The Mountain Bike Life

We all have great memories of the places we’ve ridden, the trails we’ve conquered, and the unexpected adventures. All it takes is that one photo to make you smile, shake your head or howl in laughter as you recall the story behind the image. This is the first of what will be regular “One Shot, One Story” posts. Roll your eyes, laugh with me or share some wisdom if you’ve been in a similar situation.

Fixing flat #5 on the Grand Canyon’s North Rim

It was early May 2006 and the campground at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon was still closed for the season. We had the whole place to ourselves including the Rainbow Rim trail which runs for 18 miles along the canyon edge.

The trail was tire-deep in pine cones as no trail maintenance had been done yet for the year.  About an hour in to the ride, we got our first flat. Quick fix and we were back on the trail. This was followed by a second flat; good thing we both carried two tubes. Frustration started to mount after yet another two flats. What the hell? We doubted it was the pine cones as we ride through those at home with no problem. The patch kits came out for flat numbers five, six and seven. It was eighth flat that finally pushed us over the edge. We bailed on the ride and limped back to our vehicle.

What caused the flats? The thorny New Mexican locust bush that grows in abundance around the canyon. That taught us to carry the right tubes (this was early days of tubeless). At least we got what is our most scenic tube change photo to date. We just have to go back and finish the ride.

Riding Slickrock: A First Timer's Guide
Escaping Winter, a Journey to Moab Utah.