white rim in a day, what can i say? let's start with what this trail is not.. it's not a "trail". well not in the conventional sense. it's not singletrack. it's a jeep road. having ridden hours and hours of dirt road in my life during races, when i am planning my non-racing adventures i tend to lean heavily towards singletrack. i was however intrigued by the fact that the white rim was a nice 100 mile loop in a beautiful place. roch and catherine really drove that home for me a couple weeks before this planned trip to the meca of moab. they said "it's prettier than the kokopelli!".
dj and i had been talking about trying to ride the white rim and whether we thought we could talk the singletrack minded seattleites into it. "how cool would it be to knock out the kokopelli and the white rim in the same week?" i kept thinking, and saying. after all was said and done, dj broke his wrist and couldn't ride; the singletrack seattleites didn't have the butt endurance; and mandy who hasn't ridden 80 miles total on a mtn bike in the last 5 years combined, jumped in.
dj was cool enough to help us avoid the very boring 20 miles of road section on top of the mesa. so at 6am, with light and motion bike lights blazing, mandy and i dropped into the cold dark abyss.
the first few hours were cold. we had barely enough gear to stay comfortable. i can't speak for mandy but i was uncomfortably cold for the first two hours. as the sun came up and the beauty unveiled itself we warmed up literally and figuratively to the white rim... wow. from our start at mineral bottom we dropped down to the green river and potato bottom. we didn't push the pace, we just stayed nice and steady with our effort and soaked it in. mandy having jumped in last minute was on a rented bike, using a rental helmet, rental shoes and a hodgepodge of extra gear from dj and myself. we knew we had to be done in 11 hours or risk not getting the bike back to the moab cyclery in time.
we were riding counterclockwise. dj and most everyone else suggested going the clockwise. however with our dark thirty start i decided to go the other direction simply to see the views on the shafer trail.
..and the views along the way were fantastic. mandy pointed out some of the rocks she's climbed, washerwoman and monster tower. having eaten loads of fake food at that point we took a sit down lunch on the edge near airport tower.
the climb out was tough after 70 miles, and it seemed to go about as steep as a road could possibly be without tipping cars over on their end. mandy did great, she's an amazing athlete and you wouldn't have known she's not technically a "cyclist". with the sun blazing as we climbed out i was starting to really feel it. a nice english couple driving down the road stopped to encourage me. i took it as an opportunity to beg for some water, which they happily gave mandy and i. the ride out was in fact amazing and gorgeous and well worth the effort. we were excited to have gotten it done in one shot. we returned to the car exhausted, but in time to return the bike... perfect.
i will say driving back to salt lake city was just awful and i have no idea how mandy did it. my legs and body ached and i could not get comfortable. mandy drove while i moaned from my 275 mtn bike miles in the previous 6 days.