White Rim -- 1st Time- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    White Rim -- 1st Time

    A short report on the past weekend's WR experience. Drove down Friday night and slept in the parking lot of the Island in the Sky visitor center (sshhh! Don't tell the rangers.). The night sky was absolutely incredible. More stars than I ever remember seeing. Then, around 2am the moon lit up the sky like crazy. It was amazingly bright.

    At 5:30 am we awoke and prepared to head out. Our plan was to leave our vehicles in the parking lot and ride in a counter clockwise direction. We finally began rolling at 7am (a little later than we would've liked but we were waiting for some more riders).

    After about 20 miles, one of our group became hypothermic. So we stopped and built a fire (outside of park boundaries) to warm him up again. Once warm, we began riding again. Soon we dropped down the Horsethief Trail, enjoying our first view of the Green River. The forecast called for 30% chance snow/rain throughout Saturday. However, we were favored with wonderfully blue skies all day long with an occassional wisp of clouds.

    The track along the Green was soft and had some drag to it. But the legs were fresh (mostly) and spirits high. From the bottom of Horsethief it was mainly flat, gentle up and downs as we motored along side the Green. Hardscrabble Hill came quickly. Everyone cruised up (except myself. My legs began to feel unwell at around mile 28. I have been battling a sinus infection for 4 weeks and admittedly had not trained as I should have.). I walked up.

    At the top of Hardscrabble we looked out over the view. What a gorgeous place! We zipped down the backside and continued to cruise (although my legs were feeling increasingly worse). At some point between Hardscrabble and Murphy's we lost two of our party. Some great guys from CO that had joined our group via the internet. They had assumed the rest of us were right behind them, but we weren't. Oh well.

    The miles stretched out as we headed toward Murphy's. We passed through beautiful country as we pedaled along. The Hogback kicked up in front of us. By now, two of us were hurting. The other three (they had spent the day before doing Porcupine without a shuttle. As they passed by Slickrock, they thought it might be fun, so they rode it too.) powered up the steep incline and enjoyed lunch at the top while we pushed our bikes up the hill. My legs were feeling somewhat better, but had no climbing power in them anymore.

    At the top, I paused to grab a power bar and kept pedaling while the others basked in the cold wind. I was beginning to get nervous. I didn't think we'd be out by dark. But I wasn't as concerned about the dark as I was about the cold. My fear was that the mercury would plummet as soon as the shadows grew long. We all began to pick up the pace a bit (our three power guys just cruised along taking photos while we struggled to keep up). And spirits were still high despite our fatigue. The views were fantastic. Redrock and deep blue sky surrounded us. We just soaked it in as we pushed forward.

    The shadows began to lengthen, the pace picked up and the trail kept going and going and going and going and going and going. Each time we thought Shafer was coming as we rounded a bend and went toward the cliffs, we would loop back out again for another trip around another corner. As we sought for the Shafer trail, the sunlight slowly diminished and darkness surrounded us. Luckily, we had one headlamp and one commuter light among the five of us. Our pace slowed significantly as we picked our way along and finally began our long walk up the Shafer Trail (which was icy in spots and a bit scary).

    Finally, around 9:20 pm we rolled up to our vehicles. The last 2-3 miles had been lit up with the headlights of the local sheriff who the CO guys had called to report us. The sheriffs were very friendly and we appreciated their headlights and if we had been the CO guys we probably would have called as well. The bummer was that they dinged us for sleeping in the parking lot.

    All in all a great trip. Several errors made and some lessons learned. Walking up the Shafer Trail was one of the most difficult deals I have made with myself. Arriving in the parking lot and knowing I had done the White Rim entirely on my own power (with the moral support of a great bunch of riders/people) was exceptional.

    Thanks to everyone else out there who posts their experiences (which I read and enjoy).

  2. #2
    Brass Nipples!
    Reputation: Bob the Wheelbuilder's Avatar
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    Great story, I'm glad everyone made it out OK. You should post this in Passion if you haven't.

    If anyone else is thinking of doing this, you could consider driving to the bottom of the Schafer switchbacks and riding them at the very start when you're fresh. Doing them at the end of the ride is brutal.
    {Principal Skinner} Hmm. Whoever did this is in very deep trouble.
    {Martin} And a sloppy speller too. The preferred spelling of 'wiener' is w - i - e - n - e - r, although 'e - i' is an acceptable ethnic variant.

  3. #3
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    Yeah, we thought about that. And really liked the idea. But were concerned with the weather forecast and the possibility of having our vehicles stuck at the bottom of Shafer. Next time we do it, doing Shafer first thing in the day will be a top contender for the strategy.

  4. #4

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    Great write up buddy! I really enjoyed riding with you and the boys. My mantra going up Shafer was "dumbass, dumbass, dumbass." I was fueled by my self-deprication. I knew I wanted my HID in the pack but left it in the car anyway, I guess the Petzl Tika I had was better than nothing but barely.

    Looking forward to more epics with you this year!

  5. #5
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    Good job! Photos to go with the Story

    http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/tommyw...r=1d2f&.src=ph

    The first half are Porc Rim and Slick Rock on Friday. I wish I would've taken some of us in the dark going up Shafer's...

  6. #6
    Time to go farther
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    Wow glad to read the story. I had heard some from Scott. (I am one of the CO guys).

    I have a very long writeup in progress. The short version is the same as everyone else. I had a wonderful time and I learned from our mistakes on what to do different next time.

    You guys have no idea how many times we looked back from Shafer climb (among other places) as it was getting dark, just hoping to see you out there somewhere. We had no lights so we kept going. When we got back to town (first cell phone range) the girls had already called the ranger to check on us. When I talked to the ranger I let him know you were out there and we were worried about the cold and lack of light but otherwise knew you were prepared and capable of finishing assuming all was well.

    Anyway I will post my pictures and story sometime soon. Thanks again for everything, it was a wonderful ride with amazing scenery.
    On-One Lurcher SS
    Speedway Cycles Fatback Ti SS
    1984 Trek 560
    http://slipangles.blogspot.com/ - It's supposed to be fun

  7. #7
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    All's well that ends well, right?

    Paco, I too beat myself for not bringing the light set that was sitting peacefully in my car as I strained my rods in the dark.

    Pivvay, I look forward to reading your account. If I were you I would've called in the rangers too. Tom and Scott were great, they kept Trevor company. I just put my head down and kept pedaling, trying to keep Chad in sight. We all pulled each other along.

    I think Tom, Scott and Chad could've finished many hours ahead of Trevor and I if they had wanted. I am grateful to them for being patient and keeping us in the game. Trevor and I have passed though many one night stands and have a long mountaineering history. This was his first epic bike ride (what a start!) and I was impressed with his tenacity.

    Keep your browsers posted for the ride I'm dreaming up for later this summer. It will be good.

  8. #8
    IMBA Canada
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    hmmm.... Ok... Congratulations!

    Am i totally off but according to this website:

    http://www.gjmountainbiking.com/other/wr.html

    White Rim is 80miles long???? WoW! Rides here (Qc and VT) are normally 15-20miles of technical stuff... 80miles... that's a road ride!!!! Wow! Now this is epic riding!

    I'll be getting more info on that trail! Anyone can post a link?

  9. #9
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    BigJay,

    The information you see is most likely accurate. Many people do the WR as a point to point and cut out the ~23 miles of improved dirt road and paved road that link the two points. Many also do the WR as a guided, multi-day, vehicle supported trip, not as a one day, self-supported epic.

    For some more great photos, check out mikesee's posting on the 29er board under "winter solstice ride".

    For a detailed trail desciption, check out utahmountainbiking.com. It will give you some good photos as well. Some good guidebooks are Mountain Bike America's Moab by Lee Bridger or Mountain Biking Utah by Gregg Bromka.

    WR is not a technical trail. The difficulty comes in the length and the remote setting. Go prepared. There is no single track or even double track, just long miles of dirt road. And some of the most beautiful country you will ever see!

    Hope that helps!

  10. #10
    Time to go farther
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    The winter solstice ride thread is great. Without it I don't know if I would have even done this ride. My report is complete. I'm editing the 3700 word story now and will post it in Passion shortly. I will post the link in here when I do.

    For those who want to do White Rim, be prepared and then go do it. It was an amazing day and I will be back. It was defintely one of the highlights of my life.
    On-One Lurcher SS
    Speedway Cycles Fatback Ti SS
    1984 Trek 560
    http://slipangles.blogspot.com/ - It's supposed to be fun

  11. #11
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    ride was great...poop stories were better

    Great write up Ed. What a fun trip. I guess I should apologize to you and Trev though....after I told my wife about the big Porc/Slick loop and the WR ride I went straight into the poop stories that we shared along the WR route. I'm laughing as I type this just thinking about those stories....$400, pebbles, bulges. You guys are great.

    I guess I'll have to post some pictures sometime too.

  12. #12
    Time to go farther
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    Here goes...

    White Rim Trail Story

    Here goes guys. Be gentle, I worked hard on it.
    On-One Lurcher SS
    Speedway Cycles Fatback Ti SS
    1984 Trek 560
    http://slipangles.blogspot.com/ - It's supposed to be fun

  13. #13
    meh....
    Reputation: Monte's Avatar
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    Awesome job....

    Awesome you guys! A friend and I did the WR in 2 days a couple years ago, camping at Murphy's. We were so close to going for it in a day, but chickened out and packed overnight gear. Your reports are great, most of the places I remember. I want to do it in a day even more now.

    Monte

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