I rode about 60% of the Rim Ride course. Initial thoughts? Ouch.
This is going to be a burner. I think finishers are going to be few. This is not a dirt road laden hundie. It is one techy trail after another. There are a few reprives here and there, but for the most part you have to pay attention, or else you will find yourself kissing the slickrock.
It was a lot of fun spending the day out there with some new folks. Fred has strung together a massive epic. I will admit, it left me pretty intimidated. At this point I am leaning toward doing the race, although last night I felt otherwise. I am just not sure I can resist the siren song of a Moab epic. Regardless of how difficult it may be.
Route finding was not a big issue. Fred was with us, but he sort of let us pick our way along, if we missed a turn he’d let us know, and then he’d mark the turn better. The cue sheet is key. Learn it and use it. Also learn to watch for small blue ribbons scattered throughout the course. These are your friends, and evidence that you are on the same path Fred designated.
Why do I think finishers will be few? Darkness. If you are not to the Gold Bar Rim turn off by 4 or 5 PM, you stand a good chance at having to pick your way through the most difficult part of the route in the dark. Even good lights will not be of much use. The route finding is hard, and the riding extremely slow and technical.
Planing on ridding SS? I was geared 32×18 on my 29er. I needed 32×20. I think it would have made a big difference for me.
Overall, this is going to be a huge undertaking. It’s a difficult route, that gets harder the further you go. Fred designed it that way. The views up high on these various rims are spectacular, and worth the trouble to get up them. But again, this is going to rough. Maybe to rough? That is what is both pushing me away and pulling me in.
I snapped a bunch of photos, you can see the whole album here
Here is one of my favorites. It is taken from up on the Gold Bar Rim singletrack (blue dot trail). You can see Moab far below, and the La Sals in the distance.