Unli Flats

ALLEZ - JV Araneta (The Freeman) - April 19, 2021 - 12:00am

Last Saturday, there was this one week race in Spain called, “Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana”. Under normal times, this race was held in February and this race is a preparation race for the bigger one day races in March and April. In fact, this race was cancelled from 2008 to 2015 for lack of funding.

But this year, it has taken a lot of importance because of the pandemic, were lots of other races were either cancelled or postponed. So this race has gained importance in the eyes of the riders, the team and the sponsors.

So you can only imagine what happened to the overall leader, Enric Mas, during the penultimate stage, which was an individual time-trial. Mas, who is from Spain, is a more than average climber and time-triallist. At 26yo, he has the potential to be a Grand Tour winner and therefore, winning this race would cement that status further. However, with about one K to go, he punctured and instead of going into yesterday's final stage as the leader and most likely champion, he is now 38sec behind Swiss rider and overall leader Stephan Kung.

Why am I telling you this?

You see, if there is one deflating reason that could puncture a blissful Sunday training ride, it's that disgusting flat! Cycling magi’s would say that punctures comes in three’s. But what would these smart boys say about my streak of bad luck - like a 15 punctures since April Fools? On that day, I had 6 punctures. I had to take the bus home as I had ran out of spare tubes and patches. Last Saturday, I had two and yesterday, I had two punctures just before Minglanilla. In between, I had flats too many that I don’t care to remember. My tires on my trainers even flatted twice, for crying our loud!

There are two kinds of punctures:1- those that you know the reason of, and 2- those that you don't know the reason of. The latter is just frustrating and infuriating and that was what I had since the 1st of April somewhere in Dalaguete. I have tried everything to solve the problem short of buying a new wheelset - new set of tires, new tubes, new rim tape - but I still get this “deym” puncture. The hole is on the side facing the rim, not facing the tire, so the puncture came not from an external source but from within the wheelset. I already have placed a couple of new rim tapes more than a week ago, rearranged them carefully to cover the holes where the spoke nipples are but the flats they keep coming. I would love to trash the wheel set if it wasn’t expensive and still 80% new.

If the weather was so hot, I’d probably out my tail behind my legs and go home happily and with all the wrong reasons. But yesterday’s weather was just so perfect for cycling- cloudy, cool and a little windy. Those kind of days don’t come every weekend and I don't know why the cycling gods had to schedule my misfortune yesterday.

But despite all that, I’m still grateful to Somebody up there for getting just a flat. Could have been worse.

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