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The Bike Diva needs a mechanic

When Tom was gone this summer, I managed to have six flats between three of my bikes — my skinny tire, my full-suspension mountain bike and a cross bike reincarnated from a very old, third-hand road bike.

There is not much to like about flats, but when they happen, I like to have my husband around. He takes excellent care of my bikes; day after day and year after year. Over the course of the last dozen years, he’s gotten his hands greasy without complaints. He’s never said anything to indicate or even hint that I should learn how to fix a flat.

I am a bike diva. The secret is out. In my defense, I have been known to say, rather lamely, “Why bark when you have a dog.”

Is there any shame?

Yeah, just a little.

And I’ve also come to a conclusion: marriage to a capable guy helps me not learn how to fix things.

It was a Saturday in July and I was out riding my mountain bike. I was thoroughly enjoying myself because it was a totally awesome morning and I was feeling rather chipper. When I ride alone, I see and hear more; I am more in tune with the woods. This trait harkens back to my trail running days when I imagined a mountain lion behind every tree.

And then it happened. I flatted. Fast. Just like that. There was zilch air in the front tire.

I hoisted all 30 pounds of the Trek over my shoulder and started walking up the trail with a stride that I hoped had an air of dignified defeat. I had a spare tube. I had no patch kit, no bike pump and no tire tube changing skill. My cell phone was at the house.

My plan, if it could be called that, was just to hike the bike back home and drink a big mug of hot water.

Home was 12 miles away.

After three miles, the bike shoes with their metal clips were really catching my attention.

That was when I met him — the bike mechanic. He and his girlfriend and one other couple were camped in a grove of Ponderosa pines. I could smell bacon cooking.

Sheepishly I approached the foursome and asked if I could use a cell phone. Didn’t even know if there was cell service.

They took a look at the bike on my shoulder and the bike mechanic understood my predicament.

“Need some help?” he asked.

I was embarrassed, but not quite willing to admit that mountain biking alone — without a way to fix a flat — was a bad idea.

I thanked him and said, “No, I’ll be okay if I can just make a quick call.”

But, it seemed his trained eye exposed my lie. He stepped forward and took my bike off my shoulder and immediately popped off the wheel.

“Looks like a pinch flat,” he said.

“Right,” I said confidently. “I like riding with lower air pressure.”

For those who may not know, a pinch flat is when your tires aren’t pumped up enough and you pinch the tube between a rock and the rim of your wheel.

“I’ll get this fixed in a jiffy,” the bike mechanic said.

Thinking fast on my cleat-clad feet, I responded, “Thanks. I’m a bike diva.”

So, this is a thank you to my husband — my mechanic of love who is a handyman and who is always there for me … when he is home. I will continue to ride single-track until the snow falling in the mountains reaches the valley floor.

As fall progresses and I switch channels to focus on winter sports, I’m thinking that my only danger of falling is into a big pile of powder.

I don’t know how to wax my skis. I prefer to have my husband do it for me. I’m also a ski diva. Does that come as a surprise?

Hmmm, perhaps I should consider going back to swimming, since busted gear is pretty uncomplicated to fix. Even I can do it.

Swim for health

If you would like to swim for your health and enjoyment, I have an opportunity for you.

Dr. Amber Reiss-Holt, an accomplished swimmer, is offering to share her knowledge of swimming with other local swimmers. She has started meeting with swimmers to train at the recreation center pool every Monday night from 6:15 to 7:30 p.m.

Amber will provide coaching and offer technique tips to those who wish to improve their swimming skills. All ability levels are invited to participate and Amber will plan a workout suitable for each ability level.

If you are interested and have unanswered questions, contact Amber at

Fence work

The PLPOA is planning on reconstructing a one-mile section of National Forest boundary fence line, beginning this week.

The fence section is located in the Lake Forest Estates subdivision and the planned work will take place on the section of fence that begins near Martinez Place and runs northward to the area behind Dutton Drive. The fence roughly parallels Lake Forest Circle, Arrowhead Drive and Dutton Drive.

The old, failing fence will be removed and replaced with new posts and new four-strand wire. The purpose of the fence is to keep grazing cattle out of the subdivisions.

The entire western boundary of Pagosa Lakes is fenced with about 12 miles fence total.

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