The Alpine Diaries – Entry 2

Bloody bastarding buggering tubes! In two and a half days’ worth of riding I’ve managed to go through four tubes out here. Not, as you might think, through pinch flats, but through ripping the valves off. At first I put it down to some rather exuberant cornering, but no, this proved not to be the case. Today was the final straw – in the pissing, pouring rain I destroyed not one, but two tubes within the space of ten minutes, resulting in a walk of shame from halfway up a mountain. Really, really not impressed. To be honest, I usually quite like riding in the rain. I’m no Danny Hart, but I’ve learned to embrace the filth and just get on with it. Not today. Two tubes gone and I’ll admit, I threw in the metaphorical towel. I’m not proud to admit it, but I had a mini trailside strop. I stopped short of throwing my bike, but it came pretty close. Cue a twenty minute trudge down the mountain back to the chalet. I wouldn’t have minded so much, but it was the first run of the day.

Back at the chalet I removed the tyre, threw the tube in the bin, and set about trying to figure out what in the name of all that’s holy was going on. Soon it was pretty clear – for some reason my rim tape had decided to shift away from the valve hole, leaving just the bare metal of the rim to sit against the valve stem. A quick trip down to the lovely chaps at Jaff VTT in Les Gets centre scored me some replacement tubes, and, more importantly, a roll of rim tape. With a newly-taped rim, I’m reasonably confident the problem should now be solved. I guess I should have tried to find the fault first, instead of ploughing on regardless. Lesson learned.

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Marmot, yesterday, almost looking stylish…

I suspect I probably would have been less of a mardy git had I not had such a great day the day before. I played with some new GoPro angles, coming up with the above picture. I rather like it: it gives the air of someone who knows what they’re doing on a mountain bike, rather than squidding his way down the hill. I mean, come on, look at the lean! (Yes, I know that some of that is due to lens distortion, don’t burst my bubble…) I also finally put together something approaching a perfect (by my standards) run down the hill as my last run of the day – still slower than most, but with something close to flow, and some modest air(!) – in fact, I’d go as far as say it almost, just almost, had some style to it. Just the merest hint of some hip action. I know, right? Go me!

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Yeah, yeah, I know my goggles are sitting wonky…

I’m beginning to think that this morning’s woes may be the One Last Run Gods’ way of taking revenge on me for me cheating them out of their dues yesterday. I am now suitably penitent, and promise faithfully to give them due respect next time. I’m off to sacrifice the remaining broken valves…

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