The question is ‘ can you still race with a puncture?’ Well, its unlikely, but if its cyclo-cross, you’ve got as good a chance as any. My 2013-2014 cyclo season started with a bang. Literally. I dug the bike out of the stables where it had been 'over-summering' and gave it a cursory check over. This was at 8am on a bleary Saturday Morning. I was due to set off for regional event at Durham at 9am. The 'vicar' (rhyming slang for the Ridley; vicar of Dibley..) looked fine and just as I’d left it last February. I loaded it into the motor and by 10am I was parked up and unloading in Durham.
The course was busy and the weather very fine. After putting the wheels on, I went to pump up the tyres, but found one of the valves had snapped. No bother. I had another tube in the car and bags of time. Trouble was the tube was for a road tyre (23mm) rather than for a chunky cross tyre (35mm). I fitted the slimline tube and pumped it up to the max so that the pump was wheezing when I disconnected it. The physics, however, doesn’t work and the tyre was still soft even though I believed the tube inside was groaning like a pair of Jabba the Hutts trousers; gasping and about to go ‘ping’.I rode gently around the course and set about tightening the brake cables. Once done, I considered the machine was rideable as long as I went steady. Having paid my £12, I gathered on the line with the vets, women and juniors and before you could say ‘get a grip on yourself’ we were off and I was exchanging pleasantries to my Gothic clubmate as we watched the hardcore crossers snake off ahead.
Each lap of the University sports ground was around 8 minutes to get around, and after a couple of laps I was getting back into the swing of things and passing people (men mostly) with glib satisfaction. However, the glekit smile was soon wiped off my chops when over the gravel the front tyre, which had been doing very well up to now, went ‘bang’ and that was that. I walked the bike over the top of the course, back to the car and grabbed the camera and snapped away. It did look like a laugh from the sidelines and there were a few faces I recognised from fell running, notably Donnelly and NFR’s Robertson. Its' just such a good aerobic workout.Afterwards it was a natter with the lads and a tikka roll and cuppa. Nipped into the bike shop later on the way back and bought two new tubes (the right size this time). Also stroked a carbon framed Trek which had my name on it. But restraint was required.
Nipped out for a 7 mile run later in the afternoon, cause I felt the was some residual energy left. After a steady 11 mile run this morning, there seems less energy about and with an early start tomorrow, it’s off to bed.