White Rim Road, 1 or 3 days?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    White Rim Road, 1 or 3 days?

    I've done a quick search on the subject and haven't found a lot of info, so forgive me if i've missed something.

    a friend and i are going to be in moab march 2011 for a week and one of the main objectives is to bike the white rim road. it's something i've wanted to do for years now and just haven't had the time while in moab to get it done. the original plan was to take 3 days to do the trip that way we'd be able to take our time and have plenty of time to stop and take things in, photos, etc.... this will be her first time in moab so i figured it might be nice to do a relaxed trip. anyway, i started looking into guided trips and sag vehicles and turns out it's a lot more expensive than what i was thinking it would be. after thinking about it, i've come up with 3 options....

    1 - ride it in one day
    2 - take 3 days and carry everything on our backs
    3 - take 3 days and drive it the day before to leave supplies along the way, carrying supplies on the second day. driving back later to pick them up at the second site.

    basically what i'm looking for here is advice from you guys/gals that have biked this before. is it worth taking 3 days to ride/ different perspective from the island in the sky loop? my main concern with riding it in one day is looking back on it and saying, we should've taken more time. what about doing it in 2 days? the campsites i have are white crack and potato bottom, maybe ride to white crack on day one then out on day 2?

    ANY advice from experienced riders will be greatly appreciated. thanks guys!

  2. #2
    frejwilk
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    White Rim advice

    Quote Originally Posted by stn112
    I've done a quick search on the subject and haven't found a lot of info, so forgive me if i've missed something.

    a friend and i are going to be in moab march 2011 for a week and one of the main objectives is to bike the white rim road. it's something i've wanted to do for years now and just haven't had the time while in moab to get it done. the original plan was to take 3 days to do the trip that way we'd be able to take our time and have plenty of time to stop and take things in, photos, etc.... this will be her first time in moab so i figured it might be nice to do a relaxed trip. anyway, i started looking into guided trips and sag vehicles and turns out it's a lot more expensive than what i was thinking it would be. after thinking about it, i've come up with 3 options....

    1 - ride it in one day
    2 - take 3 days and carry everything on our backs
    3 - take 3 days and drive it the day before to leave supplies along the way, carrying supplies on the second day. driving back later to pick them up at the second site.

    basically what i'm looking for here is advice from you guys/gals that have biked this before. is it worth taking 3 days to ride/ different perspective from the island in the sky loop? my main concern with riding it in one day is looking back on it and saying, we should've taken more time. what about doing it in 2 days? the campsites i have are white crack and potato bottom, maybe ride to white crack on day one then out on day 2?

    ANY advice from experienced riders will be greatly appreciated. thanks guys!

    Here goes. Hopefully my thoughts aren't too jumbled here.

    For March of 2011, the only good option of your three choices would be a single-day ride. But I do think a commercial outfitter is worth re-considering as a fourth option.

    A multi-day trip and a single day-trip on the White Rim are two completely different things. It sounds like you appreciate the value of spending time in that area. I do recommend multi-day trips out there. It's probably the 'classic' multi-day sagged trip in the southwest. But a large part of that appeal is enjoying non-riding options, the social aspect, and supported camping along the way. An unsupported three day ride would probably not be anywhere near as enjoyable. Especially for someone who might be unfamiliar with overnight desert riding. And especially in March.

    You might want to confirm this with the NPS, but I'm pretty sure caching supplies along the White Rim is technically not legal. At least overnight. Campsites do need to be reserved inside the park.

    The big deal for you in 2011 is that the White Rim road is closed (and unlikely to be open by March) between the Mineral Bottom switchbacks and Potato Bottom. This means that even if you were to pre-drive (and post-drive!) the route for supplies, you'd need to do an out and back from the Schafer side. Maybe more driving than you'd like on both ends of an unsupported ride. Possibly 120mi each time?

    edit: White Rim road is closed to motor vehicles. Bicycles are still able to ride the whole loop.

    There would be a challenging hike-a-bike at the Mineral Bottom road for an unsupported three day rider.

    The value of a commercial trip is obviously different to different people. Speaking as someone who has enjoyed guided rides as both guider and guidee, and done a fair share of unsupported overnighters - I think many people underestimate how enjoyable and worthwhile a commercial multi-day trip can be.

    I hope you enjoy your trip.

    FW
    Last edited by frejwilk; 11-25-2010 at 02:39 AM.

  3. #3
    Ride and Smile
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    White rim is a great place to hang out. Pedal it in a day if you want to, but it is worth it to hang around. I think carrying stuff on your back is the worst choice you came up with. Unsupported in March is a gamble.

    Tours are expensive but worth it if you can afford it. Stashing stuff wouldn't be bad. And two days would be another option to consider instead of three. Then you don't have to ride with the stuff you stash.

    I've ridden the white rim a lot and I love it, but not because of the riding. To me the riding is nice but he place is totally special.
    Go with a tour company and do side trips. Then do more side trips. Then do some more side trips. Wander down off of white crack, hang your heads over vertigo void. Bring the rock climbing gear and climb a tower (or the shoes and boulder) Hell even the chaco's with 5.10 are fun. Take a moonlight hike into ????
    White Rim is awesome. What is awesome about riding there is where you are, not the terrain.
    Trips are a ton of money. I never thought I would go on one when I wasn't getting paid. But I've done three and it's great when someone makes you breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Then they clean up. The food is awesome. Company is great. Pay the money, it's worth it. Book early and get a small discount. Maggie is good fun. Rim tours know their stuff. Western Spirit boys seem nice enough, but I don't really know them.
    Have fun whatever you do!

    Don't forget about the Maze!

  4. #4
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    Hitting WR in a day isn't really about sightseeing. We did it at a leisurely pace for racers with a few stops for food, stretching and pics, but didn't really take in any more than we saw from the saddle. If you want to check things out, you have to take multiple days. There isn't really any time for side trips, and at the 12 hour mark you are starting in the dark and finishing as the light dims. If anything goes wrong, you are looking at significant times in the dark.

    Second hand beta:
    My understanding is that there is more than one washout on the route. A person I know recently did WRIAD and had a few mishaps that led to a lot of night riding, which then caused some confusion at this other washout in the dark. But, they were WR newbs and could have just been confused.
    I only attempt to change the world in the appropriate World-Changing venues and forums.

  5. #5
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    We did White Rim in one day this year. Initially we rode at an easy pace and took time for pictures, breaks and simply enjoying the fab scenery. Realizing iwe were behind schedule we had to crank it up late afternoon. We made it, but after dark. The climb up Mineral Bottom in pitch dark was an adventure in itself.

    Lessons learned:

    1) Having a sag helped a lot: I went through 2 bottles of sports drink, 1 gallon of water and a couple of sandwiches. Glad I didn't have to carry all off this.

    2) The sag needs to be supported, too: One tire blew up on one of the few technical steeps. Luckily we were close to it and could help changing the tire. From then on we stayed close to the sag and spotted for it when things got rough. - Our sag was a truck, driven by a friend. Pros in more capable vehicles probably won't need support.

    3) 100 miles is a long slog. Not everybody in our group rode all the way. At mile 80 we saw the first rider hoping the sag. I was surprised as everybody in the group was pretty fit. But 100 miles on a MTB is extreme. Add to that a few hours of inclement head winds and drop outs are likely. (Don't ruin your friendship!)

    All in all: I would recommend organizing a sag and allowing two days. Given the washouts on Mineral Bottom I'd descend Mineral Bottom in the morning and ride towards Schafer. The sag would go the opposite direction, setup camp at the halfway point and then meet the riders.

    2 days allows sight seeing and detours. A sag is a great insurance and awesome convinience.
    "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit." - And I agree.

  6. #6
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    Check on the conditions first. They had a big washout a while ago.

    http://www.nps.gov/cany/news082410.htm

    The guy at the Island in the Sky number is very helpful. He will talk your ear off giving you all the details. As of late October you could only go in one way about 2/3rd and then come back out. I was told that the washout at 2/3rds was probably going to be fixed soon (late October) and that the big washout at Mineral Bottom *Might* be fixed this next spring.

    I have always done 3 day trips. This is just a personal preference, as I like to spend a couple mights just hanging out with the riding buddies and drinking a few beers. Also, the whole thing in one day is a lot of riding. That would be more of a goal than a vacation. If you can get it, go for a night at White Crack. That is my favorite campsite.

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