Flat as a pancake
Sunday was all set-out to be a big day. Good riding has been sporadic this winter, following snow, ice, shed-loads of rain last week and a knee complaint over the New Year. But yesterday dawned balmy, dry and, albeit blustery, perfect for heading out into the sticks for some much-needed base mileage.
Living in the depths of south London, I planned to catch a train down to Sevenoaks and take a tour of the local lanes before heading back over the North Downs ridge, through Biggin Hill and Downe until confronted by busier Tarmac. Forty to fifty miles or so, all-in-all.
With the Lynskey Sportive thoroughly cleaned only the day before and a couple of High5’s energy bars to test, I left the house in high spirits, only to be stopped in my tracks little more than 400m after setting foot outside the door. An instant flat.
Winter riding is tough on tyres and tubes, with an abundance of glass and flints strewn across the road. Having not hit a pothole, I whipped out the tube to find the culprit – nothing that caught the eye.
With still no obvious cause and rain beginning to fall, I took refuge under a tree and set about inserting a fresh Specialized tube, taking extra care to ensure my own handiwork was up to scratch to avoid a repeat performance. With only a mini-pump to hand, I forced in sufficient pressure and planned to top-up with the track pump locked up outside Evans Cycles’ London Bridge branch.
Following DA’s advice, I purchased another tube to ensure I still had two in the saddlepack and, with 110psi in the back tyre and my spirit restored, made the short hop across the road and onto the station concourse.
Utter, utter deflation – the only way to describe the second quick-fire flat which, in a few short seconds, left the rim bouncing along the road. Glass? Pinch flat? Dodgy tube? Shoddy handiwork? There was no opportunity to find out – for that short moment, I was done with cycling. Dummy spat out, toys out of the pram and a vow to give the Lynskey’s stock, and slick, Michelin Pro 3 Race tyres, which have a reputation for cutting up easily, a closer inspection once the red mist has lifted.
So I walked the mile home, threw the bike in the corner, fly-kicked the turbo* and went for a long, hard run which, having not done much on two feet recently and therefore ignoring my own advice, will undoubtedly leave me reeling with DOMS on Tuesday, extending Sunday’s agony well into a new week. Can you tell I’m still a bit peeved?
*Not really – but I could feel it mocking me from the corner of the room.