Riding Whole Enchilada Solo- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Riding Whole Enchilada Solo

    I'm pretty sure this is a stupid question but here goes:

    Is it a terrible idea to ride The Whole Enchilada in Moab solo?

    I'm moving across the country from Washington state to Virginia in October and will be driving along I-70 because I need to make a stop in Denver, CO and a stop in Dayton, OH, both of which are off of 70. I noticed Moab is conveniently located and I desperately want to ride that trail, but my g/f who's moving with me won't ride it with me. I'm trying to convince a buddy from Denver to meet me in Moab, but I don't think that will pan out.

    If that doesn't work out, I was hoping that the Whole Enchilada might be something that I can get my GF to shuttle me to the top (early in the morning) and then meet me at the bottom, at which point I'll join her for an afternoon ride. She usually has 6-10 miles in her when she rides and hates steep/technical riding. I think me just dropping 8000 vertical feet should keep me more than happy on some of the mellower trails that she'll enjoy in this mecca I keep hearing about.

    I just wanna make sure that TWE isn't so remote that I won't be able to get a phone call out if I hurt myself or break something on my bike.

    Thanks for any info!
    '16 Kona Honzo AL/DL

  2. #2
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    I think you'll be fine. I can't remember, but I think cell phone coverage is decent and there is some traffic on it, especially if you shuttle before the commercial shuttles run.

  3. #3
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    Technically you're never really riding TWE solo... There will be gobs of other people on the trail shuttling as well...If you get smashed, someone will eventually ride by to pick up your remains.

  4. #4
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    I wouldn't just assume that other people are going to be on the trail. I did that with the Black Canyon Trail, in Arizona, and then went for hours without seeing anyone when I accidentally ran out of water.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCTJ View Post
    I wouldn't just assume that other people are going to be on the trail. I did that with the Black Canyon Trail, in Arizona, and then went for hours without seeing anyone when I accidentally ran out of water.
    I understand what you're saying but trust me, there will be others on TWE in October. That's PRIME season for them and when we usually go. If the OP is concerned at all, just shuttle up with Poison Spider or Coyote Shuttle. Then you're guaranteed to have some company.
    Carpe Diem!!

  6. #6
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    You'll be fine. With all the signs now it would be hard to get lost. Earlier this month I had decent cell coverage all the way down. There's some climbing (~2000'), however, so don't expect to bang it out in less than 3 hours. 4 to 5 is more the norm.

  7. #7
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    Right on! Thanks everyone! And yeah, I was reading that the average time is over 5 hours and I'm sure I'll stop for photos. If I can get started shortly after sunrise, I should be good on time I would think.

  8. #8
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    Expect it to be cold and likely below freezing at 7am in October at the pass.

  9. #9
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    If you see any fewer than 100 people on the whole enchilada, I'd be shocked.
    "Donuts. Is there anything they can't do?"

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCTJ View Post
    I wouldn't just assume that other people are going to be on the trail. I did that with the Black Canyon Trail, in Arizona, and then went for hours without seeing anyone when I accidentally ran out of water.
    cool story.

  11. #11
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    I rode the enchilada solo my first time. The trail is really well marked and there are signs that say WE which mark the route. If you are paying attention you won't have a problem. You can also download trailforks, which is a handy app to use.

  12. #12
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    My first Enchilada was solo, as are most of my rides unless my pup is along. Not a big deal as long as you know what your limits are so you don't crash and break anything. Don't be

  13. #13
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    Cool! I think all of my concerns are laid to rest. I ride solo all the time in the WA forests up here in the northwest, so I'm comfortable with it.

    As far as planning on it being cold up high, lemme ask for some enlightenment on that. How quickly does the temperature tend to raise as you're riding down from Burro? I'm super hot-blooded and tend to switch to cold-weather clothing later than most people I know, especially when it comes to anything active. I'm thinking I'll ride in a lightweight windbreaker/rain jacket over top my dri-fit shirt and wear shorts since my legs don't really get cold. I'll be riding with my 12L pack, so if I should bring more layers, I'll have the room.
    '16 Kona Honzo AL/DL

  14. #14
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    I think finding a group is wise for that ride. It IS pretty remote, doing it first time you don't want to be alone.

    Also, it can easily be 30s at the top, and almost 90 at the bottom. You can't bring too much water.

  15. #15
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    I'll 2nd the water thing....I ran through the 140 oz that I had. Of course I was doing it up and down...could make a difference.

  16. #16
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    I'm only gonna do the down, haha. Otherwise I won't be able to make time for a ride with my gf. I've got my 3L bladder that I take with me. I typically drink like 4 Nalgene bottles per day, so when I ride, I don't drink that much at all. Maybe I'll throw a beer or two in the pack, just to be safe
    '16 Kona Honzo AL/DL

  17. #17
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    Riding Whole Enchilada Solo

    You'll be fine. Lots of folks on the trail and well marked. Just ride safe and know your limits and be prepared.

    The elevation drops pretty fast coming off Burro Pass, so even if it's cold up on Burro it'll be pretty nice by time you get to Warner Lake 4 miles and 2500' down the trail (assuming you're not caught in an early blizzard. Watch the forecast).

    Oh, and use the commercial shuttles. Your GF will thank you plus you'll automatically be with a group while you ride. I like Porcupine Shuttle.


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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by 29ger View Post
    I'll 2nd the water thing....I ran through the 140 oz that I had. Of course I was doing it up and down...could make a difference.
    Could.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    Oh, and use the commercial shuttles. Your GF will thank you plus you'll automatically be with a group while you ride. I like Porcupine Shuttle.
    +1 on the paid shuttle. Right now, the first one leaves town around 7 AM and again at 9:30 AM. The times may be later by the time you go. If you jump on the first one, you're guaranteed to at least have people from the second one behind you in case you have issues.

    Your GF could pick you up at the TH at the end and save you several miles of crappy road riding, or you can park there early and ride to where the shuttle picks you up.

    We just rode it Friday and saw less than 20 peeps on it. Pretty crazy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fuglio View Post
    You guys suck im all bummed now

  20. #20
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    I think the paid shuttle makes sense. Only downside I see to it is the possibility of not getting to the trailhead early enough to make it down to the bottom in time to do a little riding with the GF. I'm a pretty fast descender and a slightly above average climber. A quick google search says the average time is a little under 5 and a half hours, does that sound right?
    '16 Kona Honzo AL/DL

  21. #21
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    Took us about 6, and that was with me having mechanical and cramping issues, and my friend only having one full season under her belt. Under 5 is very doable.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fuglio View Post
    You guys suck im all bummed now

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by tylercall88 View Post
    I think the paid shuttle makes sense. Only downside I see to it is the possibility of not getting to the trailhead early enough to make it down to the bottom in time to do a little riding with the GF. I'm a pretty fast descender and a slightly above average climber. A quick google search says the average time is a little under 5 and a half hours, does that sound right?
    If you're by yourself and not stopping a bunch for photos etc, 3-4 hours is very doable without feeling too rushed if you're a strong descender (assuming no mechanicals).

    If you want to do another ride with your GF later, catch the first shuttle (8:30am?) and have her meet you at the end of the trail to save time. Even if it takes you 4-5 hours you'll still be finished by 1:30-2:00pm.
    I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth...
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  23. #23
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    They have a 7:30am shuttle. I think I have all the info I need to make this happen with the two of us not feeling left out of anything! Thanks for all the info, everyone!
    '16 Kona Honzo AL/DL

  24. #24
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    How late in October? There can be snow in the pass in October. If early October, it should be ok. Even if there is snow in the pass, you might be able to start from a little lower down, say Hazard County, and still have an epic ride.

    I've done it twice with 3 litres of water and ran out of water just before reaching the pavement at the end. I'm a light drinker when riding and it wasn't especially hot either time.

    It's not all downhill, as others already pointed out, and your body will take quite a pounding on the way down, so I hope your girlfriend has a very mellow ride planned for you afterwards. My friends and I didn't feel like doing much of anything afterwards except drinks & food at a pub and an afternoon nap. It's not just physically draining, but mentally as well. The exposure, the landscape, the temperature differential between the top and bottom, the descent through different climate zones... it's just all a lot to absorb. Any ride you do after that the same day will seem anti-climatic.

    Make sure you are self-sufficient tool-wise and first-aid-wise and your bike is tuned up and ready to go. There are few shortcuts out along access roads at key points if you need to bail, but if you have a mishap in between those points, it can be a very long walk out.

    Clothing-wise, you should be fine with your light windbreaker/rain jacket. Maybe bring along some arm and leg warmers depending on the weather forecast. If your ride turns out like mine, you'll probably strip all of that off by the time you hit Kokopelli or UPS.

    TWE is a truly epic ride. Hope you have a good time. Enjoy!

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