Yesterday I had a 56 mile tempo ride planned after work. I had everything ready to go so all I had to do was put on my cycling gear and hit the road. I even created a playlist for my ipod. I never ride with my ipod but thought it might be fun and help keep me motivated. Everything was set and I was focused and determined to have a great ride.
And that's how the ride started. My power was right where I wanted it, my legs felt good and I was confident I could keep my power up around 220 the whole ride.
Just as I passed Fireman's Park in Verona and turned on Paoli Road I noticed a lot of rocks and debris in the road (not unusual for Paoli Rd) and I just missed hitting a bolt laying on the side of the road. I was thinking about what a close call that was because that probably would've given me a flat. Then I was thinking about how long it's been since I've had a flat and how I've never gotten a flat in a race and how I hope I don't get on in the Ironman and then poof - I got a flat.
This shouldn't have been a problem, except my CO2 inflator on my tri bike is different than the one I use for my road bike and this was my first time using it. I thought I knew how to use it, but it turns out I didn't (you have to slide the CO2 cartridge toward the rim to inflate the tire). In the process of figuring it out, I wasted a good part of the cartridge and didn't get enough air in my tire to continue my ride. I actually like this one better than my other one; I just needed some time to figure it out. I should've read the directions.
I rode back to Fireman's park hoping someone there would have a pump I could use, but there was no one there so I rode home slowly. Even though this flat ruined my ride, I think it was a good thing because I learned a few things...
1. Learn how to use your CO2 pump.
2. If you velcro your tube and CO2 to your bike, make sure it's easy to get at the ends of your velcro straps. Mine were tucked behind my bottle cages and I struggled to get them loose for several minutes. That would've been a lot of wasted time in a race.
3. Learn how to use your CO2 pump.
4. Carrying more than one CO2 cartridge is probably a good idea.
5. Learn how to use your CO2 pump.
6. Schwalbe Ultremo tires are great for quick tire changes...no tire levers required.
Now I know what I'll put in my special needs bag - extra tubes and CO2. I picked up some new Schwalbe Ultremos a few weeks ago that I'll put on about a week before the ironman so that should help avoid flats.