Trip Report: Colcord to The Rim (Shakedown Ride)

October 02, 2020

If you know me, then you know I love taking any plans I have and figuring out how to add a physically or logistically difficult endeavor on top of that.

So since we had a family camping trip planned for somehwere up on top of the Mogollon Rim I was thinking, “How could I ride my bike there?” My first idea was to get a super early start on the day and ride all the way from Payson (including pushing my bike up the Rim from Washington Park), but timing forced me to scrap that. I settled on this route starting at Colcord Road which meanders over to Young-Heber road before taking Rim Road over to the camping spot.

Close up of the loaded up Bridge Club

The Stuff

Even though I was going to have access to a car for my stuff, my goal was to pack everything I would need for the weekend on my bike. A quick list off that I’m not doing to double-check to confirm:

  • Bedrock Coconino seat bag
  • Revelate Harness + 20L Sea to Summit dry bag
  • Revelate Tangle frame bag
  • Revelate Mountain feed bag
  • Revelate MagTank
  • RoadRunner Auto-Pilot stem bag
  • Kelty Cosmic 20deg sleeping bag
  • Nemo Hornet 2p tent
  • Therm-a-Rest NeoAir
  • Misc bike tools + pump
  • Clothes!
  • Food! (I think I brought enough for 2.5 days but I cheated and ate a bunch from the misc coolers and drank some ice cold Topo Chicos)
  • Stove + gas + titanium pot + mug
  • Water filtration + bladder (went unused since we brought two 7 gallon refills in the car)
  • King Cage ManyThing Cages for tent/food/water
  • Widefoot Liter cage
  • Ultralight dry bag with food that I wore a bunch of holes in by strapping it to a metal cage

Close up of the loaded up Bridge Club

The Ride

We ran a little bit late getting out of the valley because that happens every single time. I was thinking the ride would take me about 3h30m and I got on the road at about 3:15pm and civil twilight ended at 6:41pm so I knew I was going to be racing daylight no matter what.

The crux of the climbing comes in a 4.3mi / 1239ft climb and I was not ready for that on a loaded bike. I walked my bike on many of the steeper sections or when my legs couldn’t take it anymore. I ended up averaging 3.5mph.

After the climb I hit the paved section of the highway and it was clear that this wasn’t going to help me make up anytime. The sun was setting.

Sunset, uh oh

I didn’t have great service but I texted my wife something like this not knowing if she was going to get it or not:

Hey, don’t worry I brought lights but if you do want to drive the 7 miles along Rim Road to come get me I wouldn’t be opposed

But I kept trudging along until I got to Rim Road and decided to stay on the paved portion as long as I could instead of going on Old Rim Road.

I made it to where the road transitions to dirt but sections of it are basically sand. Another thing I underestimated was how much traffic there would be on the road on Friday night. Cars and trucks with trailers were zipping by kicking up a lot of dust and forcing me over to the side where the dirt/sand was making me go even slower.

And then in a stroke of luck, I hit a really bad section of dirt sand and had to walk for second just as a friend who was camping with us drove by in his truck. He turned around asked if I was still having fun, to which I responded with “Please help me put my bike in your truck”

The Stats

Here’s a map of my final route (see if you can spot the two wrong turns) with a big X of where I should’ve ended up.

I can’t imagine how I would’ve felt or how long it would’ve taken me to get there in the dark, with all those cars, and the road conditions being so much harder to ride than I expected.

Strava map of the ride

And I didn’t even realize until after the ride, but I nailed my timing prediction within a few minutes (just ended up 6.5 miles short 😂).

Stats, stats, stats, stats: 21.57 miles, 3:02:57 moving time, 2487ft elevation, 3:33:13 elapsed time

The Lessons

  • It’s going to take a lot longer to get miles on a loaded bike until I get some more fitness
  • Road conditions matter a lot even when it’s flat
  • Really glad I didn’t push my bike up Washington Park

Up Next

I’m planing a real-life weekend bikepacking trip and hoping to apply the lessons I learned here by limiting daily mileage based on elevation gain and road conditions. Not sure exactly when or where yet but I’m excited. 🎉