My first half Ironman was a mess. I didn’t know what I was doing.

One of my friends, Clarke, who had done quite a number of them was there at the race to show me the ropes.

He explained to me that I should deflate my bike tires after racking the bike in T1, as it would be sitting in the scorching Malaysian sun for many hours and as the air inside them heated up, the tires may pop.

So I let some air out right after racking the bike and left.

The next day I pumped them up before the race and everything seemed to be in order. I went for the swim (that’s another disastrous story), came out of the water, excited and proud of myself, and after 5 minutes made it onto my bike.

Not bad for a first-timer right?

I rolled it to the red mount line, hopped on, and was finally riding.

I was elated to have finished the longest swim of my life, and was finally in a place where I felt way more comfortable. Except the road felt really rough and mushy.

“Whatever,” I thought, “it’ll smoothen out soon – it’s probably just a bad stretch of asphalt.”

A few hundred meters later I looked down and noticed I had been running on a flat this whole time! But I clearly remembered pumping it up just a few short hours ago!

How did this happen?

To this day, I still don’t know. Either I didn’t let enough air out of the tires the night before or I didn’t pump it up properly the morning of the race.

The moral of the story? Let enough air out the night before and pump enough air in the next morning.