It's been three years since I started mountain biking, and I must say, it now appears to be one of the ruling figures in my life. I have an unquenchable thirst for biking adventures. The longer more extreme the challenge, the more likely I will want to give it a try. It's not enough for me to just attempt these adventures, I want to complete them in the fastest time imaginable.
Full of grandiose dreams of speed, strength and endurance, I set out to, once again, to ride the 100-mile White Rim trail outside of Moab, UT. A beautiful route that takes one through the heart of Canyonlands National Park filled with expansive desert views.
The trip started off with a bit of a snag, I forgot to charge my new Garmin 820. Well, I thought it was charged, but neglected to turn it off after charging. Oh well, no problem. I could still Strava the route using my new I-Phone, because if I don't record the route on Strava, it didn't happen, right?
With several pounds of food and water, I'm set and ready to break the record, or so I thought. I decide to start at the top of the Mineral Bottom climb, a steep climb that I really just didn't want to do as a warm up. I figured it would be difficult at the end of a 100 mile epic ride, but by than I probably will be in another mental galaxy from the long difficult day, right?
I felt like a she-beast as I climbed the long Horsetheif road. I felt even better when, once on the paved highway traveling to the entrance of Canyonlands National Park, I passed at least ten road cyclist. Yes, that's right, me and my loaded down 29+ mountain bike blazed past several roadies. I'm sure they noticed the lightning bolts of power that were my thighs and are continue talking about it to this day....ok, maybe not.
I entered into Canyonlands National Park, and quickly texted the husband to let me know I was alright. With grace and ease I flew down the Shafer trail, committing to my adventure fully, knowing that I would now be without cell reception and on my own.
Everything was going splendidly and I knew I would succeed. It wasn't until I noticed that my extra water bottle that I had strategically placed in my handlebar bag was missing. I needed that water, but was not too concerned because I had a three liter water bladder in my frame pack. Maybe it fell out as I descended Shafer? I was already about thirty miles in and figured I could make it on the remaining three liters.
Still feeling strong at almost forty miles, and quickly descending a short steep hill, I suddenly felt some type of liquid spraying on my leg. Well, crap, I thought. It looks like I'll be fixing a flat on my back tire. The liquid must be sealant spaying out from a puncture of some sort. I stopped and inspected the tires, but they were completely intact. No punctures. How strange, I thought. After getting back on the bike and riding for a few more miles, I felt more liquid on my legs and decided to stop and inspect my set up once more.
A sinking feeling hit my gut, and I pulled out the water bladder which immediately sprayed my precious resource all over the food and the bike. I found a hole near the hose, and desperately attempted to tape and plug it. Nothing held. I had a decision to make. I could continue the sixty miles and try and finish the route on less then one liter of water, or I could turn around and bail.
I kept going. I rode about four miles before I felt the desire of thirst compelling me to stop and take a sip of the now so precious resource. Why am I doing this, I thought. Is it worth it? Unhappily,I decided to turn around. The White Rim won again. (It beat me last year when I sheared my crank bolt in half, leaving me to walk my bike for 18 miles before my friends rescued me).
I will not be deterred. I will go back, and I will finish this route. I want to do it by myself, and I want a record time. Is that so much to ask?