Thursday, May 1, 2008

White Rim

Horse Thief Canyon in the morning.

Riding along the Colorado to Hardscrabble in the canyon's shadow.

The back side of Hardscrabble before Potato Bottom.

Roundng one of the many finger bays on the White Rim.

The approach to the Shafer Trail from the Potash potty.

Ellen just before the top of the Shafer.

When the climbing is done, here's your reward. The Shafer Trail from the top.

Dudette and dude.

I forgot to mention the desert flowers were just starting to pop! Gorgeous.

Last Saturday, Ellen Guthrie and I rode the White Rim Trail under a cloudless, sunny sky, and a minor blow that varied from a tailwind to White Crack and headwind to the end. The conditions could not have been more perfect. Yes, there was a lot of sand, but that's the WR. We rode in the opposite direction of the RAWROD crowd which came down Shafer's, and met up with them at White Crack. We both picked up 2 bottles of water from their sag wagon, and that was it. I still had over 3/4 of my 100 oz Camelback full, and food to spare, when we finished! Because it wasn't hot, I guess we could have made the whole thing unsupported.

Our total riding time was 9:06 which was real good considering this was the 1st long ride of the year for Ellen. A 1st for me was cleaning the entire route for what I think is the 1st time ever. Typically, Hardscrabble has a nasty soft section on the steepest part of the climb that always does me in. Not this time. Someone has come in and filled in the soft sand hole and the climb is now ridable. I hit 175 bpm by the time I got to the top, but I made it non-stop, without a dab. Yahooooo. Another 1st was I beat Ellen on a climb!!! That little waif always kicks my fat ass whenever the trail/road kicks upward, so being in front was a real treat. I'm going to enjoy it while I can - I know my glory will be short-lived.

The climb up to Murphy's was interesting and a little more painful than I remembered. The last left turn was a little loose and almost bucked me off, but I was able to keep my balance. And the ledge just before the summit was a challenge. Since it was smoothed out a few years ago, the ledge has been a no brainer and somewhat of a letdown. As I got closer to it, it became apparent a slight ledge had reappeared and just hitting it straight on might not work. What was interesting is gravity took me to the left edge of the road, then back across diagonally to the right edge, through a narrow smooth section, and then back to the left to the top. I'm certain if I had hit this straight on I would have fallen, or at least dabbed. As it turned out, I made it, but there was nobody on top to cheer me on. When we came down the backside toward White Crack, I felt sorry for the others that had to still climb Murphy's. It looked much harder to me climbing from White Crack. My hat's off to the RAWROD dudes and dudettes.

Before we started, my one concern was riding Shafer at the end, but that proved to be no problem, relatively speaking. From where we started at the top of the Mineral Bottom Road, the Potash potty was 87 miles in with the 2.6 mile climb looming ahead. It was still sunny but much of the climb was now in the shadow of the canyon wall. I found a comfortable, smooth and steady pace and did the climb in 36 minutes, no dabs. Now I have a number to shoot for this fall when I do it again, and I'm in better shape. Counterclockwise worked out well for us and I would not hesitate to do it that way again. The ride back on 313 was a bit of a drag since we had a headwind and all the fun was done. When we got back to camp, Rob Westerman had the Brats ready for us and we settled into a nice, chatty evening with their kids, Doug Davis and Scott Tolly. A perfect end to a perfect day.

This was a memorable weekend, and one that came at a good time. Ellen was a great riding partner and I wouldn't have changed a thing. Thanks for the fun day Ellen.


StupidBike said...

Is ROb coming to kick my butt soon?

Brad Mullen said...

He's riding strong, but, he moved up to the 50+ Open class. Isn't that sick! He should be getting slower, not faster.

StupidBike said...

So, all that means is he will bestarting 11 minutes after me, still pass me and leave me in his dust even if i am winning my category.

Yep, even more demoralizing :)