Epic Pemberton Mountain Bike Ride

Spring flowers along Pemberton Trail

Spring flowers along Pemberton Trail

I set off to get a good mountain bike training ride in for the Whiskey Off-Road Race today out at Pemberton Trail in the McDowell Mountain Regional Park. I accomplished that, but was in for a much longer day than I had expected. My first lap of the 15.4 mile loop started off great. I stopped a few times to take some photos of the spring flowers, so my time doesn’t reflect a fast lap, but I couldn’t resist. I was feeling great, so I went for a second lap.

My ride was going great until about 8 miles in, when my bike felt a little sluggish. I thought it was might have been my legs, but I looked down to see that my rear tire was slowly losing air. So, I stopped and pumped it up. I thought I could make it the rest of the way, but I was wrong. After a mile it lost most of its air, so I stopped and pumped it up again. More than half way through the lap, I couldn’t decide what to do. I thought maybe another couple of times of pumping the tire up, might get me back to the car. So, I rode about another mile until my tire was so flat I couldn’t ride anymore. I repeated this futile process for about 3 miles. What a pain in the ass!

Why sometimes is isn’t a good idea to have a tire that takes tubes on a converted tubeless rim

I decided to try and pump my tire up one more time, but as I was loosening the valve stem on my tubeless tire, the whole stem came out and a rush of air. The problem is that I couldn’t re-air the tire, because I had a Panaracer FireXc tire made for tubes on a converted tubeless rim. Have you ever tried to get the bead to seat on a tire not made for tubeless rims? It is very difficult without a air compressor. I couldn’t get it to seat correctly to keep any air in the tire, so I decided to use a tube. After pumping away for what seemed like forever, I was taking the pump off of the valve stem when the valve stem broke off. I just made a total rookie mistake. Anyways, now I was pretty much screwed. I had 3 miles to go with a flat rear tire, the sun was setting fast and it was getting cold. I had a decision to make. If I walked, I would be out there in the dark and cold, without any lights. If I rode my bike on a flat tire, I might damage the rim, but I would get back to the car before total darkness. Luckily, the last part of Pemberton is smooth and rolling, so I decided to ride my bike. After riding 27 miles and wasting tons of energy stopping and pumping up my tire, the last 3 miles were a long, tough ride. After a ride that should have taken 2 1/2 hours, I finally made it back to the car in 3 hours, just before dark.

Pemberton Trail Photos

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Epic Pemberton Mountain Bike Ride, 9.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
About Racerx

An Arizona native, Jeff has been mountain biking and racing since 1997. A father of 2 awesome children Ryder and Skylar. He is the owner of Excelnet Media, an Internet Marketing company.


  1. Linnley Clarke says:

    Hey, RacerX…feel like draging some Canadian’s around your favorite trails? Love the reviews and pictures. November is when we are in AZ, and plan to use your info to guide us…thx

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  2. racerx, i can kinda assume the difficulty of this trail from the data from your Garmin GPS. which is really cool btw. but what difficulty level would you set this trail at? i ask only because it’s far from my home and the last trail i went to was beyond skill…way beyond, i thought i was gonna die..it was awesome. :p so i really appreciate the heads up so i dont waste time and gas going to a trail that is too difficult for me to enjoy

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  3. Take string/small rope with you next time. You can wrap it around the tire-following the rubber all the way around, and tie it tight. It will compress the tire expanding the bead out to the rim, and then pump. Surpriingly it works

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