It had been a trying day. The temperature was well into the 90s, even up high in the woods, two or three riders had run out of water (so I was running low, after letting them have some of mine), and there had been so many flats that no one had any spare tubes or patches left.
"A couple of more miles, and we're done," I thought to myself as I followed the club riders down the trail.
Then, I saw Terry pull to the side of the trail and stop. I rode up and stopped beside him.
"I've got a flat," he said, looking at his front tire.
"Crap," I thought. "What now?"
I motioned to the rest of the riders to go on. "We'll see you at the trail head," I told them.
I pulled Terry's tube out of the tire and looked at it. It alread had a couple of patches in it, and a new cut. I felt around inside the tire, but I couldn't find anything. Whatever he had picked up in the tire was no longer there.
"I'll just ride on the rim," Terry said.
"No," I said. The trail was pretty rocky, and I didn't want him to destroy his rim. "Let me think..."
I noticed that Terry had a long-sleeved t-shirt strapped tyo his CamelBak.
"Let me have that," I said, pointing at the shirt.
He handed it to me, and I twisted the shirt into a thick rope and stuffed it into the tire. It reached about halfway around the rim. Terry and I took off our jerseys, and I twisted them up and stuffed them into the tire, then popped the bead of the tire back over the rim.
"Take it slow and easy," I said to him, as I put the wheel back on his bike, and we took off toward the trail head. Fifteen minutes later, we rode up, shirtless but grinning, to the rest of the group, with Terry's rim intact.