#1 Make sure that the tubes that you have FIT your wheels. The tubes I had in my bag were from before I got my American Classic wheels and the stems were too short.
#2 Carry a C02 cartridge or a pump on your ride. It's possible to have the first flat (or the first two) of your life during a race.
So I DNF'd at my race today. I'm rather frustrated, but I can try again at another time. The good news is that I really enjoyed the swim. My time was still slow at 47 minutes, but I didn't hate it and that is progress and what I really hoped for. I can work on speed. I only did the breast stroke for a few strokes twice. I found a groove and for the first time ever felt like I really belonged there in the water with all the athletes.
I was only about 7 miles into the race when my back end was fish tailing a bit and I wasn't sure what was going on... then it occured to me that SHIT I had a flat. I didn't bring my pump on the ride w/ me b/c it's a pin and well, I'm certainly not going to get my first flat on a race, right?! WRONG!!!! So I cussed at myself for being stupid. Pulled over got my back (great) wheel off and got my tube out and started putting the new tube in while I waited for the support guys to drive up and see my sorry ass on the side of the road hoping for some help. Got the tube in and DAMN the stem was too short! CRAP CRAP CRAP. How dumb am I? The support guy rolled up on a bike.. he had nothing w/ him so he called the support van, but the support van couldn't get through a particular baracade until the Pro's went by. So I stood there like a moron for the van. At least 20 minutes later he showed up and put a new tube in.... 8 minutes and 40 seconds later... another flat. I decided that I was done. I wasn't going to sit there for another 20 minutes to have a my flat fixed to keep flatting and then be 40 minutes behind my age group.
I'm pretty bummed, but such is the life. Some things happen. Now I know. I felt I was not cool enough for the C02, but now I know that I am definitely cool enough... at least smart enough. I'm not sure if I'll try to tackle the half again this year or wait... until some other time. During the training phase I was certain I wasn't going to do this again until the kids were in school.... I'm tapered now and I'm not sure what I would do to get ready again quickly and I'm certainly not going to go through the 6 weeks of 3+ hour bike rides again this season. Maybe I'll just focus on Accenture for now and see what happens for next year... Gena and I talked about ocming back... the swim was really nice.
Gena did take some really good pictures of u s getting ready, of my swim and my sweet spectating skills. I know you are dying to see them. :)