Team Stumbleweed

It’s mountain bike season! I suppose I could have written a post way back when about how I actually got to ski this year, but I just never got around to it. Don’t get me wrong, it was mentally tough and probably could have been a good enough story. At any rate, yesterday it was 80 degrees in Boulder and it was wonderful! The tricky part about this time of year is the weather is incredibly nice and you want to be outside, but the snow is melting so the trails are muddy, so proper etiquette is to stay off the trails. Unless you are in the desert….

Rewind a few months: Papa Rich and I decided it would be a *fun* idea to complete an adventure race. It was an idea that was sort of up in space and “yeah, that will be awesome” kind of thing until my dad actually completely the registration for the Moab Adventure Xstream. Then $h!t got real. The race consists of a 40 mile bike ride, 8 mile run, 300 foot rappel, and a 12 mile kayak. Now we are committed, and I am going to die. Our team name is appropriately: Will they make it?

Fast forward to last weekend: My dad flew to Vail from Belize for my birthday and we decided we should do a long distance training ride. We packed up the car, picked up Sally and hit the road headed for Fruita.

My dad had brought back his 15 year old bike from Belize to get work done, but the shop didn’t do a great job, so we made pit stop at the local bike shop called Over the Edge and that was our first encounter with Team Tumbleweed. A group of 7 feet tall giants walked into the bike shop with matching bike kits. After a quick Google search we found out they are some bike team from Wyoming, who seemed to have it together.

After what seemed like an eternity we made it out of the bike shop up to the 18 road trails. 18 Road is a pretty simple trail system with one trail that you ride up and connects with a series of fun, flowy trails you ride down. Because this was really our first ride of the season, we were all making last minute adjustments to our bikes when my dad blew out a tire. Long story short, we reloaded the car and headed back to the bike shop. A new tire and an hour later we headed back to the trail head and decided to make the days ride short and fun (instead of the 30 mile ride we had planned). This post wouldn’t be worth writing about if more issues didn’t happen. For some reason unknown to me, my dad decided to readjust his seat, at which point he broke the piece that keeps it from moving. With the help of some very generous people in the parking lot we were able to get a pipe clamp as a temporary fix (another 45 minutes gone by).

Once we finally got on the trail, it was all smiles! We were all feeling pretty strong and were excited for the ride down, then Sally got a flat tire. Changing tubes sounded simple enough except that Sally and I had never had flat tires before and were determined to figure it out without help from my dad. I have been to a few basic mechanic classes, and getting a used tire off a rim is much easier than Sally’s new tire. It took both of us to man handle the tire back onto the rim and at some point during that process we (I?) maIMG_1448naged to pinch the tube. The rest of the process went as follows:

-Pinched another tube, couldn’t get the patches to work.

-Pulled out my spare tube, it was a road bike tube (How does that happen?!).

-Used my dad’s 26″ tube in Sally’s 29″.That seemed to work, so we decided to use a CO2 cartridge to fill it up.

At that point enough bikers had passed us and asked if we needed anything we started to say beer. A couple rode by and said they don’t have beer, but they had a flask. The man said they keep it around for “cleaning cuts.” Sure ya do, buddy. A quick round later, Sally’s tire was flat again. YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING! Nope. We were out of tubes and not that far from the road, so she walked out and my dad and I went to get the car. For the third time that day, we drove to the bike shop, at which point we decided to name ourselves Team Stumbleweed–the less together biking group. Calling it a day, Team Stumbleweed made is across the bike shop parking lot to the brewery in hopes of a better day two.


Side note: We ended up meeting up with the guy who helped my dad fix his bike seat. His name is Chris and he’s from Crested Butte by way of Vermont, so naturally we got along.  He is definitely one of those people Sally and I can add to our list of awesome strangers like Mike at Bryce Canyon and Slack in Carbondale.

We ran into the real Team Tumbleweed at dinner, then they were staying at our hotel, but left long before we motivated to get breakfast.

It was hard not to laugh about the series of unfortunate events of our first day and that made the prospect of a daunting day two much easier. We made it to the Kokopeli trail head without incident. Not long into our ride we came across Team Tumbleweed, Sally and I broke down laughing as they passed us. At just over 17 miles (4 hours), it was the longest ride either of us had ever done. My dad past patient with our slowness and picture taking, and appreciated the stupid jokes.

I am definitely worried about the 40 miles we have to ride in just over 3 weeks, but I am hoping it’s not as technical so the mental game won’t be as tough. Wish us luck!


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