Biking the White Rim Trail, Canyonlands, Utah

[Southwest USA]

One of the classic mountain bike trips is the White Rim trail in Canyonlands. I went with a Denver outfitter and had no idea how challenging it would be. The first day was the most extreme physical demand I’ve ever put on myself. It was only 29 miles, but took ten hours, and every second of it on rough dirt and rock. We started with a 1200 foot drop and I had a sinking feeling within a half hour that I was in way over my head.

Controlling the bike meant huge vigilance and the use of strange muscles and body parts. That evening, I felt almost psychotic in my physical and mental exhaustion. I hardly slept – it was a night of delirium and nightmares as I recreated the earlier day all night long.

But the next day was easier, and I started to get the hang of it. The following days were fun as I learned how to ride.