This weekend will be the second in my annual R2R2R hikes. Last December I hiked across the Grand Canyon and back, and earlier this year decided that it, along with riding the White Rim in a day, would be benchmarks I’d set for myself every year.
I did the White Rim back in October, and suffered quite a bit. Running out of water (snore) as it got clear and hot later in the day conspired with a lack of conditioning (new bike) to make things quite a bit harder than I wished. Harder than the first time I rode it, in March of ’05, on a cyclocross bike.
This unencouraging start provides the background for my trepidation. The R3 hike involves more suffering, all things being equal, than the White Rim, which is usually a hard thing to look forward to. One of the purposes of writing here is to say as much, and ensure that I do it regardless of how much sleep I lose the night before.
Because (noticing a theme?) my training hasn’t been what I’d like, my goal is to take this one easy. Last year it took fifteen hours. This year I’m going to start much earlier, bring more food, and plan on spending more like 18 hours on the trail. LSD, time on the feet, and a kickstart for next year. The Red Hot 50k in February will be too early in the training cycle to race, even against myself. The plan will still be distance and efficiency, having a good day out without killing myself (and messing with my knees).
The question at this point is sleep and weather. I might be kidding myself thinking that I’ll sleep well the night before, and Sunday has a good chance of snow high and rain at the river. So I may be driving up starting at midnight Saturday, hoping to make it back before the El Tovar cocktail lounge closes. If last year is any indication, I won’t be able or want to walk much the day after.