White Rim in a day has always been on the "bucket list" and this was the year I was confident enough in my fitness that I knew I could finish it without any support. Ken and Steve both had this on their lists as well so they joined me. Steve and I drove down Friday afternoon and set up camp at Mineral Bottom. The adventure part of the trip started early when I realized I forgot the regulator for my camp stove and we were forced to use the skills we've learned watching the Discovery Channel to cook our spaghetti and meatballs over an open fire. Ken rolled in around 11pm and we had a peaceful night under the stars. We woke up at around 7am and packed up all our stuff. We knew the road out of Canyonlands was going to be closed at 8pm for construction so we wanted to be able to get moving as soon as we finished the ride.
The ride was funny. The trail was harder than I thought but actually doing the ride was easier then I thought. For some reason I thought the White Rim road was just a fairly mellow rolling dirt road with spectacular scenery. The truth is that the road is really a jeep road. Not crazy rough like Porcupine or Amasa but rough enough I wouldn't want to drive it in anything that wasn't pretty off-road capable. We started out a pretty mellow pace and I kept falling a little behind as I gawked at the scenery. About 40 miles in I started getting in a bit of a funk. I wasn't tired but I was getting kinda tired of being on the bike and was thinking man this is going to take forever. After about mile 50 I knew I needed to mix things up a little bit so on a long, smooth, mellow climb I shifted into the 44-11 and put on some speed. Instantly I felt a million times better. I was getting some flow in the rough sections and felt like I was finally starting to make some progress. I stopped and waited a bit for Ken and Steve at the White Crack turn off. Ken was wondering if I had done some EPO and was threatening to report me to the Sandbag Potentate. I just told him the longer and the faster I rode the better I felt. From that point to Hardscrabble hill it was more of the same, I'd ride with them for a bit but then my butt would start to hurt and I would start sinking into a funk so I had to pick up the pace and blaze trail for awhile.
About 90 miles in when we reached the Green River I made my only bad decision of the entire ride. Up until that point I had been religious about consuming 20oz of water and 300 calories per hour. I knew Hardscabble hill was coming up so I slowed down on my nutrition and hydration so I could tackle it without a bunch of stuff slopping around in my stomach. At the top of the hill I had a bit of energy drink but by that time I was sick of it and it wasn't tasting that great. I made the decision to push through the last 10 miles without feeding and just wait and enjoy real food at the truck. Bad move. By this time all of my stored glycogen was gone and I was running on my fat burning and the carbs I was taking in. My fat burning engine couldn't keep up with demand and there were no carbs coming in so on that last section I finally started to run out of steam. The last five miles were not fun as all I could think about was the cold water at the car.
We finished the 103 miles in right around 8.5 hours of saddle time. I consumed around 170 oz of my personal endurance formula energy drink, two flasks (about 10-12 shots) of hammer gel, one small cookie and maybe 10 oz of pure water for around 3000 calories. Right on target other than the lapse of judgement over the last 10 miles.
We finished at a little after 7pm and knew we had to bust ass to get out before the road closed. We got out to the highway by 7:45 and started heading to town for dinner. At 7:50 we hit the road closed barrier. The wonderful people had shut down the road early. We moved on to our backup plan of taking Long Canyon down to Potash road and back to Moab. The park ranger had told Steve that Long Canyon was dirt road with a short sketchy section but not too bad. It's actually a hairy jeep road that required 4wd-low in a couple sections made even more fun by the fact that it was dark. We survived the canyon unscathed and headed to Moab to grub down on some Mexican. The original plan was to camp out near Sovereign trail that night but it was so late by the time we finished dinner we just grabbed a motel and crashed. Woke up on Sunday well recovered and did a quick loop on the Sovereign trail on the way out of town.
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