A Barry-Roubaix Flat How-to

Below is a summary of the flat clinic I held at the aid station during Barry-Roubaix 2015. Not an auspicious result for me, I suffered from a slow leak, tried to fix it once after Sager Rd. by topping it off with air and wishful thinking, tried again to fix it with a new tube at the aid station, and was still losing air through the finish. And I still haven't found the problem! Total time was 3:22 with moving time at 2:43 which I would have been happy with. Roads were absolutely gorgeous -- hands down the most painful fun I have ever had on gravel.


Yesterday, I led a flat clinic for three elderly gentlemen who didn't know how to fix a flat, but who were horrified at the thought of my having to fix it all by myself and without gloves in the freezing cold. Topics covered included:

1. How to retrieve tire levers as they go flying off your rim and spoke because your stupid Challenge tire is stuck so hard to your dumb A23 asymmetrical rear wheel and because a photographer with a tripod is taking pictures of your flat clinic and making you seriously self-conscious;
2. Why a Phillips head screwdriver is NOT a good idea even though I know y'all have been watching me try to pry this tire off for ten minutes now with these pathetic and unconvincing plastic tire levers;
(At this point, the gentlemen unanimously commandeered my wheel, but only after I convinced them not to use the screwdriver on it -- however, that wheel will never be true again so I'm not really sure why I cared so much other than the principle of it)
3. Why, yes, talcum powder IS a good idea and would have eliminated the herculean struggle we are all now engaged in as we wrestle the tube out of the tire it sealed itself to like a cat sticking to its crate at the vet;
4. Why it's NOT time efficient to take both beads off the rims (did I mention this wheel is asymmetrical?);
5. How to lay the tube into the tire flat even though the gentleman to the right of you is putting his part of the tube in upside down. And how upside down to you is right side up to him;
6. Alternative positions in which to change a flat other than four people standing in a circle holding up the wheel all together;
7. How to inflate a tire to 40psi by inflating it to at least 80psi a minimum of 5 times while one of us is yelling STOP! each time and feeling like a jerk for it.

Fixing my flat brought a whole community together. Afterwards, the gentlemen offered me water and a sandwich, we shook hands, and I finished my race. And now it is a beautiful memory.

Katie Casey