By Brian Maslach
A ride can change in an instant. If you've mountain biked for long you've likely experienced this at least once. This past weekend, Jason Irwin and I encountered one of these instances.
On the shore of Lake Moraine with Pikes Peak in the background minutes before disaster struck.
While riding a fun, twisty part of the Lake Moraine Trail, Jason took an alternative line up across a boulder to go around a tree and sliced his rear sidewall. I was just in front of him and it sounded like a dead branch snapping. I thought he hit the tree, but I turned to see him standing next to his bike with a look of disbelief.
While assessing the situation, and trying to determine what actually caused the slice, we realized that neither of us had a tire boot or anything that we initially thought would help remedy the situation.
This isn't something you want to see when you are far from civilization with only a couple hours of daylight remaining, without an emergency tire boot, and facing an impending thunderstorm at an elevation above 10,000 feet. We were closer to the summit of Pikes Peak than getting back to Colorado Springs.
Then I realized I had a couple of Enduro Bites wrappers in my pack from bites I ate earlier during the ride that could be put to good use. Jason decided to give them a try. While he removed and cleaned his tire, I ate another bar in order to have a third wrapper as reenforcement.
The 3 wrappers were positioned against the inner sidewall of the tire and the tube was inflated. They kept the tube from blowing through the tire, but would they hold while riding over roots, rocks, and other trail obstacles on the 4,000' downhill to get home?
Off we went. After a few minutes of riding we stopped to check the repair. Jason repositioned the wrappers and I consumed another package worth of Enduro Bites so he could add a fourth wrapper for security.
After re-inflating the tube, he and I finished the last bit of climbing to reach Barr Trail, and then began the 7-mile descent back to town.
To add one more twist to our adventure, it began raining after a couple miles of descending. Thankfully most of the trails around Pikes Peak are made of decomposed granite, so other than for making the rocks and roots slicker, the rain and accompanying thunder only motivated us to ride faster.
This is how it looked once Jason got home. The repair held for over 10 miles including the long trip down Barr Trail!
I chose the material used for our wrappers based on how well it helps maintain freshness. It never occurred to me that it would ever be used for anything like this, but the fact these wrappers held up under pressure does show their strength.
The take home message is to take plenty of Enduro Bites whenever you ride! Oh, and carrying an emergency tire boot and other repair supplies and tools is a good idea as well.