The fifteen-puncture ride – My second Super Randonneur  title 

Our friends from WCCG madipakkam chapter came for send-off. On Friday evening we started the ride from JBC-velachery. The route was through our familiar medavakkam-mambakkam route. Srihari and I started with good speed and progressing well. WE were aiming to reach Chengalpattu using the day light, otherwise becomes dark. Reached the first check point ICICI bank ATM at Chengalpattu in 2 hours. It was 6:30 pm by then. We rode till 7:00 PM and had a juice break and ended up with badam milk. Again, started and continued till 7:50 PM and took a break ending with nannari  sarbath. Till then everything was going fine. We have covered almost 80 kms 3 hours’ time. 

Testing time begins- Puncture no 1 

At 8:35 PM had the first puncture in the front tube. Immediately replaced the tube and commenced our ride. Posted in whatsapp group and had funny comments. We were enjoying the comments without knowing about the future. 

Puncture for my co-rider: Within next 20 minutes my co-rider srihari’s tyre hit flat. We fixed the puncture but could not remove a small metal particle from the tyre as it was in the same colour as the tyre. We could feel it but could not even estimate the size and location. After much trying the metal particle was not there. We do not know if it still was there in the tyre. Since this puncture was not for me, I am not including in the count. 

Puncture no 2 

By 10:15 PM we have reached 120 kms with one puncture in the bag for each of us. We had our dinner. Chappatis and dosai and omlettes. At 146 kms, the next puncture happened. It was Day-2 00:00 hrs. Still, we were mentally strong. Srihari was having fun taking pictures and posting in group. We were getting advice from our friends in whatsapp group – check for liner misalignment, small nails etc in tyre. The tube which I replaced earlier was a used one with one puncture already fixed. It gave up on the same place where there was a patch. Now that the puncture cannot be fixed, and the tube cannot be used through the ride. I did not throw away the tube, hoping it can be fixed during daytime. 

Puncture no 3 to 7 (from 146 km to 200 km) 

We reached 173 kms at around 1:40 PM. After fourth puncture I asked my corider to proceed and wait at CP-2. He was hesitant. Finally persuaded him to go to CP-2. if having punctures at every 20 minutes was tough, now I am riding alone, and it took two hours for me to reach the next 5 kilometres. Yes, had four punctures in 5 kms. I could not fix the 5th, 6th and 7th puncture without water. Filled in air every half-a-kilometre and reached CP-2. It sounds easy to tell. Doing it at midnight without light and nobody around, it looked daunting. By the time I reached CP-2 my partner was shivering in cold. I have already consumed all four tubes which I brought as spares. Now onwards I must fix the puncture too as there is no replacement tube available, which is going to be even more time consuming and challenging. One good Samaritan Mr Dhananjeyan offered me spare tube, but I politely refused now and got it from him at 220 kms. 

If fixing the puncture was burning, not able to find the reason for the punctures was adding fuel to the fire. Everyone including me believed there is some fault which was unidentified. 

Events at CP-2 

Now I persuaded Srihari to proceed alone. After reaching the check point, got water from petrol bunk to fix puncture. Two of the tubes are showing no signs of puncture. One of the tubes holds air tightly and the other one drops pressure, but the location could not be found despite trying multiple times. Assuming it should be valve failure I stopped attempting further. Ithu ennada sothanai. For one more tube I fixed puncture and for another tube could not fix puncture as it was giving up at a place where patch was done earlier. Before leaving CP-2 I now have one spare tube. Innum ethanai puncture agumo theriyalaye. 

Puncture no 8 to 12(from 200 km to 225 km) 

By now replacing tubes and fixing puncture has become like a hobby. At 8th puncture I interchanged my front and rear tyres while replacing the tube. If really tyre is the issue, then the next puncture should be on the rear. I was hoping for a rear tyre flat. The 9th puncture was again in the front. Tyre must not be an issue. This time I fixed the puncture and interchanged both tyre and tubes. Time was running like wildfire, but I had to experiment to gain confidence. At least by eliminating the reasons one by one. It was too much risk to do such experiments when no one is left behind you in the event. I am already feeling sleepy and so didn’t carry out any experiments on 10th and 11th punctures. For puncture no 12, I borrowed a tube from Mr Dhananjeyan, after which there was none for next 8 hours. 

U-turn point 

Only bath and breakfast. No sleep. No rest. As simple as that to say. En kastam enakku than theriyum. 

Puncture no 13 

There was no puncture from 6:30 am to 3:15 pm on day 2. And then my rear tyre hit flat for the first time. It was easy to fix since the sun god was reflecting light for me. I also made ready one more spare tube by identifying the leakage point. Thanks to sun god. By now I have caught up with other riders and was going fine. 

Puncture no 14 

Before vandavasi turn after vikravandi, Arun came to meet me during the ride. Thanks Arun.

After successfully crossing  vandavasi  bad road stretch without puncture, exactly at around 3:00 am my front tyre hit flat gain. Replaced the spare tube and proceeded alone. No tea break, no water to drink, no rest, kept riding slow and steady after this. 

Puncture no 15 

While just 12 km away from reaching JBC, front tyre hit flat again. Borrowed a tube from Devson. Replaced it and reached JBC to complete my second 600 km ride. 

Thanks to people who came to receive me.

HIGHLIGHT: 

I came home and pumped air in the tubes. One tube is not showing any sign of puncture. Took it to a cycle shop and confirmed it. There was no puncture. Dot. Installed it in the front for experimenting and have ridden for 4 days (200 kms). Not even signs of pressure drop. It was the same tube which tortured me during the 600 BRM. Vidhi valiyathu. 

Thanks to organisers, madras randonneurs  for conducting this event. Thanks to corider’s . A big thanks to WCCG madipakkam chapter friends and Vinoth, arun and Vignesh, Karthik seenu for constantly following up with us. Thanks all for the motivation and support. 


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