White Rim in a Day, any advice?
Ok, so its not a race, but I wasn't sure where else to ask this question, thought this group would have the best advice!
I'm slowly working my mileage up, very interested in doing the WRIAD this coming spring. Just completed a 62 mile race with 4000' of climbing(5.25hours of pedal time). Finished well, enjoyed the ride a lot and felt like I had more left in the tank. Back in October I rode a 43 mile ride with ease. I know the White Rim is much tougher than both of these rides, so I'm looking for any training advice you might have, and also, how do I carry enough water!
Thanks in advance for any advice you can share.
I don't know if the White Rim would be tougher than your 64mile race but it should be hotter/drier. Just start early before it starts to warm up (dark/dusk) on the boring dirt road section and think about carrying 2 x 100oz camelback bladders. You'll empty one of those before you need to worry about the extra weight.
See if you can get someone to resupply you with water somewhere between 50-70miles. If you could time it so you meet up with one of the 3-4 day tour companies that operate out of Moab maybe they'll help out for a small fee. Spending the extra on a hotel room after the ride is worth it but you can always just pay for a shower at one of the bike shops in town (Poison Spider?) and then head to Milt's for a Burger/Shake
Wear a white shirt and helmet! Seriously, if it's a scorcher, that will probably save you nearly a quart of sweating over the entire day, compared to dark colors.
I remember years ago reading an article about two guys who did it in a day on a tandem. Sounded crazy but pretty fun, too. From what I recall, they said the toughest part was a big climb towards the end (Schaefer Road?), so maybe keep that in mind for your "energy budget".
Have fun, and take a Spot along!
Depending on what part of the spring you do this, heat may or may not be a factor. I was there one year in late March and it snowed off and on the whole time out there.
Originally Posted by MellowCat
Depending on expected temps, 200-300 oz is what you'll need. So a fairly large pack that can carry two full 100 oz/3 liter bladders, a full bottle and perhaps a canteen or nalgene to give you a liter or so more. Now, if it's going to be truly hot, like above the 90s, it can be hard to even estimate how much you need. So my 200-300 oz estimate is based on reasonable temps. If your spring ride is late May or early June, you could have one of those days where you can hardly have enough.
Last time I did it, I stashed a gallon about 12 miles into the ride. I did lots of hydrating as I came up to my water cache, filled everything to the top, and took a last long drink from the gallon before I rolled.
I don't believe in embarking on a big point-of-no-return ride like this with a water or food strategy that involves finding somebody out there who you can give you or sell you what you need. Personal bias. But if you feel that you do need that, call Western Spirit or one of the other tour operators, find out what trips they will have out there and formally arrange to get some resources from them.
Your basic strategy (clockwise or counter, start time, etc.) is a factor too. I started last time about 90 minutes before sunrise. Started out with the long tedious climb up the Mineral Bottom Road from the bench. It wasn't a very hot day anyway, but it wasn't even warm until I was 25 miles into the thing.
Pace. Keep moving, but don't waste the experience by not stopping to gawk at least occasionally.
Have fun. Be prepared. Bring lights even if you don't intend to start in the dark. Bring enough clothes that you could spend the night out there given the forecasted temps (don't go on Moab forecast, it's enough higher than town that you could subtract 10F from Moab's forecasted overnight low).
Thanks everyone for the responses!
I was figuring a lot of water, 200-300oz is actually more than I thought, but I'm sure its very key to stay hydrated properly. Where did you stash the water at? Just behind some rocks/plants near one of the bathrooms? I have 2 100oz bladders, and 2 cages on the bike. I'm guessing if I can put the extra 100oz full bladder on the bike and not my back I would be alot more comfortable for the 1st 1/2 of the ride.
Do you recommend clockwise or counter clockwise for a first timer?
I am planning on starting 1.5 hours or so before sunrise. I'll probably use my lumina 500 on the bar and take a small headlamp in the pack just in case.
Seems like sometime in April is ideal for good weather. I've been in Moab in April before and had nearly perfect weather. Of course I've been in Moab the first week of June before and had the temps swing from a high of 109 one day, to 79 2 days later so who knows.
I'd like to hold a 12-13mph avg pace so I can complete the ride in 10-11 hours and still have some time to take in a few short stops, does that seem reasonable?
Finally, one more question! I'll be riding a 29'er hardtail. What tires are ideal? I'm thinking RaceKings have plenty of tread for a ride like this, but are likely too fragile. Maybe Ignitors?
Just how long is this White Rim thing?
Almost exactly 100 miles.
Originally Posted by mikeridesabike
More detail than you probably want.
I like clockwise. I've done it in a day 3 times and have put together permitted overnights and invited people to come along 7 or 8 times (I think?). I did that the first time in '94 or '95. I've circled both directions when supported by 4wd with 1, 2, and 3 overnights.
Originally Posted by MellowCat
All the one day trips I've done were clockwise.
There are two big elevation changes from the Island in the Sky, which is where the paved road goes past the ranger station. One is Shaefer Trail off to the south to the Colorado River Side, the other is Horsethief/Mineral Bottom off the other side down to the Green River.
Where you start and what direction you go will determine how the day ends for you. Ending it with a climb up Shaefer Trail is the toughest choice. It's a big steep elevation change. Ending with a climb up the Mineral Bottom Road back to the highway is the second toughest, but in ways it's worse than the Shaefer alternative because the road is a long, gradual, desolate climb that kind of sucks the life out of you. The climb up the Horsethief Switchbacks is not bad--classic steep desert climb. But Mineral Bottom Road is an endless slog with nothing to look at.
First time I did it in a day I parked and started where Mineral Bottom Road meets the highway and rode up the paved highway, entered the park, and descended Shaefer. That made for a grim end with that slog up Mineral Bottom Road. Second time I did it, I camped all the way down in Mineral Bottom near the Green River. I started before it got light and climbed up the Horsethief switchbacks and Mineral Bottom Road in the dark. That was pretty sweet because I finished with a nice flat approach to my camp. Which was good because it was this time of year and my day was short. I started and finished in the dark that time.
Last time, couple months ago, camped at the top of the Horsethief Switchbacks and started before sunrise by climbing the Mineral Bottom Road. Water was stashed in a small culvert that passed under the Mineral Bottom Road a couple hundred yards from the intersection with the highway.
I think three bladders is probably a good dose of overkill if you're going to do it in April, unless it's forecasted to be in the 90s which is unlikely. In early October, it was mid-70s. I brought two full 100 oz bladders, a full bottle in my bottle cage, and two red bulls. When I finished I had probably 16 oz left in one bladder and one red bull. It was 10 hours rolling time, about 11.5 total elapsed time:
Mountain Bike Ride Profile | White Rim in a Day near Moab | Times and Records | Strava
A hardtail would be fine, but my friend rode a fully rigid Fargo and he was less than happy with that bike choice. A fork really helps. I likes me full suspension bikes for it. Tires don't need to be very burly. I didn't ride tires with much knob and they were fine. But some volume is good. There is a fair amount of beach sand.
When I did it a couple years back it was in the fall with temps around 70 and I went through 300 ounces of water and could have used more. As far as time/pace I would expect to be out for 12 hours....if you finish faster then great, but much of this depends on the conditions out there.
If there hasn't been much moisture you might deal with a lot of sand....things tend to be rolled in more in the fall with cooler temps at night helping out. Last year was so dry in Moab I heard the White Rim was a sand pit all of the spring season.
I like clockwise from Mineral Bottom. Get the big climb out of the way in the cool/dark hours.
Last time I did it had the hydration worked out just right - one 100oz bladder and had 2 24oz bottles in the cages and 3 in my pack all pre-mixed.
I did it last year in early March. We went counter clockwise starting from the road at the top of horsethief bench. We had a sag truck leave about an hour before us and it was carrying all of our extra food and water for us. Made for good motivation trying to catch it. The descent down the road this direction was easy to navigate in the early morning light. The sand at the bottom was all rideable at that time of year. Going CCW you get all of the big climbs completed by the 50 mile mark. This of course excludes the last climb up Shafers. The downside of how we did it? We eventually caught and far out ran our sag truck. Which meant I effectively ran out of water with 10+ miles to go. The climb out of Shafers was a b!tch as well. It also had a ton of snow and was closed to our truck which had to cut out and go through Potash. Some of the slower people in our group finished in the dark. I'd still go CCW if I do it again.
We are planning a White Rim in one night this next summer. Leaving at about 5pm and continuing until finished. Should be pretty epic.
The night lap sounds very cool. I bet the view of the sky out there is amazing at night.
I did it, well most of it see below, a couple years ago in April in near perfect mid-70 degree weather, albeit not a cloud to shade during the day. I went with one 100 oz full bladder and 7 bottles, about 240 oz total, but it still wasn't enough for me. Although, doing Porcupine as a loop the day before probably had me a bit dehydrated. I did it clockwise from the ranger station and learned a couple things. But mainly, next time I'd drop a bunch of water where the dirt road comes back onto pavement going clockwise, maybe even my camelback, and drive out cc to the top of the big climb out at the lot there. I'd ride that first 20 miles in the dark, it's a boring flat road and not much worth seeing, all you would need is a couple bottles and could cover the ground fairly fast. I think that this setup would be the best way to stash some water on course without having to use someone else or drive out and back to drop it off.
I ran low on water and rationed so much I got dehydrated and was just hating life on that last dirt road no water left riding 4 mph, occasionally stopping to dry heave, and I took some water and a ride 5 miles to the main road from a couple rafters. I was a little worried about getting stranded on that road without anyone else on that back road. It still bums me I only rode 98 miles instead of the full 103, but it's only a ride.
Also, if someone of the trail offers you water, take it.
Some good advice here. I have done it 8-10 times (in a day), never w/ a sag. I did it in the early 90's when I had a 70oz camelbak and two or three large water bottles. Really stoopid. The last few times I have done it w/ 2 x 100oz bladders and two large bottles. I like April and it's a good idea to have a flexible schedule in case the weather looks like ****. I have started at different points and gone both directions and our favorite is starting from a campsite at the top of the switchbacks at Mineral Bottoms. As many have mentioned we started in the dark riding up the boring false flat going clockwise. Take a light as an emergency for finishing in the dark. Don't plan on bumming water. Calories, although not as important as hydration, is very important. Probably the most important is your riding partner(s). They need to be as ready as you so they aren't a liability and they need to realize it's not a race. I like riding in small groups. It seems that as the number increases, so do the issues. Another thing I noticed last time. My higher volume 29er tires floated the sand better than my wife's 26ers. It's not technical but I had my longest day out there when a buddy fell and tweaked his wrist. He couldn't ride any rough downhill after that. Very long day. Time is relative to ability but I have done it from 9hrs - 12hrs total time. YMMV.
Damn, its been 6 years already since I did mine. It was late May of 2006. I got lucky and had pretty cool temps, for that time of year, I think maybe it got up to upper 80's. It was warm but not too uncomfortable when I was on the bike and air was flowing over me. I counted 5 bottles on my bike when I left, plus 2 100 oz bladders, for a total of 340 oz of water. I ran out 1/3rd of the way up the last climb. I drink more than most people, but don't under-estimate how much water you'll need.
I remember moving faster when on the bike then expected due to the hard surface, like 15mph maybe, but I took a lot of down time to enjoy the scenery. I started about 30 minutes after dawn and finished about 45 minutes before sundown traveling in a clockwise direction. So about 15 hours on the trail. I think that direction was great, but that final climb was one of the hardest I had ever done.
I rode it on Hutchinson Python tires, and really, they were overkill, the fastest rolling tires you have would be the best choice. For 29'er I would go with The Crow or even semi-slicks.
I'm pretty sure that was the best all-day ride I have ever done. Its up there for sure.
You are getting great advice here, especially from Tom P. I did it from the Green River area clockwise beginning at 05:00 AM and that made the long ride back to the highway on the Mineral Bottom road almost magical with the sunrise hitting us about midway to the pavement. It was one of the best moments of the ride as that was when I realized that we were actually doing this WRIAD thing. I had 2 100oz bladders and one bottle premixed. We cached and refilled at the Ranger gate/entrance and the temps were into the mid 80s and windy. We held the 10mph average we trained for and took 2 hours of off bike time for a 12 hour loop. When I rode into camp I had one swallow left of water. Period. Well timed.
I would not have wanted to ride the Schafer (sp?) switchbacks at the end of that ride which is what happens if you go counter clockwise. The Mineral Bottom climb would have been better, but the 15 miles of dirt road after that would, as Tom P mentioned, be soul sucking.
I did it on a light and short travel FS 29er and that was IMO the perfect rig. You don't need an aggressive tire, but volume is good. I ran XKings 2.2 F/Race Kings 2.2 R in the Protection sidewall tubeless and that was quite good. Fast enough, tough enough, big enough.
Bloggage from the trip.
I've ridden it a few times. The last time I tried something different: White Rim from Moab back to Moab.
Turned out to be 145 miles, but really not that much harder. But it was also the first WRIAD I did solo at my own speed, meaning less stops but slightly slower speed. I started at midnight and finished before dinner the next day. Took a nap around sunrise.
I did it clockwise: From town on pavement out to the potash mine, up the dirt to the White Rim road then the White Rim proper and up the Mineral switchbacks. Once back on pavement I just rolled down 313 to town (25 miles downhill to finish off!).
Mellow cat what type of tire are you planning on using on the white rim?
I am planning on riding WRIAD on May 3rd and will have the luxury of my buddy in his 4Runner starting about 4-5 hours after I start so I won't have to pack everything. I had previously felt like I could train by putting in 1 high intensity interval day during the week, one long day on the weekend and then a ~90 min recovery ride the day after. I've started with ~3hr road rides for my long day and plan to up the time every week or two and build up to around 6-7 hrs on the bike over the next 2.5 months. My schedule doesn't really allow for more than 3 rides/week. You guys think this is do-able? I read something recently indicating thatfor an endurance event like this, 4-5 days/week is more realistic with long days happening back to back every Sat & Sun. But there's just no way I'm going to be able to put in 3-6 hrs each day on the weekend. I would be to worthless to my wife/kids after that and since I live in Colorado it is totally possible that we'll get enough snow between now and then that I will have multiple weekends skiing instead of cycling between now and then.
Anyone see a problem with my plan? I'm unsure just how much riding I need to accomplish in order to be fit enough to complete this. Esp since it is going to happen about 1 month into the riding season when I don't have a summer full of miles under my belt yet. I think the longest ride I've ever done was 8.5 hrs (although it had more like 15,000' of climbing). I was waaaaay more fit than I am now and it sure felt brutal then. I'm on the fence of if this is even do-able for me. Some people make it sound like it's no big deal, but 10-12 hrs in the saddle sure sounds like a big deal to me.
I think you'll be fine. Four tips at this fitness level:
Originally Posted by E46_M3
1. Don't push too hard. Notice the scenery.
2. Don't set silly time goals for certain points of the ride, then toast yourself trying to attain them.
3. Stop occasionally to stretch, rest, etc., but limit your stops to 10 minutes or less.
4. Keep reminding yourself that you apparently have arguably the best BMW ever made waiting for you in the parking lot (M-Coupe possibly even better, if I could see past the windshield header)!
Re: White Rim in a Day, any advice?
Also keep in mind that if you are really planning to use a buddies truck for support and he is starting 4-5 hours behind you...chances are, you'll never see him and if you do, it'll be too late to help.
Woah, how long does it take to drive it? I'd better plan on getting him out of bed a little earlier than originally planned.
Originally Posted by Silentfoe
It's pretty simple math really. Just 'cause I'm bored...
If you average 8mph (pretty slow really), you'll make it 40 miles before he starts.
If he averages 15 mph, he'll make it 75 miles in 5 hours.
In that same time, you've gone 40 MORE miles, so now you're at 80 miles and he's still behind you.
So at about the 90ish mile mark, he'll catch up. Not really worth it.
If he's not going to be able to resupply you at about the half way mark, you may as well do it unsupported and go for the bragging rights.
White Rim in a Day, any advice?
I haven't ridden the White Rim but drove down the Shafer Trail to the rock formation called Monster Tower/Washer Woman to go rock climbing. It took 3 hours to go 20 miles in a 2wd pickup. Another time it took me 2.5 hours to go the same distance in a 4wd pickup. It is slow moving on that trail. Maybe your buddy is faster but probably not by much.
Yeah I hadn't given this piece of it much thought. But it makes sense. Guess I had better have him start shortly after I do. I figure I'll want him to catch me within 4 hrs of starting for the first resupply.