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Rooster: Maverick decided she wanted to wrench on bicycles. She had been helping me with a couple of the bikes that needed fixing at MRA, and really fell in love with the satisfaction that comes from resurrecting an ailing machine. She also wanted to maintain her own mountain bike without relying on me. Plus, if we want to keep up this nomadic lifestyle, it helps to have some portable skills. It was a great idea.

Our work bench at UBI
Our classroom

So we both decided to take a course on bicycle mechanics. I’ve been wrenching on bikes since I was a kid, but I’m a self-taught hack, so it was time to learn the proper way to do things. We found a week long course in Ashland, Oregon called United Bicycle Institute (UBI).

Trying to keep my fingers out of the gears

The instructors and facility were amazing, and I can’t believe how much we learned in just one week. The bike industry is exploding with new technology and riding styles right now, and it was almost overwhelming to explore the possibilities. Plus, Ashland is a beautiful town, with a great biking culture. These folks are hardcore. I was invited with some locals on their “casual” Wednesday night ride, and it nearly broke me: it started with a 4 mile climb with over 1600 feet of elevation gain. Easily the hardest climb I’ve ever done. Then, bombing amazing single track back into town. Total stoke!

Time for maintenance

Since we were in Oregon, we decided to take a trip up to Bend. I had been there a couple years back with my Mantrek buddies, and had been telling Mav that we had to ride Mt. Bachelor. It’s a ski resort that has lift serviced mountain biking (no climbing!), and there were a couple runs that I knew she would love.

Ugh, come on! It’s September!

But Mother Nature wasn’t cooperating. At around 6000’ of elevation, even the parking lot was getting a layer of wet, windy snow. The mountain bike park decided to shut down. We headed back down to Bend, and it was raining pretty hard there too. But we decided to wait it out. We were rewarded with enough of a break in the weather to enjoy an afternoon session on some local trails.

“Ever take it off any sweet jumps?”

So, as I write this, we are back on the road. We are heading back to Wisconsin to visit friends and family. In addition, we’ll be preparing for our next adventure, which I’ll detail soon!

Every time we cross the PCT…
Stopping in Mammoth Lakes, CA

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