 or 20 or 30 others.

Tom said...

well, you certainly have much more experience than I do, so I'll take your word for it.

BTW, really enjoyed your account of Double Peak Park. I rode up to the beginning of the steep part in a recumbent 6 mos. ago, but haven't tried it with a road bike. I'm trying to psych myself up to do it tomorrow.

Christopher said...

What do you mean by fail? The only problem I've ever had with patched tubes is where I've got another puncture through the patch due to a cut in the outer tyre. Is it possible that this is why you've encountered patched tubes failing where they're patched? Obviously this will be fairly common particularly if you don't notice the cut in the tyre or don't consider it serious enough to get a new tyre. Or do you mean something else by fail? I personally really can't see why patched inner tubes would be in any way more likely to fail than fresh tubes. Do you have a theory as to why they would?

Aki said...

I've seen a lot of people who had tubes that leaked at the patch area. Unfortunately my experience only allows correlation, not causal conclusions. I don't bother diagnosing the tube's issue if the tire is good and I have a perfectly good tube nearby. I just use the new tube because I've seen less failures with a new tube than with patched tubes.

I may be jaded because I used to buy tubes in boxes of 50 (a bike shop goes through a lot of tubes each year, maybe 1000+ for a smaller shop). But having replaced a significant quantity of failed patched tubes, I decided long ago that new tubes have a lower failure rate.

This is why tubular repair services should install a new tube, not patch the existing one. The price of a failed patch is too great in a repaired tubular.

I did come across harsh on the tube thing, but consider a group ride where someone shows up late and then announces that they need to swap tires and cassette onto a new wheelset because their old one is cracking (or whatever). The bike isn't ready to ride. It's not fair to the group.

If that rider is going solo, they can take as much time as they want prepping their bike or patching a tube or whatever. I know I spend time prepping my bike when riding solo, but for group rides I feel responsible for not holding them up.