Monday, May 10, 2010

White Rim 2010 Version 2.0

My wife has the ability to get a life story out of complete strangers in a matter of minutes. It’s not uncommon for her to come home and make a batch of cookies for the checker at Target because she is going through a difficult divorce. So when she came home from the doctor and said, hey Dr Bell said that they are going down to ride White Rim this weekend and said that you could go down with them if you wanted to it was no surprise. Over the three years Dr Bell has been my doctor I have been in to see him twice, once for a scout camp physical and once for a broken ear drum. If it weren’t for my wife I would have never known he even rode a bike.

A couple of days later I got an email from Dr Bell telling me that he had arranged a ride down for me with his neighbor. Shortly after that said neighbor called to arrange the logistics of picking me up and driving me a total stranger down to Moab to ride the White Rim in one day sight unseen. What I would give to have been a fly on the wall in the doctors office that day and heard exactly what my wife said to convince Dr Bell that I would even be able to handle such a ride.

The first time I meet Steve was at a park-n-ride, I threw my bag in the bed of his truck, loaded my bike on the rack and we were off. Steve introduced me to his brother Mike and said we have two others to pick up. We drove to Kaysville to pick up Lane then to Salt Lake to pick up Jeff. These guys were willing to pack five in a truck in order to accommodate me, a total stranger.

From the conversations going on I could tell instantly that these guys were tight. After about an hour of listening to all four of them talking and telling stories I knew that there was a special bond between them , then I heard a sentence that helped put it all in perspective, it went something like, “Remember when Dad did …” Then it all made sense, Brothers, they were brothers. Never in my life have I meet four brothers who got along as well as these guys did and all four of them get were willing and capable of riding their bikes for a hundred miles through the desert. This is really cheesy but man that is special, I am not sure that they realize how unique their family is but I would really like to meet their parents and take notes cuz you know they have done a few things right.

We got to Moab late, pulled off the road and slept in the dirt. The next morning we got ready and headed up the road to meet up with the rest of the group. I made my best guess as to which one in the group was Dr Bell, (it had been nearly a year since I had last seen him for a broken ear drum, I was in and out within ten minutes and had only seen him one other time a year prior to that) I remember my wife telling me that he rode a Scott and thankfully there was only one guy on a Scott. I am pretty sure he didn’t recognize me either when I approached to thank him for inviting me down and finding me a ride. A couple minutes later we were off and riding.

The first 10 miles went by in a blur, I pulled a #2 out of the hat which meant I would be driving the support truck from mile 10 to 20 which happened to coincide with the Horsethief descent. Shortly after Horsethief I rolled up on our first mechanical, rattled loose and missing chain ring bolts. We were able to steal bolts from the middle ring to make a complete set for the big ring and removed the middle ring completely. I sure do like the new designs of cranks and bottom brackets, back in the day we would have needed a crank puller to get the bike up and running again but all the new design needs is a 5 mm allen, easy. The ten miles in the truck went as quickly as the first ten on the bike and I was off and peddling. I knew the mechanical had put us quite a way back from the main group so I went out hard to catch up. It was comforting to know that if needed, there would be a truck that I could jump in to at the end if I bonked. I figured I would see how long my legs would hold up if I pushed the pace and after a while I had closed the gap and caught the lead group. A few minutes later after taking his turn driving Jeff caught up and I rode with him for most of the day. He is a really strong rider and it was challenging to try to hold his wheel. It was really nice to have a pacer who pushed me harder than I probably would have pushed myself. There were a lot of strong riders in the group, I had a blast riding paceline style through the dirt with a fairly equally matched group of riders. I love the hollow sound the tires make on the dirt when you get a large tight group together at high speeds.

We made a few stops for lunch and breaks which was nice. I packed all my food and water and only cheated slightly by pulling a diet coke and water bottle from the truck during lunch. I just really wanted to build my confidence and experience in long self-supported rides. I was happy with the food and again my energy level only dropped slightly a couple times during the day but came back quickly when I stopped to eat. We finished strong, there was quite a bit of pain and suffering but it was tolerable and overall I would have to say that I had a really good time. I am really happy with where I am at, I owe my wife a huge thanks for bending over backwards for me this year so that I can get in as much riding as possible and even setting up a White Rim trip with relative strangers. Also thanks to the Caldwell’s and Dr Bell for rolling the dice with me and allowing me to join their group for the trip, hopefully this will be the first of many. It was really nice to find some good riders in Davis County, finally!  Thanks guys.