I had some spare time this afternoon, so pulled the bike off the hooks in order to tighten the aerobar (returned after the ill-fated race on the 10th) pads. Once again, the lack of bounce in the back tire clued me in that, once again, I had fortunately returned home before the tube lost all its air. My Sunday ride is an excellent workout and fun riding, but it cost me a handful of tubes. First act was to jump in the car and pick up three new tubes at the bike shop.
Next came the tire inspection. Oh, oh! A good-size slit in the bottom of the tire. I marked the spot and proceeded to remove the tube. Then I inspected the inside of the tire, only to find out that the slit didn't go all the way through. Back to the drawing board with the tube, otherwise known as submerging it in the sink (changing tubes at home is much more relaxed than on the road). The air bubbles tattled on the hole. But wait! What is that in the hole, a small piece of wire. Now I held the tube up to the tire to locate approximately where in the tire this tiny assassin infiltrated. Pook! Ding-fu!! I was looking at a piece of duct tape. Surely I didn't miss that wire when I inspected this the last time. I refuse to entertain that thought and will go with this being a mere coincidence.
A short history: Every February or March I buy a set of tires, changing out the old ones. I don't keep track of mileage. The old ones I put on my trainer bike or just hang up for emergencies. But now I have a decision: continue with the duct-taped, slitted, tire or get an old one from the hook. Upon examination of the wear indicators, I see that last year's tires still have a lot of wear left; not as much as this year's, but without a slit or duct tape. Easy, put the older tire on.
I may have to get tires earlier this time, maybe Santa will throw a set down the chimney.