Words to live by...

"A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others." ~Author Unknown

"A good wife is her husband's biggest fan -- no matter how crazy he is." ~Me

"May God give you.. For every storm a rainbow, for every tear a smile, for every care a promise and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share, for every sigh a sweet song and an answer for each prayer." ~ Irish Blessing

Friday, May 15, 2009

White Rim in a Day

(So, I just posted that "one day" I'd finish my White Rim report.  Turns out, if you leave me alone with the computer, hungry, smelling brats soaking in beer waiting for the hubby to return, I can actually get a lot done!)

I officially survived (and enjoyed!) my first White Rim in a Day.

While Chris has ridden the White Rim around a dozen times in the last few years, as a couple the White Rim has been a bit of an illusive and tricky place.  

The White Rim has found us stranded on a snowy cliff, swerving around a giant tan cow at 70 mph, and pedaling around in a day and a half with knee pain that was out of this world.  When Chris suggested that we try it in a day this month, our first planned trip was thwarted by high winds and rain.  Last weekend we finally made it there.  Safely.  With nice weather.

On Saturday, Chris, Brett, Erik, Jeremy, and I headed out in the wee morning hours for my first white rim in a day attempt.  It was also Jeremy's first time, as well as Brett's first time on a single speed.  
As we shivered in the morning cold, Chris and I decided to head out a few minutes early while the other guys finished getting ready.  We cruised down the dirt road, enjoying riding this road in the morning instead of at the end of the loop as we did last time.  

The sunrise was beautiful, as it always is in the desert.
Yes, the knee-warmer/tall wool sock combo is a super sexy one.  Desert mornings are cold, and that's all I had, okay?  Lay off.  

After making our way down the (far too long) dirt road, we hit the pavement for another solid section of easy, but monotonous, riding.  With the wind at our backs and the legs fresh and happy, this part was almost giggle-worthy.  I remembered, in 08, just churning down this "mostly downhill" road, crying to Chris every time it would pitch upwards.  
After turning off the pavement, we cruised down the Shaffer Road, enjoying the cool breeze and I, in particular, was really enjoying my new Reba!  At the bottom, we regrouped to shed more layers.

The many many miles between Shaffer and Murphy's seem to blur in my mind.  

These miles included me taking a nap in the parking area for Musselman's Arch (apparently while Chris did a kickass handstand on the arch):
a regroup at the lookout where I broke down crying last year -- this year feeling fresh and optimistic: and the icky hot hike up Murphy's Hogback: At the top of Murphy's, we found an itsy bit of shade to eat lunch beneath. 
It was freaking hot.  No, not just hot.  Hot hot.  

The rest of the miles that passed between lunch and dinner were mostly consumed with this thought:  It's hot.  

At one point I even hallucinated that a bunch of white rocks were the river.  I got really excited. Then realized I was wrong.  They were just rocks.  Here's where the iPod came in handy.  Chris was lucky enough to get second-hand iPod from me rockin' out-loud.  Good thing the boys were ahead of us at this point -- we do make a good duet, but we prefer to stay undiscovered.

Did I mention that it was hot?  

At one point we stopped and Jeremy pulled out his little thermometer.  The "low 80s" forecast had reached 90 degrees.  With no shade, and dwindling water supplies.


I didn't freak out though.  I must pat myself on the back for that one.

Hiking up Hardscrabble (yes, referred to in my '08 post as "not-fun-or-easy-scrabble"), was as un-fun as I remember it being.  As Erik, Chris, and Brett zoomed up the hill, Jeremy and I soaked up every inch of shade that we could find.  

I knew that Hardscrabble to the end was not too far, and the rolling top was not as painful and irritating as it was last time.  Some encouragement and pushing from Erik was helpful in keeping me moving forward.  I stopped at some point and asked some campers for a water refill.  Jeremy had been out for many miles and was, undoubtedly, not feeling great because of it.  At first I resisted asking, but then I realized that torturing myself further was simply stupid. I was down to a half of a bottle and knew I'd need more to make it up the final climb.  The campers looked like they were having a great time and were happy to spare a bit of water.

Eventually we got back down to the river and made it to our Canyonlands sign.  I'm pretty sure I was much perkier at this sign last year... granted last year this sign was a few short miles into our second day and this year it was 96ish miles into our day.
At the climb up out of the canyon to the car, Chris and I parted ways.  He had suffered in a HUGE gear the whole way with my slow butt, and it was his time to blast the climb and leave me to suffer through on my own.  I watched him start to climb, intended to get a picture of him, and then I didn't even see him again.  He must've flown.

I, on the other hand, pedaled in my easiest gear (which, granted, was no granny) now and then, and walked the majority.  My front wheel had a really annoying squeal, so I drown it out with my iPod.  As I rocked out in my own little world, I looked around and admired the sunset and my new accomplishment.  

Doing the White Rim in a day is a hard challenge, no matter who you are.  Sure, Chris can hammer it out in less than 8 hours, while it took me something like 14, but either way, you've got to pedal yourself in and out of a pretty remote feeling canyon.

When I got to the top, the boys were waiting, Chris was juice and dinner in hand.   

Before I knew it, I was contentedly passed out in the tent.

My favorite picture of the entire trip?

Thanks for the trip boys.


trio said...

Amazing, makes me want to get on a plane and do the ride now!

Fonk said...

Looks like a great ride, and you did a great write-up. That's one ride I'd really like to do some day.

My new mtb has a Reba fork, which I just got out for its maiden voyage over the weekend, and I also am finding it to be a great fork, definitely better than the single-air Tora I have on my other bike.

JenyJo said...

GREAT JOB!! WOW! Awesome trip, and awesome write up -- and awesome pictures!!!!!

Thanks so much for sharing. It sounds like you had a really wonderful day!


Dave said...


Sean M. McIntyre said...

Do you think it possible to do this ride (in 2 days) in a single speed loaded down with water, food and 7 lbs of camping gear?

Marni said...


I think it is doable for sure. Chris and I did it in a day and a half (rode about 70 miles the first day and 30 the second) in '08. He hauled most of the food, water, and gear for the two of us on his single. I've even seen people haul a B.O.B around with their gear, but if you are creative with your packing you shouldn't need that for a two-day trip.

If you plan to do it in two days keep in mind that you need to call and reserve a campsite ahead of time and that they book up pretty far in advance.

If you need any other advice on doing it in a day or two (and gearing questions), email Chris at chris at shiftedthinking dot com. He's always happy to help!