By Peta Owens-Liston
White Rim Trail Boot Camp
It’s not Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Atkins Diet, nor is it fasting or going gluten-free, or whatever the latest trend is for weight-loss. It’s about sweat, perseverance, and pacing yourself. Riding the White Rim Trail was a three-day fitness boot camp that allowed you to eat BIG while kicking your butt into the next size down jeans. This doesn’t necessarily need to be your main reason for pedaling three or four days through eye-feasting red rock panoramas, it just happens to be one of the benefits of such an excursion. It is both a reaffirming and firming experience for the soul and thighs, respectfully.
One of the best parts of a guided White Rim trip is the food.
Cooked for you. Second helpings. No dishes. Dessert too. Second helpings again. Blueberry pancakes, sizzling fajitas, over-stuffed sandwiches, strawberry shortcake, and handfuls of GORP dance upon your tastebuds, bow to your appetite, and then twirl off the ends of your toes as you push pedal for the next 20-plus miles over dirt, sand, and slick-rock. A calorie is fleeting—simply just delicious tasting fuel, that goes in, then out.
When I rode the White Rim Trail my intention was to escape the speed of life for a while and slow down to a pedal pace. Catch my breath and take a look around inward and outward. My intention was not to lose weight; no need to do so as I already come from skinny “genes” and a high-metabolism family tree. But my body did change over those three days. It was sort of a good news/bad news realization. One of my favorite pair of pants—some slick looking, black slacks—fit my thighs like a stocking after my return. I had no back-up outfits for the purpose these pants served.
“It’s about sweat, perseverance, and pacing yourself.”
At first disappointed, a glance at my thighs assured me that maybe I did have it in me to tackle some of the recreational/fitness goals I had been putting off—riding the canyons surrounding the city, a back-country skiing excursion, some extended trail runs. So next time my husband asked me if I wanted to join him and a few buddies cycling up a canyon, I accepted holding back on my usual response: “I’ll never keep up, you guys go ahead.”
I attribute this notch up the fitness pole to our final humbling ascent out of the White Rim, on the last day. It was my slow, determined, climb up the Shafer Switchbacks—some 1,000-feet of elevation gain—that is to blame…or credit. Seared forever into my mind as a stunningly scenic, thigh-burning memory.
Peta Owens-Liston is a writer and editor with extensive experience in magazine writing and marketing communications writing. Publications she has written for: TIME Magazine, Sports Illustrated for Women, Organic Style, Paddler, Redbook, Via, KUER/NPR affiliate (radio essays), Park City Magazine, Salt Lake City Magazine, The Salt Lake Tribune to mention a few.