Tag Archives: endurance ride

I’m A Mountain Biker Now

21 Apr

I haven’t been on my road bike since Hell of the North but have been on my mountain bike nearly every day since so it’s safe to say I’m back to being a full time mountain biker.

It feels good to be a mountain biker. I rode Frank N Betty in the UC this week and can’t believe I’ve never ridden Betty. Wow! Thanks Ricky and Miles for showing me the way, the truth, the light that is Utah County trail. That shit is steep and nasty! Just the way I like it.

OK, It’s that 100 miles of RAWROD time of year and unfortunately I wont’ be able to ride with the big group on Saturday so the Friday TT is the next best (better? Nah.) thing.

It’s now been 2 years since I did a TT of the White Rim and my goal for Friday is to do it under 7:30. That will make me a mountain biker for sure, no?  Check back Sunday or Monday or Tuesday for a White Rim update.  Should be fun or at least completely miserable.

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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.

2nd Annual Gooseberry Epic

18 Jun

After getting snowed out in January I’ve decided Fall is going to be the new time of year for the Gooseberry Epic.  September 26th to be exact.  Get it on your calendar now!

The route is mapped and it’s harder than you would think.  Kenny claims it to be “epic”.  Only 68.8 miles but over 9,000 feet of climbing.  Plan on 7-9 hours, 6-7 hours if you are feeling really fast and 9+ hours  if you are poking along.

goose3

The only awkward section, and by awkward I mean no trail or road of any kind even though the topo map shows one, is from the hay barn to the tumbleweed gate.  It’s only about a mile or so of tumbleweeds and cow pasture but totally rideable.

The rest of the loop includes everything that’s great about Gooseberry Mesa starting with the North Rim to the Yellow Trail and then the South Rim and Hidden Canyon .  It’s then off through Apple Valley and the foothills of Little Creek Mesa to eventually join up with Gould’s Trail and the Hurricane Rim Trail.  If you’ve made it that far there is some new single track East of Jem Trail that will take you towards the bottom of the “Death Hike”.   You will then cross a bridge and have a little recovery road spin of about 6-7 miles before starting the hardest most epic part of the day, the Scenic Bi-way climb from Rockville back up to the mesa.

Totally self supported and unmarked so bring your GPS or someone that has one and is willing to be responsible for you.  If you are alone and don’t have a GPS you will get lost.

Start time will be 7:30a.m. from the windmill.  You’ll need 180 ounces + of liquid and about 3200 calories so plan accordingly.

I do have a GPX file that I can email you or you can wait until I figure out how to post it here.

Questions?

Moab Rim Ride Report

23 Mar

Well, not THE official Rim Ride report as the official Rim Ride isn’t happening until next Saturday, let’s call it Kenny and Brad’s Rim Ride.

139829615.jpg Yotavan, the ultimate biking vehicle sorry, Ridgeline.

I’m a little disappointed in myself. I was really hoping to have an epic story to tell of suffering and near death. I full on expected to be curled up in the fetal position on the side of the trail at some point during the ride. Nothing like that happened. Kenny and I felt great all day and we didn’t even have as much as a flat tire. It was perfect.

139830030.jpg Potash Road 6:00 a.m. We started at bottom of Poison Spider.

To the uninitiated, which included myself until yesterday, the Rim Ride connects a bunch of the best rides in Moab together in one big ride. I think they connected in the following order; the Sovereign Trail, 7-mile canyon, Monitor & Merrimac, Gemini Bridges, Metal Masher(AKA Taint Trasher), Gold Bar Rim and Poison Spider Mesa.

139830198.jpg View from the Sovereign

Our mileage came in at just under 90 and ride time was just under 10 hours with total time on trail of 11:30. We got lost a couple times out on Sovereign and the Monitor Merrimac sections so I’m pretty sure our GPS tracks do not follow the exact route of the official Rim Ride.

139830742.jpg View from top of Metal Masher.

I can’t believe that I’ve been going to Moab several times a year for the last 15 years and never ridden Sovereign or Klondike Bluffs (we rode Klondike the night before). I think the Sovereign is the new go-to ride in Moab for me, loved it.

139830897.jpg Descending Metal Masher.

I found The Rim Ride unlike any other long distance mountain bike ride or race that I’ve done for a couple reasons. First, during most of the ride you can actually see where you’ve been and where you’re going. You get a sense of the enormity of it all not just physically but also visually which, I found to be a bit daunting at times. “Kenny, we were way over there and now we have to go way over there? Crap!” I’ve never experienced that before. Second, it’s far rougher and more technical than any other long ride I’ve done which made me very happy about my bike choice.

139831090.jpg Kenny climbing Gold Bar and still smiling after 8 hours in the saddle.

I must confess that I didn’t ride the dork bike. Kenny strongly suggested front suspension and after he nearly died last year doing the loop I thought I better listen. I dusted off the Walt Works and have to admit I was really glad to have suspension up front.

If you’re heading down next week have fun and if you happen to be riding a SS 29er might I suggest a 32×22. We also saw several areas along the route to filter water though no guarantee that water will be there next week. I’d share my GPS tracks with you but I think they would do more harm than good on the Sovereign and Monitor Merrimac sections.

I can’t wait to do it again. It’s definitely on the yearly calendar of must do rides.