Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Coyote Hill race report

Jeff Lukach took this photo as I rolled over his midsection.

What went right.

New kit. I was lookin' good. Ever notice that this section is really short?

What went wrong.

Rear tire wouldn't hold air. Kenda sidewalls are notoriously porous, and take more than the 24 hours I gave them to set up correctly tubeless. I pumped that bastard up 75 times, all day long on Saturday. Sunday morning I was still pumping it up. We stopped for food on the way to the race, and I had to add air again. 20 minutes later we got to the venue and it was flat. At that point I submitted to my stupidity and threw a tube in.

Cut to about 2/3rds the way through the first lap. I'm headed down a short, steep slope into a smooth and sharp left hander (you know the one). Next thing I know I'm sliding on my back and using my legs to try and keep my bike off my face. I get back up and start running. Something wasn't right, I immediately check that bastard of a rear tire. Seems fine. Front end seems firm. Wait. The front end feels firm because the rim is sitting on the ground. Shit. CO2 number one couldn't get it to seal since the bead of the rim was packed with dirt. CO2 number two was used after I got a tube stuffed in there. Back in business.

After playing catch-up for two laps, I'm booking down a nondescript straight-away when I notice the front tire is getting all wishy-washy. I get off, give it a pinch, find it soft, and empty the rest of CO2 number two into there. For some reason I hopped back on and started to race, even though I knew that adding air to a slowly softening tube was only prolonging the inevitable. A few minutes later I was walking. (autopsy later revealed a tiny thorn sticking out of my tire.)

taken during the brief period between flats.

What did I learn.

1) The Bontrager ACX blows ass. Well, that's not fair. The Bontrager ACX blows ass at staying on your rim during high speed turns. As a racer who puts out puny watts, high speed turns are where I earn my paychecks. Two of the three races I have done with this tire have had me on the side of the trail trying to get it back onto the rim. Technically, it's not a "tubeless" tire, but none of the tires I run tubeless are. Technically, I was running 32 psi and the sidewall says the minimum recommended pressure is 40 psi. Technically, some ebay user is about to pick up a whole pile of Bontrager tires for really cheap.

2) I used to say that the only thing lightweight tubes were good for was carrying around in your jersey pocket. Then I realized that at some point that lightweight tube is going to have to be stuffed into one of your tires. It's at that point that you realize lightweight tubes should only used in the tires of very expensive race bikes, while they are still on the showroom floor. They are like a novelty item, there should be a warning on the box "do not actually use".


DNF. ytrf (that was my forehead violently striking the keyboard.)


  1. damn, at your size with 32 psi and the tires won't stay on? bad news. I ran my panaracer rampage's at 25 psi for the race and I weigh in at a solid 190lbs and had zero issues. of course the rampages probably have 200grams on the acx's but still...

  2. I agree Bontrager tires blow. I'll add that the entire line seems to be headed for the toilet. Quality control is a joke. Better luck to you next time.