Mountain bike racing tip number twelve is a quick tip for you to keep in mind when you next use your bike pump in a mountain bike race. It’s all about keeping calm on the pump and protecting your valve stems from damage.
Calm. Damage. What do I mean? Well, first let me illustrate…
I’ve seen it many times. A mate of mine did it recently in the Wildside mountain bike bike race and it cost him lots of race time, and I’ve done it before myself. Very frustrating. And it goes something like this…
You’re in a mountain bike race and you get a flat tyre. You’re frustrated. You jump off your bike in a hurry and start fixing the puncture. Then you get to the part where you start pumping the tire up and…
everything feels like it’s taking so. Damn. Long.
And the adrenaline is pumping hard. And other competitors are passing you by in the dozens. So you get even more frustrated. You’re at that bike pump like the devil, putting all your effort in to pumping the tire up as quickly as you can. But then,
The Worst Thing Possible Happens
You haven’t been supporting the valve stem and pump head and all your pumping force has snapped the valve clean off at the rim. And worse still, like my mate at Wildside, the valve gets stuck in your pump head and you can’t get it out.
So now that renders your pump useless. And you’ve just ruined your spare tube. So what now?
Should you try to persuade another competitor going past to lend you his pump so that you can get back into the race? Yeah, sure. Oh, and while you’re at it you’d better ask him for a spare tube, too, because you’ve just made
A Very Expensive Mess
You’ve snapped the valve. It’s stuck in the pump, or not. But at the very least you need to install a new tube, and maybe borrow somebody’s pump.
What a stuff up. So far this little fun dance has cost you eight minutes of race time and about 25 race positions! Right now it’s only a bad dream that you’ve just woken up from,
Don’t Let This Be You
As the old says goes ‘Prevention is Better than Cure’.
Permanently lock it into your brain that whenever you get a flat you follow these two simple rules:
1. Stay Calm on the Pump, and 2. Support the Valve Stem
Use smooth, controlled pump strokes and support the valve stem by holding the head of the pump to the tire (as shown in the video below).
Forget All of Them
Forget the other competitors passing you by. Keep calm. Not in a mountain bike race? Ignore your mates who are leaning over your shoulder wondering what’s taking you so long. Smooth strokes and support, and you’ll be fine.
Compressed Air Blows Better – Carry a C02 adaptor and at least two C02 cartridges with you for your average 2 hour mountain bike race. Inflating tires with C02 is quicker, simpler and removes the risk of snapping a valve stem with excessive pump force. Practice inflating a tire using C02 at home before the race so that, come race day, you’ll have the confidence and skills to know how to repair a puncture with C02 with lots of speed and very little fuss.
Shortcuts are Killers – Example two in Mountain Bike Racing Tip 14 proves that patience is King when it comes to pumping your tires back up to pressure.
Mountain Bike Racing Tip 12 – The Video