First Team Tri / Noodle Tire Problem

Completed my first team triathlon yesterday; a 30km cycling leg that involved mostly flat / short and small climbs and descents, with lots of turns (the course was in a small community’s downtown). Being that it was my first Tri, and that it was a relay, my goals were simply to: 1) finish the course in under one hour; and 2) avoid DNF and letting down my team!

While I barely avoided DNF-ing (more on this later), I finished with with a total time (I’m guessing including transitions) of 1:02 ish. In my mind, I actually pictured the TR workout screen and large blue blocks of power target near FTP during the race (and, yes, even some Coach @chad words of wisdom like: "keep smiling, make sure your shoulders aren’t bunched around your ears, prioritize your post-ride nutrition, buy my #chillow…). It seems to have worked, as I was able to squeak out NP of 228 (FTP 219, 86 kg)… but there was one problem:

I was out of the gate early (we had a fast swimmer) and one of the first on the cycling course, so my pace was completely unsustainable (which I expected would be the case because of adrenalin and excitement). Coming into a 90 degree corner at the bottom of a hill (only 3 km into the course), I carried WAY too much speed in and had to put everything into my brakes to avoid hitting the opposite curb and going over my handlebars… left some rubber on the road in the process. When I got moving again a second later, it felt as though my rear tire was, well, “noodly”. I assumed that I had lost pressure or had unseated the bead (I run Hutchinson Intense 25mm tires tubeless), but could not find any indication of distress. I managed to finish the ride, but for the remaining 27 km there were times when it felt like I didn’t have great traction in the rear tire, so I eased up on any major descents and eased up on flats where my speedometer crept up towards 40 km/hr. When I transitioned out the runner, I checked the rear tire - it was solid… didn’t seem like any loss of pressure or bald patches. I ran the front tire at about 80 psi and the rear around 85 psi, however this would have been first thing in the morning (around 12 degrees C), and it’s likely that this would have changed by the time I hopped on the course.

Is this a common thing?? Is it all in my head?? I have a much greater appreciation now for @Nate_Pearson 's crit videos with the tight cornering, especially with other riders nearby!

TL:DR version - rode into a tight corner at high speed, braked hard (running tubeless) - recovered, but rear tire felt like a noodle for the rest of the race, and I didn’t feel confident with its traction. Couldn’t find any loss of pressure or tire damage afterward. Anyone else experience this??

If there’s no sign of damage on the tire I’m guessing it’s all in your head. It’s pretty unnerving losing traction whether it’s locking up the brakes or going sideways in a corner, and when it’s happened to me I’m typically super paranoid about how much grip I have for at least the rest of the ride, and sometimes even for the next few rides if it was a particularly scary one.

I had a similar experience earlier in the year. Triathlon with multiple laps where they were running multiple different distances simultaneously on the same course. I was doing Olympic and there was a long section of straight road where the Sprint riders turned at one point then the Olympic riders turned further on and came back past the Sprint turn around point. And there was a strong tail wind on the return, so I was flying along the straight at >50kph approaching the sprint turn. Saw a few riders coming the other way who would be turning around the time I got there but the road was pretty wide and they were all going fairly slowly on road bikes so should have been able to turn and leave me plenty of space on the outside. Also assumed they’d seen me coming, plus there were a couple of marshals there to make sure riders were alert, and the race organisers had taken every opportunity to tell us all to be careful at that spot (and yes, with hindsight approaching it on the aerobars at >50 may not fit the definition of being careful) . Turned out that either none of them were paying attention, or hadn’t appreciated how fast people might be going with the tail wind so weren’t looking far enough up the road. Some of the riders turned fairly tightly and blocked the inside line, some went wide, and one rider decided to have a chat with the marshals about something and stopped at the kerb with her bike perpendicular to the course blocking a whole lane. I simultaneously started shouting as I sat up to grab the brakes, but by that point I had nowhere near enough space to stop, and my shouting may have even made things worse as they all reacted in different ways to make a messy situation even more unpredictable. I must have still been doing 40kph as I went through the group with both wheels locked up, but by some miracle I managed a sort of semi-controlled fishtail that took me on a chicane through the middle of them without hitting anything. I was absolutely convinced I must have destroyed my tires as they were relatively fragile Conti TTs, I spent the rest of the race nursing it gingerly around corners and thinking that every bump was a puncture. Was all in my head, inspected them after the race and there wasn’t even a flat spot, and I’ve used the same tires for maybe 8-10 tris or TTs since.

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