Meet the Gravel Bike Adventures duo, Laura and Rose! Two women all about finding adventure and encouraging others get out and explore by helping them feel informed, included and confident on their next bike adventure. Laura and Rose curated four of their favorite gravel routes of all time to share with the Machines community! Route 01 is White Rim, their ultimate bucket list ride. Stay tuned for their next adventure, and be sure to save these routes for the next time you're looking for a fun adventure!
Are you looking for a truly EPIC gravel adventure? THIS IS IT! Completing the 100-mile White Rim route on Canyon Land’s jeep roads in one day is an accomplishment that you will never forget. It took us several hours of planning and research, just the right day and weather, plus some real determination and our most adventurous spirit. We biked for 13 hours (using literally every bit of daylight, from sunrise to sunset!), and during every minute we were surrounded by the breathtakingly beautiful Utah landscape that few others in the world get the opportunity to experience.
Expect all sorts of technical challenges from rutted roads, bumpy slick rock, evil sand, steep lung-crushing accents and scary descents. We must admit, it was pretty thrilling to get head-turns and thumbs up from jeepers and campers amazed by three unsupported women taking on such a tough challenge on gravel bikes!
During the day we went through a wide range of emotions from nervousness, excitement, fear, joy, confidence, doubt and finally, elation and pride at the fact that we made it back to the car just as the sun slipped below the horizon. If you have ever thought about taking on this route, start planning and training now. It is so worth it - truly the experience of a lifetime!
- Organization was KEY! We did all the prep work with getting day permits, contacting the park ranger for road conditions, researching previous trip reports, keeping on top of weather / wind conditions, and stocking up on ride supplies.
- No bike mechanical issues or major injuries throughout the entire ride (which ended up being key because we used every second of daylight to finish in time).
- The vast views cannot be overstated. It’s hard to put words to the experience and beauty of White Rim. It feels spiritual, lonely, exhilarating, gorgeous, and made us feel lucky to be alive all at once.
- Enjoying the experience of other riders doing double takes as they saw three unsupported women on gravel bikes, powering over slick rock terrain!
- The euphoria of actually completing such an epic bucket-list ride just in the nick of time as daylight slid behind the canyon wall. Our timing was impeccable: perfect weather, minimal wind, blue sky, high of 55º, no mud, snow or ice on the road.
- SAND, !#*@ing SAND and scary steep descents! (Laura may have had a few wipe outs due to some deep sand sections and Rose definitely chickened out and walked some downhill stretches!)
- 50% of the ride felt like a typical gravel road. The other 50% was definitely very rocky and bumpy. Riding a gravel bike with no suspension slowed us down on the downhills in comparison to the mountain bikers.
- Early starts. We had to begin at 7:00 am to finish in time and the starting temperature was 34º which was quite chilly. This made our decision to start at Mineral Bottom and bike up hill for 20 miles a great choice.
- TOUGH miles. Miles 50-75 were really hard miles because of steep inclines which forced us to walk our bikes. This led us to have mid-ride doubts about whether we could actually complete the ride.
Do this ride if: you have the perfect window between when the snow melts and before it gets too hot. It’s imperative that you and your bike are in tip-top shape. Take the research and planning seriously to ensure safety and success in completing White Rim in a day.
Take Aways (what we learned):DON’T underestimate the difficulty of this ride! It’s not only physically exhausting but also mentally challenging to do White Rim in a day. The lack of support, cell phone service, other riders/hikers around makes it scary and risky. We realize we had a lot of good luck to accomplish this feat without a hitch.
— There is no water anywhere along the ride but there are about 8 outhouses for bathroom breaks when needed. We each took a 2-3 liter Camelbak and two large water bottles with Skratch in them and did not run out of water (but it was not a hot day either).
— Although it is bad ass to do this ride on a gravel bike, if we were to do it again, we would probably want suspension bikes with a few more gears. This would allow us more time to stop and enjoy the scenery and we wouldn’t have felt every bump on the road!
— Ride with a good group of people (three people minimum in case of emergency). It’s important to have everyone on the same page about the ride and to have great communication about expectations and fears. We were really glad to have our good friend Laura Martel with us for this epic journey! When the going gets tough…laugh, cry, kick your bike, and get back up and keep pedaling!
— Driving directions on where to start — We did this ride clockwise and began from the Mineral Bottom Parking Lot/Campground which is 13 miles down BLM Road 129 from the turn off of 313. (There is an bathroom/out house at this location.)