29 January 2009

Changing a Tire

Last night, I headed home and was working on trying to find the motivation to get on the bike and do my workout. I was hungry and just feeling lazy. I finally through on my cycling gear and headed into the living room to set up the bike/trainer and realized I had a flat tire. What?!? How do you get a flat tire in the winter sitting on a coffee table? I happened to be talking to my mom on the phone and I said, "Well, I guess I won't be riding tonight..."

I considered just putting on my pajamas and ignoring the flat tire. I was a little hopeful that maybe it was just low on air. However, I decided that I needed to just go ahead and change the blasted thing and get it over with. Now, I've changed two bike tires ever in my life. One was a mountain bike tire and I had some help with that. The other was at tri camp last spring and I also had alot of help and supervision with that. I've only ever changed the front tire and of course, this was a rear flat. Great...that's just great.

Somehow, I'm not sure where it came from, I decided to try and pump up the tire and hop on the trainer. I pumped up the tire and it seemed to be holding air, so I decided to go ahead and start the workout. I hopped on the trainer and was riding in my big gear for a couple of minutes and was surprised at how easy it was. I looked down and saw that my tire was completely flat. Grr... I guess I have to change it.

I pulled out my tools (yes, I actually have tools) and my extra tube (note to self: buy a replacement tube) and laid the bike on the floor. I wasn't quite sure how to approach the whole chain/derailleur thing, so I just decided to wing it. I got the wheel off, and then started to work on the tire. When I changed the tire at tri camp, I was told that I have a really tough bead, which just means that it's hard to get the tire on and off. So, I worked on the tire and worked on the tire and gashed my hand open and was sweating and finally got the dumb thing off. Then, I got the tube out, which was trickier than expected. I checked the tube for the hole and it was huge. It looked like someone stuck a nail through the tube! Once again, how does this happen in the winter when the bike is sitting on a coffee table? I remembered to check my tire for any sort of junk that could have caused the puncture and I even remembered to leave my tube in the same position on the tire so I would know where to check for the junk. (Thanks Chris and Chris and Andy!)

Now it was time to put the new tube in, which actually went fairly smoothly. Then came the hard part, which required more blood and sweat. No tears, but maybe some adult language. I fiddled around with it for awhile and then finally remembered an easier way to do it. I'm such a dork sometimes... Then I had the whole tire on except for about 6 inches. Here was the tough part. I couldn't get the bloody bead into the wheel. I tried everything. I even pulled out my book from tri camp thinking it might have some tips. It did, but those didn't work. I called my dad. He wasn't home. I considered throwing the wheel, but decided that would probably just make me have to start over. Finally, after much frustration, I figured out how to get the rest of the tire on! Hooray! I'm doing the happy dance. I changed the tire! I even managed to figure out how to get the wheel back on which included messing with the chain/derailleur again.

It was time for the test. Will the tube hold air? I tried really hard to keep the tube out of the way of tire so I wouldn't pinch the tube. Apparently it worked. After huffing and puffing and sitting on the pump, I finally got the tire pumped up. I listened carefully for any sort of hissing air and didn't hear anything. So far so good... I was very pleased with myself. Like still doing the happy dance pleased with myself.

When I looked at the time, I realized that it had taken me at least 45 minutes to go through this whole process. Wow...I'm really really slow at changing a tire. I hope that I never get a flat in a race because wow...I'm really slow. However, I changed a tire all by myself. I rode this morning and the tire was still full of air. I'm even still doing the happy dance, but mostly in my head. So, I guess that's my proud moment for the week.


See You at the Finish Line said...

Congratulations AJ! I can relate to your tire changing challenge. Why does it have to be the rear tire? Changing the front tire is bad enough! I loved your description of the experience and could vividly picture your struggle. Well done hanging in there! You didn't let that tire win.

Barb said...

Well, look at you, girlfriend. You now have other options in can work for a tire company!