Tuesday, April 8, 2008

White Rim Trip

On Saturday, I rode the annual Jim Hutton White Rim Ride, a 100+ mile mountain bike ride on the White Rim. Many thanks to Jim, Monte, Sid, and the others who make it happen each year.

The Rim Ride was probably my first legitimate "long ride" of the year. It was somewhat of an experiment -- how well does my ski fitness transfer over to the bike? The Answer? There is lots of overlap, but it doesn't transfer over 100 percent. Duh. I know it's obvious, but somethings you just have to actually experience. Aerobically and strength-wise, I was okay. However, cycling uses some non-skiing muscle groups and I wasn't conditioned to sit on a bike for 10 hrs. Put another way, I was slightly uncomfortable, and by the end, I was hurtin'. In fact, as I was going in slow motion up Horsethief (see illustration below), I had a conversation with myself to convince myself that it was worth it.

Between the Samurai and myself, despite the discomfort, we decided that the positive aspect far outweighed the negative aspects.


1. Got to play dress up with the Biker's Edge crew in the desert. Matching helmets (GIRO Ionos) and glasses (GIRO Havics). Thanks GIRO. Matching bikes. Thanks Cannondale and Oh-ran. Matching jerseys and shorts. Thanks Biker's Edge.

2. I got to touch and hang my bike on the Fox rack. Yes, that Fox. It's not pretty and far from confidence inspiring, but gets the job done. Thanks Fox.

3. I got my base training in for the year.

Here are the stats for my ride. It was about 100 miles; ride time was 8:12; total time was just under 11 hrs (including lunch break, and 4 stops to fix Jake's 4 flat tires); total elevation gain was about 9,000 feet (I don't know if this is right -- anyone else get a reading?).

4. Had I not been pegged for eight hours, the scenery would have been awe-inspiring. Still, it was great.

5. MOST OF ALL, the Rim Ride provided me with the opportunity to struggle. That's one of the things I like about cycling and endurance sports. I'm not sure why I impose struggles on myself; life has enough built-in struggles. Maybe it's because I feel like I need to prove to my immigrant ancestors that I'm as tough as they are. Maybe it's because I'm insecure and like to feel like I'm accomplishing something. Maybe it's because I need lots and lots of practice at overcoming struggle. In any event, I like the challenge -- and the struggle -- that a 100 mile mountain bike ride presents. I like the anticipation and anxiety at the beginning of the ride: am I prepared? will I make it? I like the inevitable crux of the ride -- that "do or die" moment where you either dig deep or crumble. I like the feeling at the end of the ride that I have accomplished something and have overcome the struggle. Or, if I "died," I like to analyze why and struggle to make it better next time. I like to think that each epic ride is a life in and of itself, a time improve, a time to find oneself, a time to make friends, and, of course, a time to struggle.

Good night.


Facelessghost said...

I'd love to give that ride a try. Maybe next year I'll by a mountain bike and go with you guys.

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RStum said...

Jared, nice essay on "struggling" (point 5). I'm always looking how to articulate to others "why" I do endurance sports...backcountry skiing, mountaineering, long distance cycling or running etc.