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  1. #1
    That's gonna leave a mark
    Reputation: Upchuck's Avatar
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    X-Post from SoCal forum

    After watching some of the race in Santa Barbara this last Saturday, I headed out to do Camuesa Connector Trail for the first time. Let me start by saying it was overgrown. In fact, there were times when I almost lost the trail!
    I took my singlespeed thinking it would be a nice hour-long jaunt. The climb up Buckhorn was the usual grunt. More than a few times I wished I could just downshift and granny it up.

    Once I reached the Camuesa trailhead I realized I hadn't seen a soul out there. No worries, I'm on a singlespeed. I've all but eliminated any concerns about drivetrain mechanicals. The worse thing that could happen is a flat tire.

    Only 100 yds into the descent on Camuesa and I pinch flat in a deep, rocky transition. So I merrily unpacked my pump and the newly acquired patch kit that I scored an hour earlier at the SB MTB Festival from the Open Air Bicycles booth. Yup, a snakebite if I ever seen one. One hole was a small, barely visible perforation. The other was a fairly long tear right at the seam of the tube. Patched them both, stowed the gear away and off I went.

    A half-mile later and I'm bushwhacking through dense scrub. If it weren't for the occasional hike-a-bike, I wouldn't have noticed that I had another rear flat developing. Figuring my patchwork was to blame; I didn't even bother removing the wheel. My suspicions were confirmed: the oblong hole at the seam was leaking profusely. So I peeled off the offending glue-less patch and replaced it with another fresh one.

    With renewed vigor, I pounded the pedals furiously up one hill and down the other; the dense brush lashing at my already raw shins. Around a sketchy bend I felt the rear wheel roll precariously sideways to the edge. AAAHK! This was getting old fast. I peeled the tire off the rim and went right to the source. This hole had it in for me! I figured to hell with the patches. I pulled my spare tube out of my pack and triumphantly waved it in the air screaming AH-HAH!

    As it dangled in my face, the stem swung like a hypnotist's watch before my eyes. For a moment, I stood transfixed. The oversized Schrader stem was not going to fit in my Presta rim. Knowing this kind of thing only happens in the pages of Dirt Rag or Bike, I chuckled to myself while I patched the tube. I pumped up to a nice firm pressure, swung a leg over and pedaled a mere 20 yards before I heard a loud HISSSSS.

    GEEZUS AITCH KRYSTE!! I sat down to cool my jets before I did something I would regret. I did not need to go Rambo on my only tube and end up with a daylong hike back to the car. So I ever so gently pulled the little inflatable rubber thingy from my knobbed traction thingy and inspected the whole thing to make sure I was not repairing the wrong hole. Nope, it was still that dagblasted quarter-inch long hole on the seam.

    I figured why go through the trouble of repairing the hole every few hundred yards only to eventually run out of patches. So I used every last patch I had in my pack, including the ones that had been in there for the last two seasons. Six patches and a whole lot of frantic pumping later and I was screaming down the trail, desperately trying to reach the end of this adventure. By now, I had been on the trail for at least two and a half hours and I had the brush whipped shins to prove it.

    On the last descent, I looked down upon a beautiful creek. As I got closer it became obvious it was a babbling brook. Closer yet I realized it was a fairly large stream. Finally reaching the bottom I said aloud Holy crap! A friggin river! So I hoisted my bike onto my shoulder and waded across in hip deep water. Honestly, I was grateful for the opportunity to soothe my stinging shins in the cool water. A nice little road ride back to the car and all was well.
    Fat fanatic.

    "Where the Fox Hat?" Endurance Team
    SoCal Colavita Road/MTB club

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: pacman's Avatar
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    Jan 2004
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    Any itching?

    Don't shoot the messenger, but the last time I was on Cameusa Connector the brush seemed to be all Poison Oak.

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