I love mountain biking in Moab this time of year. Since I live just 5 hours away, and have had snowed-in Mountain Bike Trails for months, a spring-time trip to Moab is perfect. Today’s forecast is mid-60s. Not too hot, not too cold.
The Ride: White Rim in Canyonlands National Park in one day (WRIAD). It’s just over 100 miles total, about 6000-7000 feet elevation gain, jeep road (rough but no single track), beautiful canyon and desert scenery. The road circumnavigates the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park. If you ride in a day (which we’ve done both times I’ve ridden it so far), there’s a small fee but you don’t need a permit. Many groups break it into a multiple-day trip with a sag car for support (it’s accessible with a 4-wheel drive vehicle), but we’ve preferred the light and fast option instead.
For this particular trip in May 2010, we rode for ~10-11 hours. I rode with my awesome-moutain-biker-husband, Mike and our good friend, Chad (awesome mountain biker as well). We got an early start and had great weather the entire day. Since Chad’s ~6’4″, and I’m 5’0″, we started the ride using each other’s bike for a laugh and photo op. Then we switched back and got going! The company was great and it was a moderate pace for us…never pushing too hard but keeping good time. We had recently moved from Crested Butte, where Chad still lives, so there was a lot of talking and catching up. Temps stayed mid-70s.
My FUEL: The main issue with riding this long in the desert is carrying enough fluid and keeping the pack light. I carried 150 oz. of full strength Kelli’s Homebrew (recipe @ www.apexnutritionllc.com/freetools.html) on this trip, which is below the 16 oz. per hour mark, but just about the best I could do – 100 oz. camelbak, 2 -24 oz. bottles. Then, I carried at least 1 gel per hour, a couple clif bars for every 3-4 hours, some candy (I like Mike & Ikes on long ride), some salty snacks (Cheezits, just for variety from all the sugar) and a Red Bull. The last climb of several thousand feet is tough both physically and mentally, and it helps to have a little caffeine going into it.
My FUEL analysis: Worked out well. I see fuel, for these types of adventures, in a very Utilitarian way. It needs to be effective, give me as much carbs per ounce of weight as possible, and light as possible. By using my Homebrew, I make sure I will get enough sodium and potassium – most commercial sports drinks provide too low electrolytes, especially sodium for endurance adventures. I make sure to get at least 40 grams of carbs per hour and I’m willing to carry more weight in fluid than solids since it gives me hydration, lytes, and carbs. I like Clif Bars, so those are usually my choice for solids. I don’t need sandwiches or burritos or other meal-like solids….I’ll enjoy a good meal when I’m done.
WRIAD is an excellent adventure, and I hightly recommend it. It takes some stamina and training going into it, but if you just keep putting one pedal in front of the other, give yourself plenty of fluid and fuel, and pick a good time of year (Spring or Fall, NOT mid-summer), it’s awesome. If you want more info on this trip, you can start with http://www.nps.gov/cany/planyourvisit/whiterimroad.htm. If you’re interested in riding it in a day, you’ll find a lot of trip reports out there by searching “WRIAD.” And, yes, people run it in a day as well!
I’d love to hear about and post your adventures – past, present, or future. If you include your fuel plan, I’ll give you my analysis, and if it’s an upcoming trip, my recommendations. Please email any Choose Your Own Adventures to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some athletes like competitions to keep them motivated. I like adventures.
Fuel Your Adventures. Nourish Your Body.