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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,132

    Yet another White Rim Trail report

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    Last week, DH and I did a three-day tour of the White Rim Trail in the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands N.P. This was similar to the four-day tour that Veronica did a couple of weeks ago and for which she provided a ride report. We did it in reverse though and used a different tour company (Rim Tours).

    First the good: Rim Tours and our guides, Rob and Buck, did a great job on all counts. The food was good, the logistics ran smoothly, and we wanted for nothing. Our rental bikes--Yeti 575s--were awesome. I really loved my bike.

    Our group was great. There were only three other riders in addition to DH and me: a 38-year old man from L.A. and a couple in their 50s from Boulder. They were all really friendly and supportive. I especially loved the woman from Boulder. She was a very skilled and strong rider and couldn't have been more encouraging.

    The setting for the ride is amazing. This is our second trip to Utah in just over a year, and it's an infinitely fascinating and inspiring place to be. It would take us a lifetime to exhaust the state's possibilities.

    Now the less-than-good (I don't want to call it bad because it was all a good learning experience): The tour was hard for us at times. It was really hot. We expected daytime highs in the mid-70s (the average for this time of year), but it hit above 90 each day. Add in the altitude, and it was tough going at times. I didn't feel well at the beginning of the tour (my bowels revolted in the early morning hours before we started). That is not the way you want to start a three-day ride in the desert. I struggled that first day to stay on top of my hydration and to force some food down. It got better after that, but hydration remained a full-time job. I'd love to know how much water and Gatorade I consumed over the course of the tour.

    I won't lie: I wasn't nearly as well trained for this as I would have liked. The "big" climbs were tough, and I had to walk portions of them. Walking up a steep grade on a dirt road--with rocks and sand to boot--with a 27-pound bike in tow under a blazing sun is not easy. I take comfort that everyone in the group struggled with most of the climbs, too. But I would have liked to have ridden better in this respect.

    And then there's the sand. Stretches of the trail are pretty sandy, sometimes so sandy that you can't do much more than dismount and walk your bike. Otherwise, it's important to maintain sufficient momentum, with steady pressure to the drivetrain, and to keep the rest of your body (as Buck would say) "quiet." I actually did pretty good with the sand and may have been the only person who didn't wipe out in it. DH wiped out on a particularly unnerving sandy shallow descent, but thankfully didn't hurt himself or the bike. I almost bit it when the guy from L.A. wiped out in front of me the morning of Day Three, but thanks to the clinic I took last year, I was able to make a quick and safe stop just in time.

    Minus the climbing, I was otherwise happy with how I rode. I'm relatively new to mountain biking and pretty cautious by nature, so the trail posed some challenges, notwithstanding the fact that it's not singletrack. I got through the steep descents in one piece (thank you disk brakes) and otherwise handled my bike relatively well. I didn't fall, crash or wipeout in any way. It's really important to ride cautiouslessly when you're in the middle of nowhere, and so I'm happy that I didn't get into any trouble--although I'm sure the guides wondered if I might.

    We spent the balance of the week hiking around Moab--mostly in Arches National Park. We also did a hike (for anybody familiar with the area) to the Fisher Towers, which was pretty cool. Moab is an interesting place. For somebody like me who is not from a particularly outdoorsy state, it's thrilling to see so many bikes, riders and those engaged in some pretty gutsy outdoor pursuits.

    So, I'd do it over again if I could--with some more training. The four-day itinerary was arguably better suited for us. But, hey, we got through it and lived to tell a most excellent tale.

    ETA: DH just informed me that last Monday's and Tuesday's high temps set new records for the area. I'm not surprised. It makes me hot again just thinking about it.
    Last edited by indysteel; 04-30-2012 at 12:01 PM.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Posts
    9,312
    I just saw this post, missed it earler, it sounds like it was all incredible even if the temperatures were brutal.





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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Over the top
    Posts
    13,531
    Sounds like a good trip on balance. Do you have pictures to share?
    Trying to live every day as though it were my first

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Newport, RI
    Posts
    3,807
    I'd glad you made it through! That sounds like a tough ride.
    '02 Eddy Merckx Fuga, Selle An Atomica
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    Slacker on wheels.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    10,248
    That sounds really hard.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,132
    Quote Originally Posted by OakLeaf View Post
    Sounds like a good trip on balance. Do you have pictures to share?
    It was a good trip on balance. Honestly, if it just hadn't been so dang hot, I think it would have gone exponentially better. I still would have had to walk a lot of the climbs, but the ride, overall, wouldn't have felt so taxing. On two of the three afternoons, I got to points along the trail where I was just wrung out.

    As for pictures, I'll have to try to post some. DH encountered a glitch this week when he tried to update his Nikon software. Once he fixes that, I'll post a few. We encountered some big horn sheep and got some neat pics of them.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

 

 

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