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Screw Tire Lessons

My feet were so cold that when I jumped off my bike I couldn’t feel the subtleties of the ice on the ground. Miraculously I only bobbled a little and then regain my balance. I looked around to see the snow covered mountain sides of Sentinel and Jumbo. The Hellgate winds were not blowing but I could hear the remaining air in my tire escape like a serpent’s hiss. I stood there for a moment as if I was just scolded by someone; trying to answer with something intellectual. Instead I could only mutter a “fuck” and this emotion runs over me to just toss my bike into the Clark Fork. It wouldn’t of worked though because the Clark Fork is completely frozen over. I slowly started to jog my bike towards home and out of Hellgate Canyon.

Earlier in the day I reveled at how I have overcome Missoula’s ice monster with this new screw tire idea. My friend had warned me that I shouldn’t temp fate and just buy some over the counter studded tires. Deep down I knew she was right but the price has just kept me at bay. Over the last year or so I have developed a screw tire where the screws come from the inside out. The problem is that there has to be a liner to protect the tube and hold the screws in place. This year I discovered something new. A lightweight and more effective screw tire. On paper it is a dream winter tire. It uses Stans fluid and sheet metal screws from the outside in. No need for tubes and protectors. I mean if Google was to make a winter tire, this is how they would do it. Right? It is exotic and would be the envy of the bike community. It was just damn sexy to be honest.

With my new tires I wanted to be riding all the time. I couldn’t get enough of it. On the weekend we spent a lot of time out experiencing the icy life and had a great time. A little spin after work just might be the ticket to end of a Monday. I wrote to a friend that I wanted to go out for a “little” spin after work.  My friend answered with a bit of common sense and it appeared I would be on my own.

I left work and the more I rode the more I realized I didn’t want to end the ride. At one point I even passed the very same friend I had asked to go riding with earlier. Without recognizing her right away I just whizzed by and said “hey”. I was in that zone, that special zone where something was bothering me and the more I rode the more I felt what was needed to be felt. After the “normal” loop I was heading into Hellgate Canyon and would of probably rode to Turah. I was in that kind of mood.

Now I was running my bike home, on foot, not exactly the way I imagined it. I was bummed and alone and that my “idea” was obviously just a pipe dream.

Sometimes in life you find yourself in the pursuit of this “idea” or thing that seems good on paper. It seems like the best thing in your life. For some reason you wrap your head around that idea and even when you run into bumps in the road you fight to make it all go down; just like the way it is “supposed” to be. The way you dreamed it should be. The way you want it to be. But life as fickle as it is, has another agenda.

I ended last night with a good person, a awesome friend. I love biking and most of the time I am planning to ride. So even though my idea of a great evening was on the bike I discovered something even better. A relaxing night at the movies with a close friend. Life is so amazing that way. Sometimes you just have to stop and take a look at the things around you and realized you have it all. Sometimes is isn’t at the top of a winding climb or a long ride.

This morning I rode my bike to work on the old heavy screw tires and they did not disappoint. They gripped just as well and they really didn’t feel all that more heavy then the sexy tires, in fact they seemed better. The best thing for the Missoula ice monster was right in front of me all this time. Even when I was trying to make those exotic tires work. Sure my friends wouldn’t be as impressed with these but to me it is all that I need.

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