IM Louiville

IM Louiville
Bikes racked at Ironman Louisville 2010

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Changing Tubular Tires

In preparation for this mornings time trial (bike race), I decided that I needed to re-mount my tubular tires on my racing wheels. I wasn't very stressed out about it because I haven't even decided if I would be using the race wheels for this short, non-triathlon race. But, either way, I knew it was recommended to re-mount the tires every year or so just to make sure they stay on properly.

About two weeks ago, I bring the wheels (Zipps) up from the basement. They proceed to sit on my living room floor for a few days before I go back down to the basement to retrieve the tubular tire tape and levers to get the tires off. So one evening, I sit down to try to pry the tires off. For 30 minutes, I pulled, yanked, tugged, pryed and anything else you can think of! And I was still on the first tire! These things were really mounted on well! I was sweating profusely and getting more frustrated by the second. This made me think - if and when I ever get a flat with these in a race, I'm out. This is ridiculous!

I was finally able to get the first tire off (total of about 40 minutes). This tire had a big gash in it. It wasn't totally through, but a good section of the tire was just missing. Good thing I decided to take on this little project as now I need to not just re-mount the tires, but I needed to put on new ones. I moved on to removing the second tire. This was a bit easier and took me only 25 minutes. This one had been taped on vs. glued on. But by the time this was over, I had had enough. I was done with the wheels for today. Too much effort.

Several more days go by and I go back down to the basement to bring up my new tubulars I had "in stock". I planned to put them on the rims to stretch them out before I actually taped them on. With the type of race wheels I have, you need to put on a valve extender. I tried this little trick BC taught me of putting a little bit of tape on the threads of the valve before putting on the extender. And here we go again with the pulling, stretching, yanking, etc. I was cursing these tires and I swear they were the wrong size. I think it took me at least an hour to get both of them on...and this was just the stretching out part!!! Once again, I don't see how people can do this when they flat in a race. Putting the stupid tire on is harder than the doing the race itself! Once again, frustrated and thinking this whole process was taking too much time, I left the wheels, with new tires just stretching out on the rims, out in the family room floor for another day.

So when I finally go out and get the pump and try to put air in these tires, it doesn't stay. It just leaks out as fast as I can pump the air in. You've got to be kidding me! I take the tires off, mess around with the valves and extenders and here we go again with the monstrous task of getting the tires to go back on the rims. The good thing here is that it DOES get easier the more times you do this. But, after about 3 attempts, I still can't get the air to stay in the front tire. This is when my hero, BC, offers to help me get this right. And, like magic, he gets this to work in all of about 15 minutes. I tried to pay such close attention because I need to learn how to do this myself! I greatly appreciate his help, but it sure makes me question my mechanical abilities!!

So FINALLY, the tires are all mounted and ready to go. Just hope I am.


Griz said...

I had similar experience myself.
I didn't think about the levers, I wish I would have. I can't get my pump to read how much air is in the tire.

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