Rio Grande da Serra and puncture problems

Posted: September 4, 2012 by Ben Weber in Cycling, English, Training
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Loose stone roads… always nice (c) Paulo Filho

As I was saying, the fact that there were no accidents getting to Rio Grande da Serra doesn’t mean that the ride was easy. The long steady uphills took their tolls on our legs, though with Natalia, the downhills were also problematic as she is really not a fan of going downhill and she will be on the brake pretty much all the way down. Certainly understandable, especially given that she has not been riding seriously for very long and has only really just got used to the gears. Though at the same time, it can mean that she can become quite tense and that can make riding less enjoyable and actually could lead to increased chances of an accident. André joked that she would need at least three or four spare brake pads to take with her on the ride down to Santos. But it is important for her to go at a speed at which she is comfortable with, rather than speeding down hills and losing control through panicking as not used to going so fast.

Ben on wheels (C) Paulo Filho

A further issue we had was with punctures. I was lucky, suffering no punctures as we went across the fie kilometres of the loose rock track, but Natalia was a bit further back from me suffered. Twice. And she had no spare inner tube or a puncture repair kit at that time. Fortunately people who were with her did and were able to put a patch on the inner tube and refill the air, but it took a bit of time – I had reached the end of this track and was getting worried about her after waiting half an hour or so. So I cycled back a good couple of kilometres to see what had happened. No sign, so I went back to the end where André was waiting with a few others. A few more minutes and André went back. Eventually he reappeared with three others including Natalia with him – they had taken so long as one of the guys tried to put the wrong inner tube into Nat’s tyre, and only realised it didn’t fit properly after a few minutes… and also going over that road surface certainly wasn’t easy-going.

After this, more dust and loose rocks and stones on the road and with the buses passing us we were occasionally engulfed in clouds which choked us all and left us with very little visibility – we were all thankful when we got off this and on to the normal asphalt. Caught up with the rest of the group and had a bite to eat, and then off again, along a highway this time. Again the group split apart and I was among the first lot, though we stopped at a point where the group would divide into two – those who would go along a grit and rock trail and others who would take the highway to Rio Grande de Serra. We waited quite a while and it turned out that Natalia had suffered another puncture – the patch had come loose from the previous mend. Delayed us all a bit, but no worries.

We decided to take the highway to our final destination – We didn’t fancy getting any more punctures on the loose rocks. Paulo took the longer trail which looked like it would have been pretty good fun. The total distance we cycled was around 75km, so still quite a distance, and we were suitably tired. The people at the station would only let six cycles on any train at any time, and there were only trains every twenty minutes. Fortunately we were close to the front so didn’t have to wait too long to sit down.

Thanks Paulo for taking the photographs!

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