Saturday, April 24, 2010

RAWROD TT 2010 Trip Report

It is hard for me to put words to paper that even come close to expressing what riding the White Rim is like. I will make an attempt but I am sure it will be inadequate.

At 8:00 everyone lined up on an imaginary start line and headed out. That was the last time I would see Kenny or any of the other fast riders. I was still standing by my car when they left and headed out less than a minute after the main group. I rode most of the day solo which turned out to be a good thing.  Sometimes it's nice to just be alone.

The White Rim is an enormous place with absolutely breath-taking views. I felt extremely small against the towering cliffs and trail that disappears on the horizon in both directions. I don’t listen to music while I ride so I am left to live in the moment. There's the sound of tires on dirt and the occasional motorcycle or Jeep but for the most part silence. The trail has many smooth flat sections where you can just cruise and allow your mind to wander but there are also sections that go for miles and miles where the trail firmly holds your attention. Your world stretches to the horizon one minute to the 10-15 foot stretch of dirt and rock in front of your tire the next.

I passed a lot of riders going the other direction, but there is one that will be hard to forget.  It probably has something to do with the banana hammock thong and pink halter top he was wearing.  I just wonder in a situation like that do you just smear the shammy butter directly on to the saddle?  I didn't stop to ask and sorry I didn't get a picture. 
My bike ran flawlessly throughout the ride. The only mechanical I am aware of was on Elden’s step-son’s motorcycle. Just after coming by me at the 50 mile point he threw a chain. Luckily he had the tools needed to fix it, the 50 mile mark is the absolute worst spot to break down. Really it was just like an overgrown bicycle and we had the chain back on and running in no time. I'll have to be honest it really scared me at first and the pit in my stomach did not go away until he fired it up and took off. Since he had the proper tools it turned out to be a very minor issue.

Here is the view looking forward at the 75 mile point. The Shaffer Trail snakes up the cliffs to the top of the mesa.

It is true that for the most part the trail is flat, but there is still a substantial amount of climbing to be had.

At the top

The final 20 miles consist of smooth road, 10 miles of pavement slightly uphill followed by a buffed out 10 mile slightly downhill dirt road, a perfect way to finish when you're tired.  The perfect ride, thanks to Kenny for pulling it together.

Lessons Learned

I like real food. I ate white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies and Pringles which was a perfect choice as far as my stomach was concerned. The only problem with this food is that every 15-20 miles I had to stop and get it out of my Camelbak. The time it takes to stop this often really adds up over the course of the day. It makes me wonder if I should start looking into and experimenting with gel or shotblocks which take up less volume and would be easier to access and eat while riding.  Anybody have any tips on this?

I wish I had more time to explore and take pictures.  Everywhere I looked was a picture, I had an almost overwhelming urge to stop and take pictures or just stop and take in the views.  For the most part I resisted in favor of pushing through and trying to make a good time.  I wish I would have been able to stick around for the slower paced group ride. 

This was a good confidence builder, my first self-supported White Rim trip. I still have a long way to go but I think things are going in the right direction. It is going to be a fun season.


  1. You are an animal. Never done White Rim. Honestly not sure I could make it.
    Well done.

  2. I'm really glad you have a blog or else I would not know anything about your life right now :) You are a visionary and I love reading your posts - it's like I'm there with you. Love you brother and am sooo impressed you are strong enough to make that ride.