As the sun was setting on 2021, my good friends Greg and Nikki – people who constantly seek out adventures – invited me on one more trip before cold winter conditions reared their ugly head. In a year that contained a lot of personal firsts, they asked if I wanted to ride the White Rim Road in Moab. This was my first year of backpacking, so most routes were still unfamiliar to me and almost every trail is as exciting as the next. The only thing I knew about the White Rim was that it’s located in Moab – an area that always yields stunning photos. In a world that feels pre-apocalyptic, sometimes a weekend bike ride, with a focus on the shutter button, helps to reset my appreciation for life. Saying goodbye to the shitshow that was 2021, this ride was a time to reflect on what a struggle the year was for me, individually (and for everyone else), and how bikes and photography contributed to keeping me afloat mentally.
The White Rim Trail outside of Moab UT. is one of the most beautiful trails in the USA, unless you’re at White Rim trying to set a FKT (Fastest Known Time) on a mountain bike. That is when it becomes a torturous desert filled with endless miles of bone-jarring rock, sandpits, and a seemingly endless climb out of the canyon floor at mile 87 that simply takes your breath away.
Southern California’s Jared Lozonne ( @slothracing ) shares his vision quest after accepting a challenge from us to do the legendary White Rim Trail outside of Moab Utah…on flat pedals! You heard that correctly. Many have tried to earn a FKT on this trail, but none to our knowledge have attempted the grueling 100-mile ride on flat pedals. Jared, armed with almost a gallon of hydration, a pair of high-top Vans shoes, and a set of Yoshimura Chilao pedals sets out to establish a time for all others to come and take on the Flat Pedal Challenge.
Yoshimura has hand-crafted a one-of-a-kind Flat Pedal Challenge trophy that is to be passed to those that can break Jared’s time (kind of like the Stanly Cup). Join Jared on his quest to set the bar for all those who accept the challenge.
Here’s a sentence that’s sure to resonate: It’s been over a year since I booked a flight and the idea of taking a trip was just a little scary. The last time I’d flown was another bike trip with my partner Cameron and close friend Yuhnke. Our flight back from the Baja Divide had been delayed due to airport shutdowns on the dawn of the pandemic.
While we understand the competitive nature of bikepacking races and fastest-known time attempts and records, we still love the chiller pace of bicycle touring and a different kind of FKT. Kody and company clearly set the record for the Funnest Known Time on the White Rim!
Check out a few stills from this video below.
Fastest Known Time (FKT) attempts have become a pandemic special. When the normal schedule of bike racing is either put on hold or thinned out, many pros look to whet their whistle taking on their own psyche. Keegan Swenson returns to the White Rim Trail to beat the FKT in this video.
Covid has brought about new fastest known time records on various trails. Last week, we received an announcement of Kurt and Kait setting new FKT on the Kokopelli, and this week the mighty White Rim had a new FKT set by Peter Stetina.
Before I begin to tell you about my trip along the White Rim Trail, I’d like talk about the rising popularity of bike packing and other two-wheeled exploration. With the current events surrounding “The Death of The Oregon Outback” I feel the responsibility to say a little something about wilderness etiquette. It might seem like common sense, but we have an ever-growing responsibility to this earth and the wild places we’d like to keep wild. Be it car camping, back packing, or bike packing – please always clean up after yourself and even the visitors who came before you. Do not leave campsites as you found them, leave them cleaner! I’d also suggest taking the same approach on rides as well. Take care of your own trash, but go a step farther and pick up everything you see. And always stay on designated roads and trails. Fragile ecosystems don’t need you making things any harder.
When Golden Saddle Cyclery first opened one of our customers told me about a 100 mile bike ride in the Island In The Sky portion of Canyonlands National Park. I had just been in the park a week before, but without a bike so I was especially interested in hearing about the ride. As a big fan of the area, and the desert in general, I returned for a handful of visits before finally bringing along a bike this past March. And let me tell you, it wasn’t until riding the White Rim Trail that I felt like I had really experienced this magnificent place.