I headed down with my 3 yr old daughter on Friday afternoon, and set up camp with my sister and two nieces. Our campground sucked, but we had some good times nonetheless. RAWROD was great, but the laughs shared with my little girl over the weekend were just as unforgettable. I was able to sneak away on Friday night to hang out with friends and eat some brats. I've been looking forward to the ride since last year's epic RAWROD with Fish, and this year did not disappoint. To summarize, I clocked 101.1 miles, 8:35 ride time, and a lot of sitting around an hanging out time. In addition to quite a few solo miles, I rode at least half of the route with Ryan, and also had some shorter stretches with Mad Dog Kieth, Rick, and a bunch of others. You'll find a bunch of good write-ups out in the blogosphere, but here are a few of my observations.
People say that clockwise is easier, and they might be right if you were to start at White Crack Campground, pound out the three major climbs early, and then ride on cruise control for the last 65 miles. However, riding Murphy's, Hardscrabble, and Horsethief in the last 35 miles is brutal.
My legs felt like they were going to cramp from mile 1 to mile 30. I thought it was the effects of fighting off a cold, but I'm pretty sure it was just the chilly weather. My heartrate was quite a bit higher than my perceived level of exertion for miles 30-80, and I'm still pretty sure that this is due to fighting off a cold and lack of sleep the night before.
The last 13 miles from hardscrabble to the camp were about the toughest I can remember on a bike. The only thing that may compare was when Chad and I road home from Deer Valley via Mid Mountain and Crest after doing the race last year. I tried blaming my difficulty on the wind, the lack of sleep, etc., but realized it was really because my longest ride of the year up to that point was 3 hours. Duh. Thanks to Ryan for pulling me to the bottom of Horsethief. I got a little grumpy during those last few miles, cursing whoever it was at the top of Hardscrabble that said we only had 10 miles till the camp, when in reality it was over 11 miles just to get to the bottom Horsethief where the fun really begins.
Here are some pics from the trip, mas o menos in chronological order:
Ryan and I before the Shafer decent:
Ryan and Rick:
Fish and Me... I didn't ride enough with the Fish this year. Last year, Fish and I rode just about the entire loop together, and that ride scored a 10 out of 10:
I had never seen one of these in the wild before RAWROD '08:
Great vistas were not hard to come by:
I'm pretty sure this is from the top of Hardscrabble:
This is what I look like after getting up early and riding till dinner. Piece of cake:
Here's Chad bringing it home. I've never actually seen Chad take it easy like he did during RAWROD. I actually was doubting that Chad actually knew how to take it easy during a ride:
I thought this pic was interesting. The day after RAWROD, we visited Canyonlands by car. This is the view from the top, looking down on the White Rim. You can faintly make out the trail meandering next to the cliffs:
Stay tuned... Within the next day or two, I'm going to give you an invitation you won't want to miss...