Saturday, May 25, 2013

Trans Iowa v9 Recap - Part III: Thursday and Friday, Pre-Race

My previous TI posts can be accessed using the links below.  
Part II: Preparation and Training, Bike Set-up, Clothing, Nutrition, Hydration

I left Oklahoma about 2 pm on Thursday before the ride.  My wife Katrina and her sister Lorrie came with me and were my bailout option.  We arrived Grinnell a little after 10 pm.  When unloading the bike, I noticed the rear tire was completely flat.  Bummer!  I spent the next 1-2 hours messing around with the tire.  I inflated, applied soapy water, and determine the leak to be around the valve stem.  I tightened the retaining ring, and sloshed sealant around the stem, but could not stop the leak.  I went ahead and broke off one bead and replaced the stem, but I had no luck re-inflating the Kenda with just my floor pump.  

The next morning, I ran into Jim Cummins and his support team, had a nice chat.  Then I took my wheel to Bikes To You and used their compressor to bead up the tire.  Took the tire back to the hotel and submerged the valve stem in the bathtub.  Still leaking so tightened the ring several times, without much luck.  For curiosity, I removed my front wheel and submerged it as well – also leaking!  Not a lot, but definitely bubbles forming.  I sloshed sealant around the valve stem in both and the bubbles slowed considerably.  This convinced me a lot of valve stems on tubeless setups out there are probably leaking some, just not enough to lose more than a few psi per day.  Try it some time, you might be surprised!  I convinced myself the problem I saw with complete deflation during the trip to Grinnell was caused by more than just the slight bubbling you might see when the valve stem is submerged under water.  

Anyway, I mounted the wheels back on my bike and went for a relaxed-pace 18 mile ride Friday afternoon on gravel roads south of town.  The tires, mounted up tubeless, stayed inflated just fine.  Having been stressed the night before, I slept poorly (~2 hrs), and my legs felt dead during this ride.  This brought back memories of how tired I was and how dead my legs felt on TI v7.  Back at the hotel, I tried sleeping a little before the Pre-Race meeting, but no luck.  

photo by Wally Kilburg
I felt really tired during the meeting and headed back to the hotel after my name was called to pick up my packet.  I finished putting stuff on the bike, placed the cue sheets in my 7x5 plastic bag and went to bed about 9:30 pm.  Somehow I was able to finally relax and I slept much better Friday night.  I woke up 2:30 am Saturday and felt surprisingly good.  What a difference a day makes!

Continue on to Part IV: Saturday and Sunday, The Race

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