Eastlake girls practice changing a flat

We recently had a flat-changing clinic during one of our team meetings. After an initial demonstration, the kids tackled the bike, changed a flat, then learned how to use CO2.

If you’re on the Eastlake team and are not proficient changing a flat or using CO2, please talk to one of your coaches, and take advantage of the opportunity to learn when there’s no pressure, you’re not in the middle of a race, or on a trail ride minutes before dusk. Everyone who rides should learn how to change a flat!

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about Changing a Flat:

Do I need to take the whole tire off?
No. You only need to take one side of the tire off so that you can remove and replace the tube.

What is the advantage to removing the whole tire?
Facilitates finding the thing that made you flat.
Removing the tire entirely will make it easier to find the glass, thorn, piece of wire, etc. Sometimes the object will remain in the rubber of the tire, slightly poking through the inside, just waiting to flat your new tube. With the tire removed, you can practically turn it inside-out.
What is the disadvantage to removing the whole tire?
Takes a bit longer to remount the tire. Possibility of remounting it in the wrong direction. 
Tires are often designed to roll best in one direction. Unless you know the direction of rotation, which is sometimes stamped into the sidewall of the tire, you need to either
a) pay close attention to decals and logos when you removed the tire, i.e., logos match up to the cassette /skewer nut side or the skewer lever side, or
b) know how to read the directional tread of a tire. Here’s the practical physics lesson of the day: Look at the tire from the point of view of the handlebar. The “V” in the tread should point away from you, with the point of the “V” pointing forward. This allows dirt or water to be directed away from the center of the tire. If there’s no obvious “V”, look for the slope of the lugs in the knobby tread. The more sloped side should hit the ground first, and the more cliff looking side should follow. Running it the other directing will induce drag.
<= ROTATION” is stamped into the sidewall of many tires.


What do all those numbers on the tube box mean?
Example: 700 x 18-28, 48mm  (road tube)

  • 700 = roughly 700mm rim diameter
  • 18-28   Number of mm wide the tube will comfortably inflate. If the tire is narrower than 18mm, there will be too much flabby tube inside it. If the tire is wider than 28mm, the tube will be stretched too thin.
  • 48mm  length of the presta valve on a road tube. Deeper rims require longer valve stems. A short valve stem inside the rim may not allow you to attach the pump to inflate it.
Example: 26 x 1.9-2.125  (mountain bike tube)
  • 26 = 26″ diameter rim
  • 1.9 – 2.125  Number of inches wide that the tube will comfortable inflate.
How do I know I have the right size tube?

Easiest way: take your tire to the bike shop and tell them you need a spare tube. When you remove the tube from the box and put it in a plastic bag, tear off the end of the box with all the numbers and put it inside the bag with the spare tube.
Can I use a 26″ tube in a 29″ tire?
Yes. While it is not optimal, you can use a 26″ tube in a 29″ tire.


Are bike tire measurements in inches or metric?
Road bike tires are most commonly measured in metric, mountain bike tires in inches.
What is the “bead” of the tire?
The bead is the edge that hooks into the rim and holds the tire onto the rim. Tire beads are either wire or kevlar.
What is the difference between wire or kevlar bead tires?
Wire bead
  • often less expensive
  • harder to mount onto rims
  • better for 230+ lbs riders (because the bead stays in place and won’t blow off the rim)
  • adds 50-75g in rotational weight, which is fine for flat terrain, but more work in hilly terrain.

Kevlar bead 

  • often more expensive than wire bead
  • easy to mount into rims
  • fold-able (you can carry one in your back pocket if you need to)
  • reduced rotational weight
How much air do my tires need?
Every tire is stamped with a recommended inflation. Road bike tires are high pressure, low volume, and are generally inflated between 95-125 psi.
Road bike tire recommended inflation: 115 PSI / 125 PSI
Mountain bike tires are low pressure, high volume, and are generally inflated between 30-50 psi.
Mountain bike tire recommended inflation: 36-65 PSI
Why are some road tires perfectly slick and others have ridges (tread)?
Perfectly slick road tires are most often used by racers, having the least friction and drag. Tires with more tread provide better grip and are better for directing water or mud away from the center of the tire. Ask your coach or at your local bike shop which tire is best for your riding style and goals.


Is the rim and the wheel the same thing?
No. The rim is only the hoop part with the holes in it. The wheel is made up of the rim, spokes, hub, etc.

What is presta and schrader?
Tube valve stems are either presta (below) or schrader (looks like the car tire).
presta valve in a mountain bike wheel
Unscrew the top (little gold piece) to inflate. Be sure to tighten it back down.
How often do I need to pump up my tires?
Check tires before every ride.
Properly inflated road tires should feel completely solid. If you can make any depression with your fingers in the sidewall at all, you need air. Use a good floor pump and knew for certain how much pressure is in your tires.
Comparing Apples and Oranges: If road tires are to be harder than an apple, mountain tires should be a bit softer than an orange. You should be able to depress the sidewall slightly.
Tire-changing at the team meeting

Joel works to become the tire-changing master!

If you have additional questions or are curious about tubes or tires, please see Sheldon Brown’s website. Although Sheldon is no longer with us, his site is maintained by volunteers and remains a great resource for cyclists.
-Coach Drexler

“What are your goals this year in terms of the mountain bike team?” I asked the girls. One was quick to speak up.

“I want to win. I want to take the jersey,” she said with a gleam in her eye.

“That’s a great goal! How do you intend to get there?” I asked her.

“What do you mean?” she asked.

“Well, for starters, how’s your nutrition?” I ask her.


“Um, I eat at McDonald’s a lot,” she says, almost sheepishly.

“What’s a lot?” I ask her.

“Like, they all know me.”


Yes, this is a face palm.

Athletes, if you are serious about standing on the podium, you need to think of yourself as a high-performance machine. Like a jet. You don’t put diesel fuel into a jet engine. You put jet fuel in it.

You know instinctively NOT to eat at McDonalds, but what SHOULD you eat? Here are some suggestions for getting your nutrition in shape:


  • applesauce + 1 scoop of whey protein
  • boiled egg
  • apple with almond butter or other nut butter
  • banana with a scoop of nut butter or 1/2 C of almonds


  • scrambled eggs with some pieces of red bell pepper, fresh fruit
  • banana-almond pancakes (4 ripe bananas, 2 eggs, 4 T almond butter)


  • grilled chicken with bacon wrapped in lettuce, apple, almond meal chocolate chip cookie
  • roast beef & horseradish cheddar wrapped in lettuce, pear
  • tuna salad, apple, carrots, 1/2 C nuts and bittersweet choc pieces


  • grilled fish, sweet potatoes, salad, tomato soup
  • grilled chicken, carrot-ginger soup, green beans
  • meatloaf,  cauliflower (processed in food processor and sauteed in olive oil – trust me), broccoli-spinach soup, butternut squash (peel, cut into pieces, and microwave with some water)


  • smoothie: almond milk with banana and/or strawberry+ whey protein
  • apple or carrot with any nut butter
  • nuts and/or fruit
  • avocado

Conspicuously absent from this list is bread (or any grain products), milk, processed foods, and refined sugar. I have personally found that eating grains only gives me a weighed-down feeling, and that almond milk is simply more nutritious and beneficial. These suggestions above would be the ideal, like brushing and flossing after every meal or doing stretches every morning and evening. I don’t do any of these things consistently, but when I am eating for performance, I find there is no substitute for putting good top-quality fuel in your body.

You might find it too difficult at this time to stop eating grains. A compromise would be to only eat dark grains, and not eat any white flour or white potatoes.

At the very least, stop eating processed foods. If there are ingredients you can’t pronounce, don’t eat it.

Don’t let these suggestions overwhelm you. This eating guideline is not a forever sacrifice. It is a tool you use as an athlete to achieve your goals. Now go grab and apple and a handful of almonds.

-Coach Drexler

Eastlake Cycling Team

Posted: November 12, 2010 in Team Introduction/Overview

2012 Team Photo
Copy of ECT Color Logo 2-7-2010
The Eastlake Cycling Team is a cross country mountain bike team that competes in the SoCal High School Cycling League.  The SoCal League includes 25 teams.  Both girls and boys race at Frosh/Soph, JV, and Varsity levels.  Student-Riders from Eastlake High School in Chula Vista, California finished their second bike racing  season on May 20th, 2011.
If interested in joining, contact Coach Karen Vidales (Gym), Coach Anna Swenson (room 307), Coach David Kerr (room 200H), or Coach AJ Ronacher (room 608) at Eastlake High School, or Coach Jason Schmidt at Eastlake Middle (see Contact Tab for more contact info).
We have just returned from our first race of the 2012 SoCal High School Cycling League racing season.   Highlight of that race is our Sophomore Girl racer, Mariana Santisteban, who took a podium at 3rd place.

  Skills Clinic

After joining the team, first time trail riders are treated to a free series of professional mountain bike skills clinics (basic & advanced).  Clinics are conducted by friendly and knowledgeable (SoCal registered) coaches who have been hand selected.  ECT coaches have been trained by directors of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association, using the strict coaching standards set by NICA.


Team Pit

Training and Race SeasonFall is time for fun riding, honing basic skills, and getting bodies ready for more demanding training in winter.   In December, we begin more frequent, demanding, and longer conditioning rides and workouts.


ECT riders are fortunate to be able to ride and practice on fun and challenging local trails.  Trails are located immediately next to Eastlake  High school, and lead to exciting rides in Chula Vista including trails around Sweetwater River Valley, Otay Lakes, and the Otay River Valley.

The SoCal High School Cycling League is part of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association.