Racing Tip 13 – Muck Proof Pump

This is another one of those handy tips that you can use for any ride, not just for your next mountain bike race.  But in a race, especially a muddy one, it’s even more essential.

I’m taking about muck-proofing your pump.

If you’ve got a bike-mounted mountain bike pump that doesn’t have a pump head dust cover, then you risk clogging up that pump head with all the dust and mud from your other mountain bike rides. And that can be a big problem.


Two Big Reasons

1. If you need your pump in a race, you’ll want the head clean and you’ll want it to work fast and well.  You won’t want to be wasting time cleaning muck out of the pump head.

2. If your pump head is full of muck there’s a chance that when you pump up your tire you could lodge some of that muck inside the valve itself, preventing the valve from sealing properly.  The chance of this happening is very slim, but it can happen.  It’s actually happened to me once before…

When the Ghost Paid a Visit

Years ago, following a puncture out on the trail, I fitted a new tube to my tire as normal.  I pumped up my tire with a dirty pump, but gave no thought to how filthy the pump head was.  The tire inflated fine, and off I rode.

But not long down the track I had to stop again because the tire was going down.  Aargh!

My riding buddy suggested I clean the pump head, then try inflating the tire again with some good hard blows.

Sure enough, his theory was right.  It was a ghost puncture – Grit caught inside the valve that wouldn’t allow it to seal.

Second time around the tire stayed up.  Some good hard blows with the pump was enough to dislodge whatever I blew into the valve the first time with that dirty pump head.  Thank goodness my mate was there with his advice, or I would’ve been taking the tube out again…


Imagine that in a Race Situation

Having to stop a second time all because of a few specks of grit would be very frustrating.  My second stop could easily have been avoided.  So, muck proof that pump!

The Fast Wrap

Wrap some PVC electrical tape around the head to cover the pump hole.

 Super Tip: Find it Fast – Always end the tape with a quick release tab, as shown in the video below, so that you can find the end of the tape fast when you need to unwind it.

And if you’re heading into a really muddy mtb race then you might want to

Consider the Full Wrap

To ensure your pump is totally clean and easy to use when everything else is covered in mud, consider wrapping your pump in a small plastic bag for even better protection.

A few wraps of PVC electrical tape around the bag, finishing with a quick release tab, will keep the bag from flapping in the breeze, as well as make it easy to open.  And if you wrap it neat you’ll still be able to clip it to the mounting bracket.

A flat tire is the worst thing at the best of times, and in a race a flat can be demoralizing.  So do yourself a favor and give your pump the full wrap for your next muddy mountain bike race, so that at least something works well if you really need it in a hurry.

And there’s one more thing you’ll need to do, to keep that muck and grit out of your valves…

Cap It or Crap It

Sure it might be convenient to keep the dust caps off your valves, but dust caps are designed for a reason. So take the five seconds to put them on.  Cap your valves!

The chance of that muck causing a problem is very slim, maybe one in a thousand, but it’s still a chance.  And who really wants to run the risk of trouble in their next mountain bike race?

Mountain Bike Racing Tip 12 <<< Calm Pumper

Mountain Bike Racing Tip 14 >>> The ‘Big Picture’ Race Strategy