I have a full ironman scheduled in 2018 and will therefore be doing a lot of mileage next year. My question is, if I get a flat during the race, is it basically race over as it is unlikely that I or mechanic will be able to fix at roadside or is there a quick fix solution to get me to the end of the 180k race? PS - I am a female and not good at changing tyres quickly at the best of times

  • You swap out the wheel. Oct 24, 2017 at 12:14
  • Fill them with sealant, or carry a can of inflatey goop to fill them with goop and inflate them by the roadside? Oct 24, 2017 at 13:37
  • 1
    I'd be more inclined to switch to tubeless tires than tubulars (I say that after having ridden tubulars for decades). Also, you can practice fixing flats to get better at it, same as you train for transitions or anything else. It may be that your particular tire/rim combo is especially balky if you've been having trouble.
    – Adam Rice
    Oct 24, 2017 at 14:58
  • Given its a race, you want to go fast so puncture-resistant tyres will feel lethargic. So try to ride tyres that aren't low on tread, for the race. But also nothing newer than a month so they've bedded in and lost their glaze. Work on road positioning to avoid potential flats, and technique for crossing potholes or cattlestops (BTDT!)
    – Criggie
    Oct 24, 2017 at 19:12
  • Just finishing an Ironman is an accomplishment, I'd carry a flat repair kit with me and fix the flat to keep going.
    – Pete B.
    Oct 26, 2017 at 16:38

2 Answers 2


It is a matter of personal preference. Triathlons generally have to be self supported (with some exceptions) so getting a full wheel swap like in Pro Bike races is not an option. I run clinchers mainly for this reason as they are easier (for me) to swap out on the side of the road. However, depending on your rim/tire this can still be pretty tough sometimes.

So if you are running tubs you would have 2 options:

  1. Carry a spare tub tire & CO2. You would need to be able to peel off the old tire, re-seat the new one, and re-inflate. This can be pretty hard. Also, usually when you glue on new tubs at home you use fresh glue and let then set awhile to make sure they are well adhered. However, in this case on the side of the road you will be re-using the old glue or you could try tube tape (never used it personally). This is a bit dangerous as now your tire is not as secure onto the rim and you risk "rolling" it off in hard cornering ...

  2. Carry a sealant like Vittoria Pit-Stop. This might seal & re-inflate your tire but if it doesn't then you are out of luck.


Consider clincher and go with puncture resistant. In the 28 or 32 width to resist pinch flat. Not adding much weight. A benefit is you don't need to change out from training to race tires.

Most races you are not going to flat. You may go the whole season with no flat.

Practice changing flats. You may be out of contention for the win but you can still finish the race.

If you have not bought wheels and want to go tubular then that is certainly an option.

Don't cut the last 6 inches of the corner as that is where most debris is.

  • 6
    Be aware that many (most?) tri/tt frames have tight tire clearances. My admittedly aged Trek TTX, for example, can't even fit a 25mm tire, never mind a 32(!). Oct 24, 2017 at 16:54
  • @JoshDoebbert Good point. I don't tri.
    – paparazzo
    Oct 24, 2017 at 17:31
  • You’d have to use very low pressure – which you are unlikely to do during a race – to get a pinch flat.
    – Michael
    Oct 25, 2017 at 5:44
  • @Michael You can pinch a 23 at full pressure.
    – paparazzo
    Oct 25, 2017 at 8:29

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