Stupidity is finally rewarded
I have been marvelling for a while at how amazing my tyre are and how wonderfully they have been performing with all of New Zealand (3200 Miles) without a single puncture.
Had I paid more attention at the condition of the tyre and spent less time marvelling at their performance I probably would have saved myself from today debacle.
The day started slow, I had to wait until 10 to get to the pharmacy to get something for my painful tendons. I thought the pharmacy was going to open at 9 so I found myself there just past, but on Sunday it was 10 so, being rather chilly, I opted for breakfast and some riding time in the warmth of an establishment.
The stuff I got from the pharmacy is working and, while the pain was not completely gone, it was easier to cycle than I thought it would be. I made good timing and at 11:30 I was in Nowa Nowa where I was going to leave the Princess Highway (A1) and join the East Gippsland Rail Trail.
It was a bit tricky to get the start of the trail but once I was on it I was impressed by how rugged and at the same time interesting it was. The Aussie have obviously taken a different approach from the Kiwi in rail trail management, while the trail was maintained well I went past a bridge (below) which had not been restored into the trail but simply bypassed.
Shortly after the bridge it was where all things started to go wrong. Suddenly I heard an ominous whistling noise and suddenly the bike felt really wobbly. In less than a minute all the air had come out of the back tyre and I was stranded in the middle of the path with a full blowout.
At first I thought it might have been some sort of thorn off a bush and after disassembling the bike and removing the rear wheel I checked for that. It was however something completely different, it was that the tyre wall had had enough and it ripped exposing the inner tube which in little time blistered and punctured.
I took the punctured tube out, used gaffer tape to patch the tear from the inside, put in a new tube and inflated the tyre just enough for it not to be completely flat but well below the recommended pressure. I though that with the tyre like this I would have at least made it back to Nowa Nowa and then from there I would have looked into my options.
I was lucky as the trail runs very close to the Princess Highway and crossing from the trail to the tarmac did not involve too much cross country hiking.
Once in Nowa Nowa and once I realised that the best option for getting repairs was to go back to Bairnsdale, I tried unsuccessfully to stop people that had vehicles that could easily carry the bike and was left with the only option of tracking back to the local caffe/restaurant and see if I could get some information or help there.
So it happened that I did. I was waiting for the proprietor to get available when I got into a conversation with a couple that was riding the trail. They could not help me, even though they suggested the name of a company that might be able to uplift me, but in the background there was a lovely lady that was over from Lakes Entrance to have lunch with her daughter and she volunteered to give me a lift back to Lakes Entrance after she had finished her lunch with her daughter and grand child. She opened her car and I put the bike in bits into it and then I sat pondering the next move over a flat white and a slice of cake.
Obviously the move would have been to book into the campsite and get a bus on Monday to Bairnsdale to get new tyres, if the back one is gone the front one is probably on route to follow as they were put new together. As it turns out that went out of the window as my saving angel took me all the way to Bairnsdale and I am now checked into a campsite here ready to go to the shop in the morning to get new gear.
In the end in the bad luck I have been lucky again as this could have happened with me being many miles out of reach of civilisation but it has taught me yet another valuable lesson, nothing, not even exceptionally good equipment, lasts forever.
On the bright side I did not ride a lot today so I hope that between that and the “pain away” spray, my tendons will feel a lot better tomorrow.