Michael Hanslip Coaching

If you want to go faster, you have to pedal harder

A Leaky tyre

A couple of weeks ago I entered a fun enduro at Mt Stromlo. I planned to use my Enduro bike but had to swap to the Trail bike because the new rear tyre on the Slash wouldn't stay full of air for more than an hour or so. This is a quick tale of a leaky tyre and a race run on the wrong bike.
I think the tyre on the Slash rear wheel was the first tyre I had installed on that rim (about 2 years ago). I swapped wheels on this bike and - thanks to the pandemic and the purchase of a proper DH bike - the new ones haven't had as much use as I might have anticipated. When I changed the tyre I assumed the quick deflation was due to damage to the rim tape. So, I re-taped it. With no impact whatsoever.
When I eventually got around to sticking the wheel in a bucket of water, I discovered air leaking from everywhere in the entire sidewall. It was like they forgot to line the tyre with the tubeless-ready lining. It wasn't much air from any point, and there was zero sealant leaking with it, but hundreds of micro-bubble streams means a flat tyre in no time.
After several emails back and forth with the shop that sold me the tyre, they got agreement with the importer to replace it for me (as soon as I provide video evidence that I destroyed the leaky tyre).
Between the realisation that I had a still-leaking tyre before the race and the discovery of the bubbling sidewalls, I had the actual race. When I put my Trail bike together, I made a deliberate decision to make the wheels swappable for just such occasions. With the front wheel of the Slash in the fork, I took my 120mm bike to the Enduro. It was probably the faster bike on one stage, but definitely the slower bike on two stages (and I'm not sure about the fourth stage). It was really fun to try to ride as fast as possible with a little bit less bike than I desired. Perhaps the weakest link was the fairly worn semi-slick on the back. The rougher sections of the DH track were fine, if slightly slow, on the small bike.
My biggest memory of the event was going off course! I came up to an obstacle and turned left when I should have gone straight ahead over the obstacle. Left sent me to a shoulder-high vertical ledge that I rode off of fine. The safety person monitoring that road crossing came running - I guess she thought I'd gone splat. I pushed back up the hill and tried again. I don't know why I turned left... but I did. The second go was much better, and way faster with no deviations.
Overall it was a fun day and I was slower than anticipated.
In a week or so, I'll have a new tyre on the Slash and look forward to riding it while it holds air...