Moab Rim Ride Sucks

31 Mar

I know I said I’d have a report up by Monday or Tuesday but Saturday was a much bigger effin day than I thought it would be.  I’ve now recovered enough to type.

When I say the Rim Ride sucks I really mean it sucks for you if you haven’t done it before and that it really  sucked for me at the 5 hour mark and the suckage lasted for what seemed forever.

The Rim Ride has been on my bucket list for several years but it has always scared me because it’s so early in the season and it’s so effin hard.  I figured if I don’t get it done this year before we move out of state who knows when or if it will ever happen.

For the uninitiated the Moab Rim Ride is an unofficial, unsupported (pack everything you think you’ll need for 12 hours in the desert) race that takes place every year in the Spring and links together some of the best, nastiest trails in Moab, all done in one day. Names like Metal Masher, Deal Breaker, Gold Bar Rim, Posion Spider Mesa, Blue Dot and Sovereign. So many trails I lost track, maybe a dozen.

I drove down Friday night and camped it in the back of the Volvo 240 at Moab City Park. Scary place. I wouldn’t recommend the city park to anyone, safer to camp out in the boonies. What is it about small towns?

This is the last happy picture you’ll ever see of the 240, me camping out with my bike in 76 posh cubic feet of space.

We started at 5:30 a.m. with 2 hours of some really technical trail in the dark with lights. I think it was Bar M and Circle O trails followed by Sovereign. I hate night riding so it was nice to get that out of the way. 4 of us broke away fairly early and spent the next couple of hours together finishing Sovereign and 7-Mile Mesa area. I started to fade a bit as soon as we hit Deal Breaker, I think it was the name that did it for me.  I soon entered that awful dark place with no windows, bed or toilet. I was so close to pulling the plug on the whole thing that I swore to myself that once we hit the Gemini Bridges road I was just heading back to town.

With thoughts of quitting in my head I somehow made it to the Gemini Bridges road and got to coast for a mile or so and regroup and think things over. No way could I go home and tell everyone that I quit. I turned onto Metal Masher and was mentally more in the race but still hurting pretty bad. I figured I’ll just do Metal masher, reassess and decide what to do.

After Metal Masher I was still wanting to drop out but as I headed towards Bull Canyon I started seeing all these crazy adventure racers, some were even bungee corded together, running up out of the canyon on their way to Gemini Bridges, they looked like hell. I’m thinking, damn, they are suffering way more than me and are still moving forward one step at a time. I also started thinking about the Team and there was no way I was going to tell them I quit.  That gave me a jolt of inspiration, better than a Red Bull. I started feeling like Superman and pounded out Gold Bar Rim and Blue Dot, yes, pounded them out.

If you haven’t done Blue Dot you’ve missed the most technical, challenging trail in Moab, I’m not sure it was meant for bikes, especially after 9 hours of biking, it went on and on and on. At least the views helped pass the time.  All that was left was descending Poison Spider and 6 miles of pavement to the finish.

I’m pretty sure this pic is from Blue Dot, things were a bit fuzzy at this point in the ride.

I ended up finishing 3rd in 10hrs 29min and feeling like I had something left in the tank, enough that I thought I should drive home, turns out that was a bad idea.

Here’s race winner Kurt Refsnider basking in the admiration of his minions, myself included.  Side note: Kurt took 2nd at the Tour Divide Race last year, from Canada to Mexico in 18 days and change!

I ended up eating about 2000 calories worth of salted nut rolls and gels and drinking 220 oz of CarboRocket carried in 2 bladders in one Camelback Mule. Wouldn’t change a thing with nutrition.  I was really surprised by how good I felt at the finish line.  The Rim Ride is one of, if not the roughest most technical day long races that I’ve ever done and It’s only March.  Either this will be a great year or I’ll be burned out by June.

Huge thanks to Fred Wilkinson for putting this together and Jamie Pogue for the suspension fork, I’m sure I woulda died without it.

What’s a good road trip/race report without a little carnage? Coming down Spanish Fork Canyon I T-boned a deer and totaled the 240. Way bummed about it but glad I’m Ok. I’ve relived that moment over and over a hundred times, it was so surreal. I actually looked the deer right in the eyes in that split second before impact and then watched it die instantly and cartwheel across the other lane and off the road. It happened so fast there was no time to brake or swerve. In hindsight things could have been a lot worse had I had more time to react.

No new car in the near future, gonna try and make it with just one. Sounds like more bike time.

15 Responses to “Moab Rim Ride Sucks”

  1. Jason at 8:25 pm #

    Dang, that is impressive!

  2. Aaron at 8:53 pm #

    So awesome about the ride, but so sucky about the car. I can only imagine the state you were in on the shoulder of Hwy 6 with 100 brutal miles in your legs, hungry, tired and stranded. Sucks. But way to pull through the ride.

  3. Jason at 9:26 pm #

    That’s a huge day man, cool you checked it off the list, and did it fast to boot – your hardcore.

    Annie and I saw those two guys in the matching kits during our race on that road back up to Gemeni Bridges. That’s funny you mentioned the bungees – saw that system being used on the bikes too – nuts.

    Probably saw your deer friend in SF canyon as well, along with about 8 others that looked to have also gotten caught in the headlights.

  4. Daren at 9:50 pm #

    Glad you’re OK.

  5. D. at 12:40 am #


  6. DavidV at 5:45 am #

    3rd place? That’s amazing! Way to go directeur sportif!

  7. Doug (not dug) at 9:03 am #


    Look at the hair stuck to the Volvo… You hit that suka hard. Glad you are OK.

    • mark at 11:45 am #

      Not just a little hair, either. RIP Volvo. Which explains why you were in Tasha’s car when I saw you last night.

      Oh, and huge props on the rim ride. We should celebrate.

  8. Carney at 9:23 am #

    Damn dude – nice ride!

    The first year I did it, I ran out of water and had to ration a red bull while I got lost for a few hours on Blue dot/poison spider/gold bar at sunset. So sounds like you nailed it the first time around.

  9. Brandon at 9:39 am #

    Nice report. Sounds like an epic ride.

  10. jruss at 10:33 am #

    epic, brother. epic.

    • brkeyes7 at 12:42 pm #

      Fox, your damn story about the Rim Ride is one of the things that has kept me away for so long but also put it on my radar. Thanks!

  11. Karl at 7:58 pm #

    Oh. I didn’t catch this report earlier. That explains some of the indecision to go down to Goose Keg this weekend. At least you gots the legs left! Let me know if you need a shuttle around town. I wont be doing much riding in the near future.

  12. Luke at 10:54 am #

    Sorry about City Park! However a Volvo 240 with out-of-state plates and bike geek stickers screams “Not from Moab” (local riders can’t afford a 240- think beater) and the non-riding locals are very tired of 25 years of dirtbag car campers (of any type) doing so in town. Ya know, how they’re always bathing in the restroom sinks, etc. So we are obliged to terrorize you when you do so- it’s our hobby. Next time, try Lions Park at the corner of Hwys 191 & 128 if you feel you must car camp in town.

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