Friday, October 24

White Rim 2 day Gearlist

Okay I've had a bunch of requests for a gearlist, which for once was not preplanned in Excel. Yes I do make most of my gearlists in Excel because I'm a big dork. I'm going to try to post up what we brought, I might forget something since it's from memory. Feel free to ask questions.

Chris Clothing
Knee warmers
Smartwool socks
Smartwool lightweight long sleeve zip-t
Full finger gloves
Cycling Cap
Marmot Hooded Windshirt
Fleece Earband
Golite Rain knickers (home chopped)
Underwear to sleep in
Nunatak hooded down jacket

Marni Clothing
Shorts x 2
Knee warmers
Smartwool socks x 2
Montezuma lightweight long sleeve baselayer
Arm warmers
Cycling cap
Smartwool beanie
Golite Virga rain jacket
Golite Reed rain pants
Underwear to sleep in
Smartwool lightweight bottoms to sleep in
Montbell Alpine Light hooded down jacket

Black Diamond Firstlight w/ 4 stakes
Western Mountaineering Highlite (Marni)
Montbell Short inflatable pad (Marni)
Nunatak 3/4 quilt (Chris)
Cheapo blue foam torso pad (Chris)
1/8" Gossamer Gear Nightlight folded over to share for feet
Ultralight Esbit stove setup (BPL ti stove/pot stand, Sterno can pot, alum foil lid, ti windscreen, mini bic, DQ long handled spoon, Light my fire spork)
4 x 2.5L or 3L Platypus bladders (Marni carried hers, I carried 3 in pack/frame bag)
1 bike water bottle on Chris's bike
First aid and emergency fire kit (4oz)
Toothbrush and mini tooth paste
Smallest MSR packtowel
3 Butt'r packets
Sunscreen mini tube
4 Single use wet wipes
SPOT GPS tracker
Tiny Black Diamond LED headlamp

Nathan 759 (Chris)
Black Diamond Flash 9L (Marni)
Epic Designs frame bag (Chris)
Epic Designs seat bag (Chris)
Small sized compression sack on the handlebars (down items + tent poles + blue pad) (Chris)

Day snacks (apple, bars, candy, goldfish, powerchews,etc)
Lunch of turkey/ham sandwiches, pringles, candy
Dinner of mac and cheese (marni) or alfredo pasta (chris) brought chicken packet but it didn't appeal to us so we didn't open it
Snickers for desert and some pringles too I think
Breakfast of cheese danishes and hot chocolate
A few emergency electrolyte tabs
Vitamin I for Marni ;)

Monocog (Chris) w/ Stans tubeless
Trek Fuel EX7 WSD (Marni) w/ slime lite tubes
Ultra enduro toolkit (2xtubes,multitool,chainlube and rag,spare bolts,cleats,kevlar spoke, minipump,patch kit,spare disc pads) (Marni carried on bike)
GPS on both our handlebars for bike computer use (ETrex vista and Geko 301)

Also brought a camera and 2 spare rechargeable AA batteries (camera and ETrex) which we usually wore around our necks on a lanyard. Temperatures were probably mid to low 40s at the coldest, upper 70s at the warmest and no rain, very little clouds.

Alright I think that's everything but I'll try to update it if I remember anything else. Overall it all worked great as it's pretty close to my usual setup for the two of us. I ditched my rainjacket for a hooded windshirt and wool shirt combo because the forecast was clear and I was confident I could stay warm without it. Don't leave rain gear at home unless you're very confident in your abilities regarding keeping yourself warm. I made sure Marni had her full rain gear. The setup is not as light as one could go but plenty of food and lots of clothes to keep Marni comfy and warm. Plus I could spend all day everyday making and buying lighter gear but at some point you just take what you have and go use it outside.

I don't think I'd use a platypus in a frame bag again, maybe a dromadary with the tougher fabric. I was worried it would leak and I did put one pinhole in it at the end of day one. The firstlight is a great tent for two as long as you're under 6" tall and don't mind being close. Others might find it cramped but we like it a lot. It's pretty bomber too as we got lots of wind on our previous Koko trip and even with only 4 stakes and no guy outs it worked great. I'd bring 4 more stakes and some line if I expected really windy conditions. I'm still planning on experimenting with a Henry Shires Tarptent to lose some weight there but the firstlight serves many roles in our house so it's unlikely to go away. It's quick to setup, light for a freestanding and essentially bomber western USA tent and packs small being singlewall.

The Nathan pack rules for heavier pack weights and Marni said she liked the flash which I also used on the CTR. I have chopped the waistbelt off that one but not the Nathan. The Epic bags are awesome and I could never do a trip like this without them. The extra storage for soft goods and the tent(!) in the seatbag plus the large food storage of the frame bag is great. Then I can pack most of the heavy but dense water mostly on my back where it's safe. I also had some MP1 tablets with me for treating river water in an emergency.

Hope that helps some of you. A couples list is a bit trickier than a solo race list (easy don't bring anything, then leave more at home) but it's a lot more rewarding to do a trip like this with your sweetie!

Monday, October 20


The White Rim road and I have a somewhat twisted relationship. If a road had gender, I think this one must be female as there is no other way our history could be so dysfunctional. The first trip I ever took around the rim was a success despite a riding partner's hypothermia and subsequent emergency fire starting. Other trips have had beautiful weather while last years attempt by Marni and I to ride this together ended up with the Element teetering on a snow covered cliff, both of us working hard to keep it together and get out safely. We've even come close to death in a narrowly avoided huge tan cow/car collision. But this ride has a strange combination of beauty and a desolate feel that keeps me coming back and also wanting me to share that with my friends. It's both accessible and serious. And now after a year of trying and a few recent weeks of bad weather, I've gotten to share it with Marni.

Friday was a whirlwind day of packing. Last minute weather watching, calls to the Canyonlands visitor's center and route deliberation left me running around all day with no lunch. Finally with Turbo safely at doggy day care, last minute food procured and Marni picked up from work we both relaxed. The drive to Moab is familiar to both of us by this point and autopilot quickly took over with Marni pulling the big driving leg of I-70. We rolled in after dark and tried to sleep in the Hotelement. Marni snoozed all night while I tossed and turned, energized by the coming adventure and the bright moon reflecting off of everything.

Dawn came and we both downed some blueberry muffins before getting dressed and driving into Canyonlands NP. We stopped at the visitors center, packed up and said good bye to the Element for a couple days. Wanting to start at first light and make the best of the now shorter days offered us a brilliant view of the sunrise over the La Sals.
My Epic Designs seatbag and frame pack helped me haul all the food, water and gear we would need to ride self supported without my back wanting to kill me. Despite hauling ~10L of water on top of everything else, my pack was a reasonable ~18lbs which the Nathan 759 hauls pretty well.
Marni took my Black Diamond flash pack with her day supplies and we both sported the red knee warmers. ;)
Dropping into Shafer we got to see these guys. What a wonderful surprise and only the 2nd time I've ever seen them!
Marni was pretty excited to drop into the canyon and it never disappoints.
She's that little dot down below me as Shafer stretches out to the White Rim road.
It didn't take us long to reach Mussleman arch and it corresponded nicely with a snack break. Marni ventured out while I snapped some pictures.
Then we had a nice good morning arch hug shadow.
From here the road rolls up and down and through lots of gaps to unveil new terrain to the view. We had it all to ourselves as the supported touristas were still sleeping.
Even early on, the sense of scale began to sink in a bit but Marni was determined.
We kept rolling, stopping for snack breaks every hour and alternating camera person. Big views all around kept the miles rolling under our wheels.
Aerobunny does white rim.
It wasn't all smiles as Marni's knees were bothering her but she's a trooper and pushed on with some help from vitamin I. Any offer to turn back was quickly rejected.
I can't say I blame her. There are worse places to ride.
We rode in silence and we chatted. Adventures like this that push one person's boundaries so far are difficult. But for us, each one we come through makes us stronger and neither of us would have it any other way.
I loved getting to share one of my favorite big rides with my favorite person in the world.
Plus she was kicking butt!
The stretch of riding to Murphy's Hogback is tough. It climbs a bit and it seems mentally further than sections between previous landmarks but we were both still going strong.
Where we'd been.
Where we were going. Yes there is a road up the side of that. Well dirt and 4wd anyway!
The call of our lunch stop was strong and we both pushed up the hogback.
Now this is a nice lunch spot!
Tired but ready to fuel with sandwiches, Pringles and candy!
We chilled for a while and enjoyed the views and food. Before too long though the trail was calling as we had a ways to go still before dinner and camp.
At least this section gradually begins to give back all the elevation you gained up to Murphy's and it goes much more quickly.
It was hot as the shadows stretched out. We both played the water drinking police and stopped every 45 minutes for more snacks.
Shade was nice wherever we found it, even next to the Potato Bottom privy. Smiles motivated by M&Ms and mini Luna bars.
A little more riding and some sand kept bringing far away landmarks closer.
A little more climbing brought them closer still and to the last highpoint of the day.
A little descending brought our tired legs to camp as the shadows stretched out.
Now the ponies could rest and so could we.
I cooked up dinner and we ate Snickers for dessert. We readied our gear for the morning and marveled at the stars from our cozy tent. Sunset brought about bedtime and the end of a long but wonderful day.
Alarm clocks brought about Marni's least favorite time of day, morning. Somehow I coaxed my puffycoated friend out of her sleeping bag with cheese danishes and hot cocoa.
We ate and watched the sun rise all around us.
We reapplied our bike clothes and packed up camp to hit the road. Big weekend trips require a certain amount of haste to return before Monday AM.
We were rolling by the time it was light out and both a little stiff and sore. Butts and legs usually complain in the AM but a little pedaling and they remember their tasks.
A little sand riding...
and a little sand walking.
Picture to compliment our similar Kokopelli photo.
We both enjoyed this part along the river.
I think the beauty plus lack of climbing made for a nice warm up to the day.
Soon enough we arrived at the bottom of Mineral Bottom road. It was here we got stuck last year and Marni was eager to find the spot where the old Element met the canyon wall. I was just happy to make it to the top loaded with 2:1 gearing.
Yep we came up that.
Marni on top of the last big climb.
Of course after the switchbacks, there is still 13 miles and 1000 vertical feet of dirt rollers to reach the pavement.
The section is pretty but it gets a little long in the tooth at the end of the loop. My favorite is to do it first.
Nevertheless we popped out on the road eventually, stripped off our knee warmers and pointed our bikes down the final section of our ride.
9 miles of road led back to the visitor's center and our car.
Landshark says goodbye to the White Rim for now.
Marni says enough of the pavement already.
Give me danish! And Pringles! After 102 miles and 6000+ feet of climbing, I think she earned them.
We changed, threw the bikes in the car and pointed it down to Wendy's. 6 hours and a couple ice cream snickers later, we grabbed the pup and collapsed at home. White Rim mission accomplished!