19 March 2012
My tyres are getting worn. Back in Ao Nang, I swapped front and rear, due to the rear wearing faster. It's no big surprise when I pull a chunk of metal out of the rubber.
The ride until this point has all gone smoothly. One hour out from Taiping it felt like I'd been riding for hours - not boredom, rather I had just easily settled back into the rhythm of riding.
Around 20km down, there's a short but relatively steep climb. It's hopefully good preparation for tomorrow, which features a 40km long climb that'll take me up to around 1500m.
The puncture comes around 80km down, when I'm just reaching the outskirts of Ipoh. I pull over next to a massive Tesco and a massive hardware store, feeling pretty good about my options if something goes wrong with the fix.
I pop the tube out near the valve and straightaway see a big hole. I carefully feel into the tyre and find a sharp spike. Pulling it out, it's about 15mm long and sharp to a point at one end. It's about the thickness of a staple, and I have no idea what it was doing on the road. I decide to patch the tube in situ for speed.
I check the rest of the tyre, push the tube back in, pop the tyre back on, reinflate, put the wheel back in the frame, repannier and roll out. I make it 750m before I have to admit the tube's going down again.
As I pull over in front of two cheap hotels, I wonder what went wrong. Patch failed? Another spike? I drag the tube out completely this time. Another patch on the tube has failed, probably just from being disturbed during the fix. This is consolation - at least the one I just did is sound. However, putting patches on patches generally doesn't work out, so this tube is toast, and I just wasted a patch and a bunch of time.
While I'm getting the new tube in, a few raindrops fall, so I'm battling on two fronts: sort the tyre, pack up my non-waterproof stuff. By the time I have the wheel back on, it seems the rain isn't really going to happen, so I get my top tube bag back on. It's good to have this handy for navigation because I keep my phone in it, and the phone has the maps.
Another 500m down the road, downpour. So, slow progress into Ipoh. By now I'm only 2km or so from the turn off into town, and the rain doesn't last long. I've memorised the route to a hotel, and ride straight to it without running into any one-way system nonsense. While I'm cleaning up, it rains properly.
89km, 24.4km/h, 3hr39min, 7450km