Payson McElveen Crushes the 100 Mile White Rim Record

Mar 28, 2019 at 14:34
by Red Bull Bike  
Payson McElveen Crushes the 100 Mile White Rim Record Red Bull Content Pool Photo

After a fantastic season opener win at the Landrun 100, Payson McElveen decided to tackle one of the most iconic records in American cycling: the White Rim Trail. On Wednesday, March 27th at 7:39AM McElveen charged through the start line on his Orange Seal Off-road Trek Top Fuel and sprinted deep into Canyonlands National Park for a near six hour sufferfest in an effort to break Andy Dorais fastest known time of 5:59:34. McElveen rolled across the finish line in an incredible 5:45:16.

bigquotesThe only way to get better is to explore your boundaries, and I knew tackling this epic loop as fast I could would push me to my absolute limit. Also, as long as I can remember, the payoff of effort and struggle has brought incredible happiness to my life. If I’m in a beautiful place, I just naturally find myself wanting to see what’s around the next turn or over the next rise. Those places seems to call for us to give our full effort—it feels natural to celebrate these places by giving nothing but your very best.Payson McElveen

Payson McElveen Crushes the 100 Mile White Rim Record Red Bull Content Pool Photo

bigquotesThe training process for this FKT attempt in some ways has lasted my entire riding career, but my coach and I definitely dialed in specific training starting about four months ago. I did more 5+ hour rides this winter than the rest of my years riding a bike combined. I also was racing time a bit, as a nagging tricep tear added a challenging rehab element. That arm still isn’t at 100%, but thanks to diligent strength work at Red Bull’s High Performance Center and back home in Durango, it recovered just enough to get through all the miles of bumpy rocks on the course.

The mental side also posed a unique challenge. I’ve done plenty of long races, but when you’re going head-to-head with other athletes, the races ebb and flow and keep you constantly engaged. A solo time trial effort of this duration was something totally new for me, and required another level of focus. Letting up for even just a few minutes could’ve made the difference between success and failure.
Payson McElveen


Payson McElveen Crushes the 100 Mile White Rim Record Red Bul C
Payson McElveen Crushes the 100 Mile White Rim Record Red Bull Content Pool Photo

Payson McElveen Crushes the 100 Mile White Rim Record Red Bull Content Pool Photo

bigquotesA high was definitely getting to my first checkpoint 13 miles in and being over three minutes ahead. That set the tone, and was important for me mentally. Riding a few hundred yards with a heard of wild horses was memorable, too. I tried to harness some of their power and confidence in that heinous environment. I felt so good for the first four hours, unstoppable. I actually had to keep yelling at myself to slow down and adhere to our pacing strategy. The low was literally and figuratively hitting a wall in the last hour. The 2,200 foot climb out of the canyons broke me physically and almost mentally. I had to dig deeper than I ever have. I was using every mental strategy I’d learned, and the support of my team, dad, sponsors, film crew, and spectators that had shown up helped lift me to the finish. Rolling across the finish to the welcome party and sharing hugs after all that went in to this was an enormous highlight. Also drinking just about every type of cold beverage and laying the dirt for 20 minutes was up there, too.Payson McElveen

Payson McElveen Crushes the 100 Mile White Rim Record Red Bull Content Pool Photo
Payson McElveen Crushes the 100 Mile White Rim Record Red Bull Content Pool Photo

bigquotesOne of the goals of the project was to standardize an FKT loop. The way Andy routed his, by starting at the bottom of the last major climb, is undoubtedly a faster way to do it. However, I believe that way is logistically prohibitive for a lot of people. We wanted to start and end at the most commonly used parking lot. I hope this project might inspire more folks to get out and enjoy this beautiful place, whether it’s going for the FKT or enjoying it over the course of multiple days. If you’d like to go after my record, I’d recommend planning your ride when wind and surface conditions are the most favorable. Also definitely ride a full-suspension. Holy bumpiness. Also remember that if you’re pacing it correctly, the first 50 miles really shouldn’t feel very hard. Have a well-thought-out fueling strategy. I ate 300 calories per hour, which requires eating almost every 20-30 minutes. We’re having an official FKT trophy being made, so if you go beat my time using the same start and end point, I’ll ship it to you. Records are made to be broken, so I hope the trophy exchanges hands many times!Payson McElveen

Payson McElveen Crushes the 100 Mile White Rim Record Red Bull Content Pool Photo
Payson McElveen Crushes the 100 Mile White Rim Record Red Bull Content Pool Photo

bigquotesMy dad (Mike McElveen) introduced me to the bike, and though he never pushed me to chase racing or goals, always supported my dreams. In the twenty years we’ve been riding together, there are just too many memories to keep track of. Directly and indirectly, the bike has shaped and guided my life. Both he and my mother Kathy have been adventurers most of their lives, and it’s permeated my family's history. They are my greatest heroes, and remain the people I most want to be like. It was unfortunate that my mom couldn’t make it on this trip, but having my dad there was incredibly special, and gave all the inspiration I needed to give a true, full effort.Payson McElveen

Payson McElveen Crushes the 100 Mile White Rim Record Red Bull Content Pool Photo

bigquotesLuckily I have a bit of break now from racing! I think I may drive up in to the mountains of Durango and try to enjoy my backyard for a few days. That’s not something I get to do often enough. Following that, the van and I will be road tripping to Prescott, AZ for the Whiskey Off-road at the end of April.Payson McElveen


MENTIONS: @redbullbike



96 Comments

  • + 86
 With that stache and that jersey how could he possibly fail? I can hear Kenny Loggins in the background just looking at him.
  • - 12
flag WAKIdesigns (Mar 28, 2019 at 15:34) (Below Threshold)
 Playing with the boys
  • + 11
 Just thought it cool that my hometown race the Landrun 100 was mentioned. Although I've never raced it the thought of grinding my taint off on 100 miles of gravel just bores me to death.
  • + 12
 Agreed. It’s all in the mustache.
  • + 18
 He said this ride pushed him to the limit. Presumably he spent some time in the Danger Zone then.
  • + 1
 If he shaved the tache, he would probably have saved 6 seconds.
  • + 3
 @oevets4130: but is it worth 6 seconds?
  • + 14
 @MrJimLahey: As it turns out, Kenny Loggins was blasting in my ears at hour five.
  • + 2
 @paysonmcelveen: Excellent choice. Epic ride too, congratulations.
  • + 58
 260 WATTS FOR 5 3/4 HOURS !!??!! what an animal
  • + 18
 and holding over 17mph avg when that is hard on 100 mile road ride!
  • + 5
 insane
  • + 2
 @MrDiamondDave: it's pretty difficult on a 15-mile road ride!
  • + 34
 Do y'all ever think about how amazing humans are? We can be absolute bags of shit or people who Chase and realize our dreams .. Ultimately life is an illusion. You make it what you want...And although we can connect once in a while everything that ever happens outside the physical is controlled by our brain...
  • - 1
 Some wild assumptions there.
  • + 12
 "The low was literally and figuratively hitting a wall in the last hour."

So did he actually ride straight into a wall? I feel like that's a part of the story that should be elaborated on more...
  • + 4
 I think he was talking about the 2200ft climb at the end
  • + 1
 Sooo, like, he literally climbed a wall?..on his bike?
  • + 0
 So you guys never hit the wall?

If not go out and ride your bike, go hard, eventually you will find your wall.
  • + 4
 @Rabbii: I am happy to only have hit it figuratively.
  • + 8
 "The low was literally and figuratively hitting a wall in the last hour. The 2,200 foot climb out of the canyons broke me physically and almost mentally. I had to dig deeper than I ever have."

Been there man. Doing the White Rim in a day on a singlespeed was one of the dumbest rides I've ever done. My buddy completely fell apart on that climb and had to hitchhike out. To his credit he rode it again the next spring.

BTW I carried 200 oz of water to do that ride because there is a whole lot of nothing out there. it isn't fair he could do it with two water bottles and a support vehicle. I want a support vehicle Frown
  • + 32
 There was no support vehical. I was part of the film crew and his attempt at the FKT was 100 percent self supported. No feeds, water drops, nothing. What a beast
  • + 6
 @bskraushaar: Well that is just insane / not human. I wonder what hydration product he used.
  • + 8
 @bskraushaar: Wait so he did the whole ride on just two bottles??
  • - 14
flag OnTheRivet (Mar 28, 2019 at 17:53) (Below Threshold)
 You could have 80 support vehicles and Payson (the guy wearing the National Champs jersey) would still crush you. Hell, I'd probably do a faster time than you.
  • + 2
 That’s right. Just two bottles, no spare tube. Just pure drive and grit. @kdstones:
  • + 3
 Red Bull of course!! Haha @Sycip69er:
  • + 3
 @bskraushaar: he said he ate 300 calories an hour... he didn't carry that in 2 bottles..
  • + 6
 @lumpy873: Nope, carried that in a lot of chews, bars, and gels.
  • + 1
 @paysonmcelveen: support or not.. Freaking bad ass! \m/
  • + 8
 RAD! did this ride with my 9 & 12 year old daughters plus 6 other kids and their parents this fall. Took us 4 days and it was bad ass. The terrain is not easy and it can be sandy, rocky but oh so fun. Was awesome to share this record with the kids and my daughter said, "hmm that means I could get that Trophy", Thanks for the inspiration Payson!!
  • + 5
 Congrats Payson! Truly a badass achievement! Similar to Leadville, As a Moab local I've seen fast times come down from 8 hours to now sub 6 in the last 20 years. While wind, weather & trail conditions play a big part in any FKT, I don't believe this should be the defacto -"standard" route. No matter what direction you choose, or what starting point, you're still doing the 100 miles & same amount of climbing. Certainly there's strategy involved but that's the beauty of this challenge = figure out what works best for you on your chosen day and GiveR! Your trophy idea is super cool, but your rules are a little biased IMO. Bring on the challengers! Cheers!
  • - 1
 It's actuallyonly a little over 96 miles with the cut off. Just saying.
  • + 11
 For sure. I get that perspective, and we went back and forth on it. We kept going back to making it as relatable as possible, which to us meant using the most commonly used start and end point. Getting down to the bottom of Schafer to start the loop there poses some logistical challenges for most people. Honestly the FKT aspect of this project is just one component, with the bigger picture being a celebration of the amazing place.
  • + 2
 @Lugers: You cut the course? Did HB teach you that move?
  • + 3
 Amazing job Payson! I think your record is going to stand for a while. It's almost too bad that the route isn't 3/10 of a mile longer to make it an even 100!

I am a little bit older than you with young boys of my own, and that picture of your dad hugging you made me tear up just a little bit.

I was just trying to taunt my friend Sevenoff by pointing out the cut off.@paysonmcelveen:
  • + 6
 Quite the feat! Nicely done Payson! This makes the old "White Rim in a Day" seem lazy. I don't think I'll give it a go, but my wife wants to go for the women's FKT.
  • + 3
 I’ve done this ride in a day two times. Both rides rank up there as a few of my favorite experiences. Congrats on an amazing achievement and beast-mode effort. I loved the quotes about how your parents inspired you. I have two young daughters myself and we are contantly giving them opportunities in Colorado to get outside and explore their passions. It sounds like your parents did a great job. We need more of these type of efforts to set strong examples for today’s youth. Keep it up! I’m excited for a video to be produced of this effort so I can show it to my girls.
  • + 3
 Anyone want to give me the lay down on the race details. If I’m correct from the thousand words of his endless quotes, you race the clock but you start where you want on the loop?

Also, that soup strainer would be clogged full of dust and sweat.

Also, also, that does not look like fun.
  • + 6
 A goal of the project was to standardize the Fastest Known Time route. The previous record holder started from the bottom of the major climb to get it out of the way while fresh. That poses some pretty tricky logistical issues for most folks, so we decided to go with the most commonly used start/end point. I did it self-supported and with the most typical routing because we wanted to make it as relatable as possible--we want more people to get out there and enjoy the route.
  • + 2
 Monster effort! Judging by the fact that no photos of his ride include the full bike in profile, I think it's safe to assume he's on a new generation Top Fuel. From that little that can be seen, it looks like it's got a "Straight Shot" downtube.
  • + 6
 Sounds like fun, on a moto.
  • + 2
 Hard tail 29, 29+, rigid 29.
My buddy even pedaled a spesh demo around it one time.
He also did it on a single speed. Pure masochism. Gears are good, fast rolling tires. Suspension not required if you have big tires and like to pump.
  • + 1
 I was riding the WRT with 8 adults and 5 kids under 8 and we saw a fast rider coming our way. Payson had the time to say hi to all of us as he flew by. He was cooking!!!! Way to go Payson and it was great to see you out there.
  • + 1
 Congratulations big time, truly unbelievable. I am not a racer but really love the White Rim and I have done it in one day a dozen of times. I really can’t wrap my head around about the only 2 bottles of hydration for the whole loop. I am amazed. Congratulations.
  • + 4
 Dirt velodrome. Perverted concept.
  • + 1
 You passed us in the opposite direction. I hope we were out of your way, you were killing it. Great work. We had 5 kids with us that ride roughly 25 miles of it. Oldest was 7yo. We missed your record by 2 days and 7 hours.
  • + 0
 I'll be that guy for a second: I'm not sure I understand the point and that this route as a race. The White Rim Road is arguably one of the most scenic drives in Utah and often it's extremely difficult to get an overnight permit, and now, even a day permit. To 'race' it seems entirely counter to what most people are seeking when they go venture there. I hope a wave of people attempting this same feat don't take away from those.

But on a second note, that's goddamn beastly. That's a time difficult to accomplish in a vehicle--can't imagine on a bike!
  • + 7
 Unfortunately, you're that guy for life now.
  • + 8
 Getting a day permit is actually very easy. Almost no one wants to do it in a day, so they just hand them out 24 hours in advance. Doing this as fast as I could was an exciting challenge and privilege, but I'll definitely be going back soon to enjoy it at multi-day pace.
  • + 1
 I am doing this trail in my 4Runner this summer with a camp permit pulled for White Crack. I plan on doing it in 2 days and this dude did it in 5 hours. GTFOH
  • + 1
 Amazing! The focus for that time period, that's pretty intense!

And I b*tch about the slightly uphill 9km bike commute on pavement lol...
  • + 3
 Must have been riding at Mach Eleven.
  • + 1
 Bitchin dude. You are an inspiration to us all. Thanks for sharing details and encouraging others to try.
  • + 1
 Beast mode! Family, riding bikes & straight up goals/aspirations - huge fist bump Payson!!
  • + 0
 I guess that guy did it with only 2 bottles of water as seen in the photos ... Or the car had something else to do but to take pictures?
  • + 7
 I was part of the film crew. The truck was strictly used to drop cameras and camera operators at various places near the start and finish. He was moving far to quick for even a truck to keep up on route.
  • + 2
 sSICKKSSSSSSSSdfmkkkkkkkk
  • + 1
 I dream of that kind of fitness. Not my kind of riding but huge props for a massive achievement.
  • + 1
 Pretty mind-blowing. Any guy with the first name of Payson is bound to have an edge in that part of the U.S.
  • + 3
 First picture....WTF?!?
  • + 3
 It’s a tactic used by some to get lower for aerodynamics, kinda like having drop bars. Or so I’ve been told.
  • + 1
 I heard some of them wild horses once.
  • + 2
 true animosity
  • + 2
 Dick Sacrifice
  • + 2
 Beast mode.
  • + 1
 When's the film going to show up on Redbull TV for this?
  • + 2
 Beast. Congrats buddy!
  • + 0
 What about the route? Any singletrack, or just that wide, smooth dirt road?
  • + 5
 Nat'l park won't allow for new trails, or biking on existing singletracks. This ride is more about finding your inner strength to keep a good pace. My average time taking breaks and not punishing the legs too much is 10 hours. 3 huge climbs, lots of drainage on the green river side. Depending on temp, 4-6 litres of water reccomended.
The smartest plan I've heard for solo self supported loop was to leave the day pack at the top of mineral bottom road, drive to the bottom 15 miles away and do that first leg with only 1 bottle.
I guess somehow Payson did it without a pack?!? I like to bring beers.
  • + 2
 @Chonky13: "The smartest plan I've heard for solo self supported loop was to leave the day pack at the top of mineral bottom road, drive to the bottom 15 miles away and do that first leg with only 1 bottle."
I agree this is the least punishing way to stage a solo effort. Hit the big climb early, perhaps even pre-dawn, and with no weight burden.
For those who aren't dogmatic about the full loop, just skipping the Mineral Bottom climb + pavement on top makes sense. I've dropped off riders at the visitor center, and then drove down to set up camp just above the lowest/steepest bit of Mineral Bottom. The riders do ~ 80 miles in a big epic day, ending at cold beers, hot sun shower, and backcountry campsite. But no full loop in a day bragging rights.
  • + 5
 @Chonky13: Ha, I'll be packing beers the next time I ride it. This was 100% self supported, and I did it with two big water bottles. It was cool enough out to get away with it.
  • + 3
 It is a mix of smooth dirt road, a bit of pavement, but mostly rough, rocky jeep road. I rode a full suspension and was thankful for every millimeter of travel. There are long sections of very rough slickrock and even a handful of rock gardens that require some creative line choice.
  • + 2
 Wow. Dude is an animal.
  • + 2
 Rad
  • + 1
 Aero fork grab in the first pic
  • + 1
 more pics of him riding holding his crown than bars
  • + 1
 Such a good kid.....psyched he crushed.
  • + 1
 Remarkable!!!
  • + 0
 Only two water bottles for 100 miles at that pace?

really...?
  • + 1
 That's dope.
  • + 1
 amazing achievement
  • + 1
 Machine.
  • + 1
 Just amazing! Well done.
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