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  1. #1
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    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.

    Scott
    "When the end of the world comes, I want to be in Cincinnati because it's always 20 years behind the times." Twain

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    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

  3. #3
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    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!
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by MellowCat View Post
    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.

    Scott
    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.

    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).
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

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  5. #5
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    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?

    Scott
    "When the end of the world comes, I want to be in Cincinnati because it's always 20 years behind the times." Twain

  6. #6
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    Just how long is this White Rim thing?
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeridesabike View Post
    Just how long is this White Rim thing?
    Almost exactly 100 miles.
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

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  8. #8
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    More detail than you probably want.

    Quote Originally Posted by MellowCat View Post
    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?

    Scott
    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.

    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.

    EDIT: foteaus











    Last edited by TomP; 12-07-2012 at 07:51 AM.
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

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  9. #9
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    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.

  10. #10
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    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.

  11. #11
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    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.
    I'm a mountain bike guide in South West Utah

  12. #12
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    Silentfoe,

    The night lap sounds very cool. I bet the view of the sky out there is amazing at night.

    Scott
    "When the end of the world comes, I want to be in Cincinnati because it's always 20 years behind the times." Twain

  13. #13
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    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.

  14. #14
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    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.

  15. #15
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    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.
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  16. #16
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    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.

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    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!).

  18. #18
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    Mellow cat what type of tire are you planning on using on the white rim?

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    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.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by E46_M3 View Post
    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:

    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)!
    Whining is not a strategy.

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    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.
    I'm a mountain bike guide in South West Utah

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    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.

  23. #23
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    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.
    I'm a mountain bike guide in South West Utah

  24. #24
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    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.

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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by E46_M3 View Post
    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 will be there this Friday 5/3/2013 also. Starting early from the bottom of Horse Thief Swithc backs. I will see you out there.

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    I've done it a bunch of times with and without sag. I think the best way to do it is to stash food, water and supplies at the start of hose thief road and then drive down to the bottom of Shafer's. Go CCW and start with a light back pack and climb Shafer's. You get the big climb out of the way while you are fresh, you don't have to start with a heavy pack, and most importantly, you FLY down horse thief road which is a lot of fun. So much better than the drudgery of going up the road, which as others have said is long, not interesting, and seems to go on forever when going clockwise.

  28. #28
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    I just rode the White Rim Trail for the first time yesterday.

    This was a total last minute trip. I called a buddy last Monday and he informed me that he was planning to ride it solo. I cleared some things on my scheduled and decided to join him. We hit up 18rd on Sunday and then drove into Moab late Sunday Night.

    We camped at the top of the horsethief / mineral bottom road. We started about 5:45am and rode it clockwise. The first 13 miles on the mineral bottom road were really pretty with the sun coming up. The entire ride was an amazing experience. My buddy and I finished in roughly 9 1/2 hours with about an hour for lunch breaks and mechanical issues. I rode my 29er hardtail, if I did it again I would be inclined to bring my full suspension. I used a 100 oz camel pack and three bottles. I had more than enough water by the time that I finished. The weather could not have been more perfect - mid 70s all day. The final climb out of horsethief was an interesting challenge after riding 98 miles.

    I am already trying to plan another trip back this fall to ride it again. I love the idea of riding it fast in a single day, but you do miss out on all the site seeing. I rode the Leadville 100 last year and I found this ride to be a similar challenge with obviously less altitude or climbing. The challenging part and the invigorating part was being 100% self supported.

    I loved it. I can't wait to do it again. I think the only thing that I would change would be not driving back to Denver after finishing the ride. I was pretty tired doing the White Rim in a day and then hopping my truck and driving 5 1/2 hours home!

  29. #29
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    Re: White Rim in a Day, any advice?

    You rode right past us. First time I've done it in longer than a single day. We did it in 3, Cw, starting on Sunday morning. Loved it. Much more relaxing and yes, the weather was spectacular.
    I'm a mountain bike guide in South West Utah

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    That is awesome. I recall passing 5 groups in total. Two groups were camped really close to each other about 15/20 miles into the ride after Shafers. The next group was at top a ridge on Murphy's Hogback. The next group was all of their bikes and exploring a canyon after the hogback. The last group was riding and seemed a little dis-jointed, they were right before the Potato Bottom area.

    I think the three day trip would be cool in regards to really appreciating the area for what it is. I would have liked to have stopped more and enjoyed the views. However, I really liked the idea of grinding out 100 miles in on day.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by drmurrow View Post
    ...I think the three day trip would be cool in regards to really appreciating the area for what it is. I would have liked to have stopped more and enjoyed the views. However, I really liked the idea of grinding out 100 miles in on day.
    I started planning, permitting, and supporting white rim trips with friends back about 20 years ago. First couple were 1-nighters, then several 2-nighters, one time a 3-night just to really drink it in and check out all the side trips. For years I openly criticized people who did it in a day because I felt it was a waste not to linger and really enjoy it, and explore. But then I did it in a day by myself about 6 years ago, and really enjoyed it. Have done WRIAD three more times since then. Love it. But I also just booked permits for a 2 night trip for Halloween and Día de los Inocentes (Nov 1). Going to take my girlfriend and her lady pals. Me and 6-7 ladies; I like those odds.

    But yeah, if you've never stayed out there, it's really a treat. I may book a 2 nighter for next spring and do it bikepack style. Probably need to haul a BOB to have enough water for me and the girl...
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

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  32. #32
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    Re: White Rim in a Day, any advice?

    We were one of the two groups camped near each other at the Gooseberry camp site. It is nice to sleep in, eat a good breakfast and roll out around 9am. We rode a leisurely pace for about 4-6 hours and got to camp in time to set up, clean up and have a few beers before a big dinner and good conversation before we got too tired. Doing that 3x was awesome. My next time there we're doing it in one night on June 21st.
    I'm a mountain bike guide in South West Utah

  33. #33
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    Just finished our White Rim in One Night last night. Mid 70s temps average, perigee moon (bright, full and close). We hardly even used our lights. Amazing.
    I'm a mountain bike guide in South West Utah

  34. #34
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    two wheelsets (or two bikes) for WRIAD?

    Getting ready for the loop in early Sept, reading up, thanks for all the great advice, what a great forum this is.

    For those who like to start at the bottom of mineral switchbacks, and go clockwise, perhaps with water stashed at top of shafer, a quick question: If I will stash water at the top of shafer, why not also a second wheelset with dramatically different tires? 42c cyclocross tires for the boring 30 miles climbing up mineral and the dirt and paved road into the park, then 2.2 inch mtb tires for the rest of the loop, down in the canyon, murphy/hardcrabble, etc.

    Overkill, perhaps, but no more driving, the potential benefit all depends on how rough mineral is and whether the potentially faster ride would be significant early in the day. Thanks for your thoughts on this hair-brained idea, which occured to me while riding knobbies on smooth roads today. My buddy on cyclocross kept leaving me in the dust and it is not usually so.

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    I think the extra wheels would be overkill, but a fast xc tire like a conti race king 2.2 has a really low rolling resistance but plenty of bite for that route.

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    Doing the White Rim in a Day solo on Sept. 6 or 7 if anyone is interested in joining me. I plan to start about 5am in the dark at the bottom of Horse Thief and ride clockwise. Stash water near the ranger station at the top of Schaffer.

  37. #37
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    many thanks and some observations from a newbie

    My one day white rim ride was on Sept 7, 2013, solo, unsupported, and I owe it all to the MTBR team. I am deeply indebted to everybody who wrote here, and elsewhere on MTBR, about how they have done this great ride. Thank you. To close the loop I'd like to report my findings, things that maybe would have helped me even more during the preparation stage.

    I'm 46 and hardly an endurance specialist. A good week includes 2-3 recreational rides, maybe 2 hours and ~2000 feet each. The commute adds ~3 hours/week. To get ready, I added longer rides on four weekends: Two at ~40 miles, two at ~60 miles, building up to 6000 feet of climbing to match the rim ride.

    OK, so here are my observations...

    1. Here on MTBR, many recommend clockwise, and a few advised to start from a campsite down by the green river with a water cache at the top of Shafer. This was the advice I followed, seemed perfect for a first timer. The cache is quick and its placement offers a great "go/no-go” point in case you are not feeling so good after 2K of climbing. If you are desperate for water towards the end, the green river is a last resort.

    2. Obsessive attention to hydration and nutrition may help make up for lack of endurance experience. Sept 7 was my only chance but it was terribly hot, so I had 100oz of water leaving from the green river, and then 200oz stashed at the top of shafer. I consumed it all, along with 8 gu packets, 5 energy bars, and 3 PB&J sandwiches. Felt great at the end even in 110 degree heat.

    3. A frame back is a great way to get water weight off of your back, Revelate Designs makes great models for hardtail and full suspension alike. Check out the dimensions of their offerings for Salsa and Surly - they match many hardtails. At Shafer top I picked up two 100oz camelback bladders, one on my back and one in the frame pack with the food.

    4. There is much discussion about the right kind of bike. I went fully rigid (see picture), loved it and might choose this next time, but I did conclude that front suspension would be faster...There is enough bumpy slickrock that a bit of suspension lets you keep more of your momentum. This is a highly personal choice.

    5. My wife and I discussed how this might be more than a bit irresponsible for a father with two kids, no support, no cell coverage, etc. I did a lot of research. Sat phones are expensive and still pretty heavy and require a costly plan. You can rent them but that is not cheap either. There are newer, lighter text messaging devices that go through the satellites, but if you study the reviews carefully, you find that folks are spending a lot of time getting them to work properly. And the plans are not cheap for these either. Instead, I purchased an ACR GPS beacon, at only 4.5 oz. 30 minutes to register and that was it, no fidgeting with firmware downloads, etc., no plan to buy. You pull the trigger as a last resort.

    6. There is an optional short cut on the north side of the route, at least one post here on MTBR referred to it. If you study Google Earth you will see a dirt road that connects mineral road to the paved road back into the park, shortening the loop by about 5 miles. This shortcut is a mixed bag, sandy with some ledges that you have to climb in the clockwise direction. It likely saves a bit of time, but may cost a bit more energy, than the full route. Also, taking this shortcut drops the total distance a touch below 100 miles, so if having a full century is a big deal for you...
    White Rim in a Day, any advice?-hogback-bike-mtbr.jpg
    Again, thanks to all of you for the guidance and support, what a great community.

  38. #38
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    It's almost time again for our White Rim in One Night event. June 13th. Full moon. Start at 7pm and over whenever. Fully supported. Check out the links in my signature line for details or you can PM me.
    I'm a mountain bike guide in South West Utah

  39. #39
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    Oh man what a thread revival! Now I have a new obsession!!
    Grit, spit, and a w**** lot of duct tape!

  40. #40
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    Bumping this.

    Pretty good sized group going so far.

    Additional details concerning the support. One truck will head off at 7 pm going clockwise. It will make a provisions drop at 20 miles and 40 miles. These will include water, food, spares and anything each person would like to add in. The truck will then continue on until it meets the other truck at the back of the group going the other direction (giving out additional supplies to riders it passes).

    The second truck will start with the group but will move ahead about 25 miles. This way no one will have to start with lights. As riders pass this truck, they can install lights, get additional water/food and then continue on as they see fit. As the last rider passes, this truck will take up a following position.

    Once both trucks are together, they will each follow along behind the last riders.

    Keep in mind that even though you will have lights, unless it is a very overcast night, you will most likely not need them. Last year we only used them in technical sections (rare) or when trying to go down hill fast. Each of us was able to make the enitre trip on one set of batteries.

    We are trying to make this ride as self paced friendly as possible. If you feel like riding in a truck for any duration of time, feel free. You can hop back out whenever you want.
    I'm a mountain bike guide in South West Utah

  41. #41
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    Bumping this just because it helped me decide my weekend plans!

    Anyone have any extra tips or a good reason not to ride the loop in December?

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Singletrackd View Post
    Bumping this just because it helped me decide my weekend plans!

    Anyone have any extra tips or a good reason not to ride the loop in December?
    Best reason to not ride it in December, ~10 hours of daylight. Cold mornings make early start tougher, cold nights mean if you don't finish when you'd hoped, cold. And expect to see exactly nobody down there.

    I did it solo in late November one year (2009?). It was rewarding, but kind of spooky. I carried a HUGE pack, since I felt like it would be irresponsible to go down there without enough clothing to survive a night if needed. No cell service, nobody else down there...

    You may not be aware of the potential for wintery-ness. Yes, it is close to Moab which tends to be warmer, but Moab is at 4,000 feet elevation. The Rim is higher, the Island in the Sky is a little over 6K. When the sun goes down it gets nice and cold. When I did it that year I started at ~5 AM from the bottom of Mineral Bottom (extra redundancy). I finished before sunset, but it was getting co-o-o-o-ld.

    Good news is your water consumption will be lower (doesn't mean you don't need to drink!). But you need to bring extra clothing, lights, extra food, and a brain in your head. I'd highly recommend going with a partner, especially if you haven't done it before (do as I say, not as I do).

    Good luck!
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

    "I like my wimmen like I like my beer--cold and bitter!"

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    Best reason to not ride it in December, ~10 hours of daylight. Cold mornings make early start tougher, cold nights mean if you don't finish when you'd hoped, cold. And expect to see exactly nobody down there.

    I did it solo in late November one year (2009?). It was rewarding, but kind of spooky. I carried a HUGE pack, since I felt like it would be irresponsible to go down there without enough clothing to survive a night if needed. No cell service, nobody else down there...

    You may not be aware of the potential for wintery-ness. Yes, it is close to Moab which tends to be warmer, but Moab is at 4,000 feet elevation. The Rim is higher, the Island in the Sky is a little over 6K. When the sun goes down it gets nice and cold. When I did it that year I started at ~5 AM from the bottom of Mineral Bottom (extra redundancy). I finished before sunset, but it was getting co-o-o-o-ld.

    Good news is your water consumption will be lower (doesn't mean you don't need to drink!). But you need to bring extra clothing, lights, extra food, and a brain in your head. I'd highly recommend going with a partner, especially if you haven't done it before (do as I say, not as I do).

    Good luck!
    This is great advice! I have done WRIAD twice (both times in April). I would love to do it as a December ride. These tips are valuable. Thanks.

  44. #44
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    Yea I didn't think about the temperature difference over at island in the sky, I have been looking at moab weather...as of right now the trip depends on what happens on Friday/Saturday but I'll definitely keep that in mind when Checking the weather. As for night time and cold I have recently dialed in my cold weather riding gear and also have been playing around with night riding. So I was thinking of around a 4am start time to make it more interesting.

    But my big question now, is there parking at the bottom of the horsetheif switchbacks(on Google maps it sure looks like maybe a spot right at the intersection below the switchbacks)or is there just parking at the top of the switchbacks?

    I am going to do this on a single speed and would hate to end with a climb up horsetheif switchbacks

  45. #45
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    There is not a designated parking area at the intersection (or nearby) at the bottom of the Horse thief switchbacks.
    I'm a mountain bike guide in South West Utah

  46. #46
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    damn so only way around ending the day with a climb is getting a backcountry permit and camping down at Labyrinth Campground or something like that, maybe I should just spend the 30$ and get a campground down there

    thanks btw that would have been nagging me the whole way and I would have driven down horse thief at 3am looking for a parking spot

    guess I'm starting my ride at the top of the switchbacks......ugh that's going to suck to ride up at the end of the day

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Singletrackd View Post
    damn so only way around ending the day with a climb is getting a backcountry permit and camping down at Labyrinth Campground or something like that, maybe I should just spend the 30$ and get a campground down there
    No, there is another way. My preferred way is to park at (near) the Mineral Bottom boat ramp (Mineral Bottom Road all the way down the switchbacks to the Green River.) It isn't in the Park there. You can just camp at large. The park boundary is maybe 5 miles downstream from the boat ramp.

    I like clockwise for doing it in a day, start by climbing the horsethief switchbacks and up the boring-ass Mineral Bottom Road. Then go south on the paved road, into the park, down Shafer and on your way. I've stashed water right near where Mineral Bottom hits the pavement so I don't have to leave and climb that ~1000 feet with all the water I'll need.

    EDIT: Starting out in the dark climbing out of Horsethief Bottom and up Mineral Bottom Road is a decent plan because there's really nothing to look at on Mineral Bottom anyway. Might as well be dark.

    map image:

    The little circle is an official BLM river access boat ramp. I think there might even be a vault toilet. Road is good enough for big vans hauling huge raft trailers to get there. The little square is where I camp down there. There's a road that goes up into that canyon. Good road, graded gravel. I have followed it a mile or so. The line is (I think) the National Park Boundary (could just be the Montezuma County line). The X is a spot on top of the Horsethief switchbacks where lots of people park and stage for the WRIAD. The climb at the end up Horsethief is MUCH less of a deal than Shafer. Maybe 25 minutes as opposed to an hour+



    White Rim in a Day, any advice?-shafferpano.jpg
    View from near top of Shafer to the east, November 2009
    Last edited by TomP; 12-08-2015 at 08:17 AM.
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

    "I like my wimmen like I like my beer--cold and bitter!"

  48. #48
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    Wow thanks for making that pretty damn crystal clear for me. I really appreciate it and you have cleared up the grey areas in my plan all in one post, that and you are saving me the 30$ reservation fee to go camping.... I definitely owe you a beer but instead I'll just post up pictures after the ride

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Singletrackd View Post
    ... I definitely owe you a beer but instead I'll just post up pictures after the ride
    I'm sure your pics will be great; but I'd rather have the beer
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

    "I like my wimmen like I like my beer--cold and bitter!"

  50. #50
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    thanks for bumping this thread...now that I'm in Flag this is looking like a worthy trip, maybe as a two day backpack to make it worth the drive...

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