I went out to lube up my bike and discovered yet another soft tire. I say "yet another" because in the last week I have changed flats about 5 times. One was on a ride with Pat. On that occasion I found a tiny fiber of metal poking through the inside of the tire. "Oh," she said, "that's from riding through the shreds of someone's blowout. The steel in the tires shreds all up and gets on the road. Go as far around those as you can." And she gave me tweezers to pull it out and sandpaper to make sure I got it all. She knows everything.
Since then, in the space of what, 6 days, I have changed flats 4 more times. Twice I found metal shreds. Once I blew the tire out myself during inflation, with an undiagnosed rim pinch. POW!!! Every dog on the street barked -- assuming, I assume, that I had shot someone with a gun.
When I discovered yet another slow leak today, I went to the bike shop and got THORN-RESISTANT TUBES. They're really thick. I checked my tires (they're fairly new) and rims, filed or sanded anything that wasn't silky-smooth, installed the new tubes and THEY STILL HAVE AIR IN THEM after several hours. Wow!
Don't anyone tell me I should have bought new tires, too. I thought of that after the bike shop was closed. Heck, I'm only riding 12 miles.
My bag is packed and in the truck. In it are 4 more bags: Swim bag (just cap and goggles); T-1 bag (towel, powder for the last of the foot dampness, socks, shoes, race belt, helmet, gloves, sunglasses); T-2 (Running shoes, hat); "Afterwards" bag (shorts, shirt, underwear and hairbrush.)
Also in the truck: Air compressor that plugs into the cigarette lighter. In case my tires go flat in the truck bed.
I'm wearing a one-piece tri skin-suit that will do me from start to finish w/o changing or adding anything except to my feet, head, and hands. It's hot-looking: black shorts, black-and-white print top, all spandex. On the run with my black running shoes, red bandana, and black-and-white hat, I'll knock 'em dead. (Sorry, fans, I'm not wearing my Ellie-May cutoffs. I like them better for running but don't want to change in a sprint.)
On my bike: 2 water bottles (like I'm going to dehydrate in an hour and 40 minutes); Bento Box holding bandana, chapstick, 2 Power Gels; saddle bag with 2 tubes, 2 air canisters, tire lever, patch kit, multi-tool w/ Allen wrenches, handlebar end in case I lose one (thanks to Linae for this tip), pocket pack of Kleenex for emergency toilet paper; hand wipes; band-aids. On the frame is my new hand pump. I found today that I can get the tire to 70 pounds with that (only 50 on the second tire, though ... I was "tired") so I'll only need a canister for topping up and 2 will more than do me even if I have 2 flats.
Sounds like I'm ready for an Ironman rather than a sprint tri. However, the only new addition to my usual gear is the hand pump. I've never had one before, having always relied on canisters. I love the hand pump. I can pump just a bit of air into the tube to put it on the rim, w/o having to squirt or waste any from the canister. I can inflate a tube just enough to find the leak. We have the little air-compressor but, like the canisters, it isn't good for just a little.
This is too long a post for "I'm ready for a triathlon that will last under 2 hours." I get wordy when I'm excited or nervous. However, as we all know by now, I'm wordy when I'm relaxed, too. I wish I had the talent of saying what I mean in just a couple of words. Or a couple of lines. Or paragraphs. Or pages.