100 Miles…The Convenient Way

05.9.2011 | 11:52 am

I’d like to be able to claim that forgetfulness is something I’ve recently developed, as one of the more entertaining (to others) aspects of middle age.

I’d like to, but I can’t. Because I’ve always been forgetful. In fact, in my late 20’s, when I first started biking and going on biking trips with friends, I became pretty well-known for my exhaustive “to-bring” lists. Before going anywhere, I’d write down everything and anything that I thought I should be bringing on the bike adventure. By the time I got to the evening before it was time to head out, I’d have something much more reliable than memory or common sense: a thorough, categorized (things to get from the garage, things to get from the kitchen, things to get from the bedroom) list.

During the past several years, my list has become simpler: food, bike, bike clothes, bike gear (helmet, shoes, gloves, glasses, bottles), tools and tubes. I have a bag or box for each of these items. When those bags and boxes are full, I must be ready to go.

By having a simple and consistent routine (and, yes, a checklist for critical things), it’s been a long time since I’ve forgotten anything.

Until last weekend.

As usual, I packed everything into their appropriate bags. Helmets, shoes, gloves, glasses and tools in one bag. Clothes (including bike clothes) in another. Food and bottles in one more.

But I made a mistake. Specifically, when it was time to load the energy bars, chews and gels into the food bag, I deviated from my normal routine of leaving the bag in the center of the room (I like to call it “the staging area” because it sounds very left-brained, and I sometimes wish I were left-brained), and instead brought the bag to where I keep all the energy food stashed. You know, divert from the routine a little, to save time.

Thus, when it came time to take everything out to the truck and I — like I always do — carried everything that was sitting in the center of the room to the truck, the bag containing all the food and bottles for The Runner and me remained where it was.

And in short, we all prepared for our outing to do a 100-mile one-day ride around the White Rim in 85-degree weather, except for not having anything to eat or drink.


The Runner and I didn’t discover my little (!!!) goof until about 10:30pm that night in our Green River hotel room, as we started doing final prep for the following morning: putting our individual piles of what what we’d be wearing and bringing the next day.

“Where’s the food?” The Runner asked?

“Grey Banjo Brothers tote bag,” I replied. But even as I said it, a mental light went on, and I knew for absolutely certain where that bag was. I.e., sitting atop a chair in the nook in our bedroom, conveniently close to the shelf where we keep our energy bars. And not very conveniently close to Green River.

I went out to the truck to verify what I already knew, and then came back to our room.

“We have no food. We have no bottles,” I said.

The thing is, Green River isn’t exactly a big city with lots of 24-hour grocery stores. No. And our route to White Rim wouldn’t bring us by a grocery store in the (very early, before a grocery store would open) morning, either.

So we refactored our plans a little. “Looks like we’re going to be eating convenience store food for 100 miles,” said The Runner, in what I’m happy to say was a totally non-accusatory voice.

Half an hour and $31.74 later, we had acquired the following:


That — along with the two Subway sandwiches, the water, and the half-gallon of chocolate milk we had in our ice chest — should take care of a couple people for 100 miles, we figured.

A Side Note to the Good Folks at Gatorade

Until this trip, I had not realized how perfectly the twist-top gatorade bottles fit into a bike bottle cage. Now that I have, though, I’d like to extend my kudos and gratitude to the good folks at Gatorade, because considering they were a “no other option” option, these bottles worked just fine. Clearly, they were designed to fit snug in a bottle cage, and they worked great.

I’m probably the last person on earth to realize those bottles were meant to be used in bottle cages, aren’t I?

Riding With Youngsters

We got up early and drove to the top of the Horsethief climb, the same place we always start the ride from during one of Kenny’s annual RAWROD trips. The Runner, her son The IT guy and I would be starting the ride from there. Zach — The Runner’s eldest — and his wife and their little boy (yes, I am a grandpa, or at least a step-grandpa which is close enough) would drive the sag wagon truck and meet us at Musselman Arch, where Zach would get out his bike and join us for the ride.

You know what’s nice about small groups? Agility. For whatever reason, a group of three people can get rolling much more quickly than a group of 30. By 6:45am, we were rolling.

Unlike a couple weeks ago, the day started warm and beautiful. I wore arm warmers, but only for the first half hour. After that, it was shorts and short sleeves. I tell you what, after a long and cold winter and a cold, wet spring, it is so nice to be out in the sun in the desert.

We got to the first stop — Musselman Arch — in good time, everyone comfortable, everyone feeling good. Everyone glad to be spending a beautiful day in a beautiful place doing a very cool thing.

I swear, sometimes I love mountain biking so much it makes me almost unbearably cheerful.

Musselman Arch

Musselman Arch is the traditional first stop for White Rim-in-a-day riders. For one thing, you’ve covered a nearly a third of the distance (though not a third of the effort) for the day and it’s a good chance to refill bottles.

For another thing, you’ve got to take pictures.

Here’s The Runner with her two sons:


The IT Guy is on the right. The Runner’s in the middle. And her eldest son — who shall henceforth be known as Kid Rock on this blog — is on the left.  

The grandson in the background, chasing a lizard. As is proper.

Of course, I wanted to get in on a group photo, too:


Isn’t it awesome that I’m the tallest one there?


Oh. Um.

Anyway, it’s traditional to get pictures of people standing on Musselman Arch.


Sadly, I neglected to get photos of The Runner as she hollered at her sons to cut it out when they were jumping up and down on the arch.

Oh, and I did a cool 360-degree, zoomable panoramic shot while standing on top of the arch itself using my iPhone and the free PhotoSynth app. Check it out (you’ll need to have the Silverlight plugin to see it):

Simple + Awesome

Based on my Friday’s post, I feel like I’m almost obligated to talk about either how The Runner and I crushed her young, brash sons. Or, if necessary, how her young brash sons defied our expectations and rode like the wind.

But the truth is, it was a group ride, and we rode together. Nobody tried to bury anyone. I was impressed that The IT Guy is doing really well with his Leadville training — I think he’ll finish in under twelve hours, which is awesome — and was impressed that Kid Rock was able to ride as much as he did, considering that he hadn’t been biking much at all and in fact borrowed a (much too large) bike for this ride.

The Runner was just digging having her boys around, having fun doing what she loves to do.

We stopped often, refilling our bottles and loading up on snacks. I felt great and considered the possibility that maybe I should always eat convenience store food while on long rides (though with today’s weight being 173.6 (?!?), I have since reconsidered).

And whenever Kid Rock’s wife stopped the truck, their boy would bound out, immediately becoming a dinosaur. This, then, is a dinosaur, stalking its prey.



Later, at Vertigo Void, I had the grandson lay down and peer over the edge (blatantly ignoring The Runner’s direct forbidding of this action).

“That’s pretty cool,” said the five-year-old boy as he stared down into a pretty good approximation of infinity.

I tell you, kids these days are so hard to impress.

Where Is Everyone?

As the day wore on, The Runner and I wondered: where was everyone? It was a beautiful spring day. There was wind, but it was bad only for an hour or so. But not a single riding group ever overtook us, and we ran across maybe two other groups going in the opposite direction.

The lack of people around reinforced one of the things White Rim always conveys to me: a sense of being a really small part of something really, really big.

Here’s another panorama shot — just kind of out in the middle of the ride — that might help show you what I mean:

Gah! What happened to the Runner’s legs?!

Finishing Strong

There’s a lot of sand to ride through in the last ten miles of the White Rim, and usually it takes a ton out of me. This time, though, I seem to have learned the trick of riding through sand. I just stopped trying to make big turning motions, stopped trying to pedal hard, stopped trying to plow my way through.

And I floated along over the top, with hardly any trouble at all. Even in the biggest, deepest sand pit, I rode right through.

Everyone else kinda got cooked by the sand, however, which is too bad, and not just because The Runner discovered exactly how fluently her two boys can curse. It’s too bad because after riding through the sand, the last thing you’ve got to do is climb up Horsethief. Which is one mile long, and about 800 feet of climbing.

By itself, it’s a hard — but not horrible — climb. After 99 miles, it’s just brutal.

Kid Rock took over driving; with about 40 miles under his belt for the day, he had demonstrated he could pull a pretty serious ride out of his butt.

The IT Guy, however, had something a little more impressive to prove. He was about to finish his first 100-mile MTB ride.

He started up the climb a minute or two before The Runner and I. And it just happened to work out that we passed him (yes, The Runner finished the ride first of everyone, thereby proving everything I said in my previous post), my odometer turned over to 100 miles.

“You just road a hundred miles on your mountain bike!” I enthused. “How do you feel?”

“Not very happy,” he gasped.

A few minutes later, after he finished the cliimb (without, I might add, putting his foot down a single time), I got a photo of him.


That is one salty, tired, red-eyed IT Guy. Who has just ridden 100 miles.

Those of you who have done it know: completing your first offroad century is a big deal.

And it’s a lot of fun to see someone else do it, too.


  1. Comment by chtrich | 05.9.2011 | 12:05 pm

    really, 173.6…….ooch

  2. Comment by Scott R | 05.9.2011 | 12:15 pm

    Congrats IT Guy!

  3. Comment by Jake Buckner | 05.9.2011 | 12:21 pm

    Congrats to the IT Guy, that’s a great accomplishment.

  4. Comment by Scott M | 05.9.2011 | 12:28 pm

    Love the sculpted hair style

  5. Comment by MattC | 05.9.2011 | 12:49 pm

    Aaaahhhh yes…the coveted HELMET HAIR look. But don’t despair IT guy…showing up in any decent establishment sporting said HH look (along w/ various crusted salt deposits on your face) is a mighty badge of honor, much akin to having dried blood on your on legs or arms. None of that stuff comes cheap. You pay for these badges dearly, and w/ even a quick glance all true cyclist’s know that. Relish those moments. When I looked up the word ‘epic’ in the dictionary this morning, it had your picture.

  6. Comment by Kid Rock | 05.9.2011 | 12:54 pm

    That is a terrible name, but Yes the IT guy did awesome. He was very impressive. He is going to do very well in Leadville.

  7. Comment by Greg Furry | 05.9.2011 | 1:06 pm

    Cool you got a shot of a stealth fighter in your pano shot! (near the sun) Watch out of black sedans outside your house for the next few hours.

  8. Comment by KM | 05.9.2011 | 1:28 pm

    So, who ended up with the daisy?

  9. Comment by Clydesteve | 05.9.2011 | 1:29 pm

    1. Way to go, IT Guy!
    2. Lisa – Considering the unfortunate loss of your legs, I am doubly impressed at your 1st place finish. Losing weight (albeit in a somewhat radical manner) always seems to help, even if you start out slim. (Not that I would know about starting out slim.)
    3. Fatty – I lost 3 pounds on a 100 km road ride Saturday. And I ate a Hostess cherry pie during the ride. Dude, you are doing something wrong! Or, did you get the monster cookies I sent?

  10. Comment by blair | 05.9.2011 | 1:59 pm

    Arrowhead water sport-top bottles used to be a perfect fit in a cage, too. So much so that I used to refill them for weeks on end, and toss them only when they developed holes. Then they changed them to a curvy shape and a thinner plastic, completely useless on a bike. I don’t think I’ve bought their water since.

    As for food, yeah, any time you’re burning off 8,000 calories in a day, it’s pretty irrelevant where they come from, as long as at least 1,000 come from water.

  11. Comment by skippy | 05.9.2011 | 2:12 pm

    A grey sack that i picked up at the Vuelta Espama in 1999 is and always remains packed ready to bungy strap to the TT bars on my bike .
    Winter or summer i will borrow things from the sack but immediately replace them or put out a sign to remind me of the item borrowed .
    Imagine my surprise to arrive on the Giro del Trentino without my race shoes , they are not a part of the sack and i had to step over them to get out the door .
    Sad to report the passing of “Wouter” who ragged me last friday at the Team Presentation in Torino . The descent from Passo Boco was tight,steep , narrow and bumpy . I had decided not to ride back up this climb after passing through at midday as i could see that traffic going up would endanger any ascending riders on the corners .

  12. Comment by olej | 05.9.2011 | 2:36 pm

    This is an awesome post making me really beat myself that I didn’t push it and skipped Moab being only about 150 miles away two weeks ago on a road trip in Utah. Darn. I will have to come back ;-)

    BUT! The attached picture is a screen shot of the fatty’s FB post and the exactly next one in my timeline. A-MAZ-ING! ;-))))fatty_fb.png

  13. Comment by aussie kev | 05.9.2011 | 2:43 pm

    pringles — double awesome !!

  14. Comment by skippy | 05.9.2011 | 3:02 pm

    Johan Bruyneel just posted regarding Wouter http://johanbruyneel.com/blog/wouter_weylandt.html

    Last year this was Wouter on Stage 3 of the Giro !


    Unbelievable , isn’t life strange ?

  15. Comment by Ben | 05.9.2011 | 4:50 pm

    I agree whole heartedly with the Nut Roll and the Zingers. The the Bit-O-Honey shows both strong dental work and questionable taste, Honeystinger it is not.

  16. Comment by Tanner | 05.9.2011 | 6:35 pm

    I guess having a support vehicle makes it easier. We did it self supported the same day starting about an hour behind you and I can assure you that the wind was a problem for more than a couple hours and it was not warm it was down right hot.

  17. Comment by db | 05.9.2011 | 7:26 pm

    Good call on the Bit-o-Honey, but you somehow neglected to grab any PopTarts.

  18. Comment by Maggi | 05.9.2011 | 7:52 pm

    Congrats to the IT Guy on his first off-road century! What an achievement — good for him!

  19. Comment by Stephen | 05.9.2011 | 8:54 pm

    Silverlight? Really? People actually use Microsoft lame last-ditch efforts at being relevant?

  20. Comment by Jesse | 05.9.2011 | 9:19 pm

    Congrats to the IT guy! I looked like that after just 25 miles here yesterday.

    And I’m sad to say, I’ll be in Draper and Lehi tomorrow for work, within a mile or two of all of the fantastic mountain biking I’ve been reading about here for years, with no time or bike to ride them. Next time I’ll have to swing the work trip over a weekend.

  21. Comment by Debi | 05.9.2011 | 9:28 pm

    Congratulations Runner, IT Guy, Fatty and Kid Rock. Awesome blog about your ride. IT Guy did well and he should be proud.

    I’m glad you found some food before both left on your ride. You gotta’ be like Santa: He’s making a list; And [he's] checking it twice. ;-)

    Again, congratulations.

  22. Comment by Jenn | 05.9.2011 | 11:52 pm

    Um….you keep energy bars in your bedroom?!?! Sorry I had to go there…it was just too funny to me to pass up. ;o)

  23. Comment by Mike Roadie | 05.10.2011 | 5:02 am

    Great job to The IT Guy.

    News flash: Gatorade bottles fit snuggly in bottle cages!


  24. Comment by Jenni | 05.10.2011 | 6:05 am

    First congrats to the IT guy on his first century. Second, it looks like his head will also fit perfectly into a bottle cage with the Gatorade bottle.

    I applaud the food choices, especially the potato chips.

  25. Comment by Angie | 05.10.2011 | 7:21 am

    Wow, Impressive. I have done 100 on the road, but never on the trails. Must try it some time. I’m glad you guys can share biking as a family.

  26. Comment by Janey | 05.10.2011 | 7:38 am

    Ha.. I was cheering for the Runner!!
    Nothing better than a family day in the desert. Love the little blond dino guy. Your daughters must be having fun being aunts.

  27. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 05.10.2011 | 8:33 am

    And later, the vomiting begins.

  28. Comment by cece | 05.10.2011 | 10:56 am

    You go Lisa! And congrats to the IT Guy!

    Just an aside and I have to laugh, I think Fatty’s post about his dream and cycling in hell will forever be etched in my memory! Our Famous Bosque Trail which goes along the Rio Grande River here in Albuquerque…. just finished it re-paving after creating many a flat tire,,,and each time I ride it, on it’s smooth pristine surface, I think of that dream!

  29. Comment by Richard | 05.10.2011 | 11:18 am

    What no Fatty gear for Kid Rock?

  30. Comment by Bryan (not that one) | 05.10.2011 | 12:15 pm

    Dang! Jenn beat me to it. I had the EXACT same thought.

  31. Comment by Dan O | 05.10.2011 | 12:24 pm

    IT Guy post ride picture – fantastic. The result of some serious rolling – nice job.

  32. Comment by Linda | 05.10.2011 | 2:53 pm

    1. Where is the picture of you all jumping in the air? Or a picture taken above you as you are lying in a circle? Have you learned nothing from your sister’s excellent photographic exhibits?
    2. Love the helmet head.
    3. Congrats to all on 100 miles!

  33. Comment by Grego | 05.19.2011 | 4:04 am

    Sounds like an awesome trip!

    Congrats to the IT Guy – there’s some real pain in that pic and it’s a joy to see :o)


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