Andrew and I added a third member to our riding company this past weekend as we headed for Sisters, Oregon. Dan Merkt Blatz, a friend from college who recently moved to Portland, joined us and proved to be an excellent addition. The plan for this trip was to stay in Sisters Friday night, ride Peterson’s Ridge to the Metolius Windigo Trail, and then basically follow this trail all the way to Sparks Lake, one of the many lake campgrounds near Mt. Bachelor. So we all left for Sisters on Friday and stayed the night at my uncle-in-law’s house before setting out for Peterson’s Ridge the next morning.
About 13 miles into the ride, my Krampus got a flat, so we all hunkered down for what should have been a five minute breather. An hour and a half later, we had patched four spots on two different tubes for my wheel, wiped down the entire inside of the tire as well as the rim, and still could not figure out why my tubes were puncturing.
They were puncturing in different spots every time on what appeared to be a spotlessly clean rim and tire. So admitting defeat, I simply put in a punctured tube and rode towards the nearest forest road which would eventually get me to Sisters. Every half-mile I had to stop and pump my completely flat tube back up so that I didn’t completely ruin my back tire until, lo and behold, a couple came riding up the trail and offered to lend me their Jeep, parked just down the road, so that I didn’t have to go through this aggravating ride and pump pattern the last 7 miles back to Sisters. Their unwavering trust in a complete stranger absolutely astounded me, not to mention saved me from an hour and a half of frustration.
I parked their Jeep at the trailhead they were riding to, walked my bike an 1/8 of a mile back to the house, and then began the frantic search for a shop that could help me out. To make a long story of telephone tag short, I found a shop in Bend that could set up my current wheels tubeless, meaning I wouldn’t have to worry about using tubes in the tires anymore. We all drove to Bend, where I dropped my bike off at Bend Velo – an incredible little bike store by the way – and then ate lunch at Crux Brewery where we could discuss plan B for biking. In the end, we decided to head to the campsite we were originally planning to stay at near Mt. Bachelor, and continue on with our designed riding plan for the following day.
Sparks Lake Campground was gorgeous, with beautiful views of the Sisters, as well as Mt. Bachelor and Broken Top. While Andrew hung out at the campsite, Dan and I decided to take advantage of the last few hours of light and play some disc golf around camp.
The next day we did the preplanned ride and enjoyed some very sandy singletrack. Both Andrew and Dan had some nasty falls, but this didn’t detract from the fun, and some of the previous day’s misfortune was forgotten thanks to a day of exciting and somewhat secluded singletrack, with no mechanical meltdowns.
While the ride didn’t go perfectly according to plan, we all were able to remain positive and enjoy the riding and camaraderie that make bikepacking so much fun. The three of us will definitely be heading out together again in the near future.