birthday challenge
October 23, 2013 posted by

Magnificent 7, Terrible 2: A Photo Essay

Magnificent 7, Terrible 2: A Photo Essay

Last weekend didn’t go as planned. Yet something happened as Monday morning I felt as though I’d been hit by a bus. The trade off, while frustrating, might have been a net positive as I ticked something off my life’s must-do list. I’ll let photos tell the story.


We began on the Green River in the am. This is the most efficient way to ride the White Rim because it ticks most of the climbing in the first 25 miles.


It is, however, a steep wake-up call. Better than climbing this at the end, I say.


Easy to see how the Green River got its name from this angle.


Would liked to have done this in the dark but we got stuck waiting 2 hours for dinner (a weekend theme) and opted for more sleep. Still had plenty of time according to my last trip on this route.


Then my bike broke, necessitating a change in plans. While it rides nice, my Scott Spark isn’t exactly batting a 1000% in epic situations. What I thought was a frame break turned out only to be a bolt that holds the suspension (proprietary of course). While cheaper (though the bike is still under warranty), it didn’t change the situation that I couldn’t ride it, necessitating a plan b.


Moab was a zoo and there were no bikes to be found on Sat. With a bit of searching I procured a steed for Sunday, then came up with the brilliant idea of trying to climb the 5 towers, according to mtn project, existed on Kane Creek Rd in close approximation to each other. This turned out to be a bit of a sandbag, perhaps more literally than that term is generally used.


While beautiful, the rock, if you can call it that, was a joke. I’ve climbed on bad rock, such at in the Fisher Towers, and this was worse. As I knocked off virtually every bit of choss I weighted I began to feel bad for Romney, who despite having been hit once before by a rock knocked off by me on my unofficial quest to climb at every crap climbing area in the world, was dutifully holding my rope while dodging rocks at the base. Her taunt of “have you ever thought of climbing good routes during your challenges?” was the dagger in what was turning into a fatal wound anyway, so we retreated to town to wait in line at a restaurant and try to salvage the weekend.


While not great to climb, sand weathers into super cool shapes, meaning our trip to Hurrah Pass wasn’t a complete waist of time.


The bike I was able to find was, serendipitously (unless you think N+1 for how many bikes you own is a bad thing), the one bike in the world I really wanted to test ride: a Santa Cruz Tallboy LT. It seemed a travesty to ride the rest of the completely un-technical White Rim on something this capable, so I looked up more challenging options. There were two classic Moab epics I hadn’t ridden: The Whole Enchilada and the Magnificent 7. The former began in the LaSalles, now covered in snow, meaning I’d attempt the latter. I was now psyched. This would be much more fun than the original plan as well as being a nice tick off the “rides I must do in my life” list.


It also worked out to where the kids could come along for part of it, as Romney could meet us down the road a spell. This made everyone happy, especially Finn, for whom herding bikes is a religious experience.


The beginning of the ride is incredible. Some of the best mtn biking I’ve done, with jillion-dollar views in every direction.


Then these signs began appearing. And there were a lot of them. Someone really didn’t want you to try this trail without some major second guessing. In fact, I’d mentioned that I might ride the Mag 7 to three bikers and all either tried to talk me out of it or, in the case of the mechanic whom I’d rented from, just shook his head with a “suit yourself you lunatic” resignation.


This is why. Almost as soon as I passed the last sign (top pic) the “trail” changed to “gnarly jeep track”. It was, indeed, heinous. The next bunch of miles were ridiculous, so much so that on one of the busiest weekends of the year I didn’t see signs of anyone other than some rubber on shit that seemed totally insane to drive a jeep over. This pic was one of thousands of such obstacles. It was slow going and, for a rider of my capabilities, the next two trails pretty much sucked.


Views were good though. The top of Gold Bar, the first half of Golden Spike, and Portal all weave up and down along this ridge. Don’t fall off!


Opting for the longer, less-techie option, I skipped Portal for the second half of GS and Poison Spider, where I finally saw human activity. A lot of it. I leap frogged this crew for a while. I was faster on rock but they were much faster in sand, and there was  a lot of sand. I’d ridden this part of the trail before and used to consider it technical. Compared to the last section it might as well  have been tarmac.


I’m glad I did it but I’m going to back the locals’ enthusiasm. While a nice epic, I most likely won’t ride the Mag 7 again. Not when you can spend all day on nothing but great trails. That said, you could easily mark the jeep track for bikes, turning this into a truly magnificent ride. Maybe something I’ll do when I retire. Posting this last picture for my wife, who was apparently impressed that my clothing actually matched.

Here are the numbers…

Steve’ 53rd Birthday Challenge

Join the Challenge and win stuff!

Beachbody Workout of the Day

P90X Chest, Shoulders, Tris – I totally amended this to accommodate weight movements instead of push-ups, given I was having a 100,000lb lifting day. I popped it in just to hear my name. Actually, I had totally forgotten about that and was surprised to hear it. Another thing about this workout, that I’d never do on a massive volume day, is begin a workout with slo-mo push-ups until failure. I’d forgotten what a puke fest some of the P90X workouts are as you’re pumped from set one and stay that way for the next 45 minutes. I kind of stayed that way to 2 hours today myself.

Synopsis – Yesterday I felt like I’d been hit by a bus. Doing something right because today I was much more recovered. Did a hard day and my weekend challenge comes early this week. Will it be a mistake?

Reading & questions answered: /2809 (53/day) –   14 & 165 (216 questions and 932 pages),Finished Education of a Bodybuilder on the plane, which was ridiculously quick reading given it’s so basic once he moves into “science”. With a little luck I’ll get some more reading in tonight. A record day.

Servings of Shakeology: /53 – 1(22) – w/ water, as well as some of Ani’s Shakeology dessert. Tough job but someone’s gotta do it.
Days of Ultimate Reset: /5.3 0(0)
Days taking supplements: /53 – 1(22)
Days of no alcohol: /53 – 1(21)*
Days of no meat: /53 – 1(22)
Coffee Cycles (more on this later): /5.3 – round 3.
King Pin fritters: /5 0(0)

Beachbody workouts: /53 – 1(23)
Push-ups: /5300 – 0(1,920)
Jumping jacks: /5300 – 200(2,000)
Leg lifts: /5300 – 100(2270)
Crunches: /5300 – 100(2290)
Ab Ripper X Moves: /5300 – 100(2650)
Beast back day: /53,000 lbs. 0(54,000) 
Beast chest day: /53,000 lbs. 1(53,000)
Beast shoulder day: /53,000 lbs. 1(53,000)
Beast leg day: /53,000 lbs.
Beast arm day: /53,000 lbs. 0(53,000) 
P90X2 functional warm-up: /53 – 1(21)
Running drills: /53 – 0(20)

Neuro-integrating stretching: /53 – 1(21)
Iron Mind gripper and extensor band reps: /10600 0(4900)
Breath hold sessions: /53 – 1(21)
Stabilizer sessions: /53 – 1(22)
Internal Organ Training: /53 –  1(22)

5.11 Climbs: /5 0(4)
5.12 Climbs: /3 0(1)
5.11 Boulder transverses: /5 – 0(5)
5.12 Boulder transverses: /3 – 0(2)
Campus board movements: /530 – 0(371)
Climb-specific pull-ups: /530 – 0(175)
Cycling on road bike: /53 miles 0(0)
Cycling on mountain bike: /53 miles 0(20)
Cycling on cyclocross bike: /53 miles 0(26)
Cycling on time trial bike: /53 miles 0(0)
Cycling on fixed gear bike: /53 miles 0(0)
Cycling on single speed bike: /53 miles 0(51)
Cycling on tandem bike: /53 miles 0(0)
Hiking: /53 miles –2(32)
Running: /53 miles 0(16)
30 minutes of rowing: /5 times 1(2)
30 minutes of elliptical: /5 times 1(1)
30 minutes of swimming: /5 times 0(0)
Hours of travel 3.5 (27.5)

Tasks for his wife: /53 – 1(22)
Chores around the house: /53 – 0(25)
Tasks for his dogs: /53 – dogs are basically sidekicks so this one’s a freebie

Blog posts: /53 – 1 (23)
Team Beachbody Instructional Videos: /5 0(0)
Team Beachbody Video Chat /5 1(2)
Days keeping these stats: /53 – 1(22)

A Few Challenges of Yore

2000 – 40 Days of Hell
2003 – Get Back To Reality
2006 – This is Gonna Hurt
2007 – My Blood Must Be Fully Replaced Each Year
2010 – Birthday Tribute from 67 friends
2012 – Making Lemonade


  • Hey Steve,

    Can you list the substitution chest exercises you put in your P90X Chest, Shoulders, & Triceps workout for the push-up moves? What weight-lifting exercises did you change in the routine for the push-ups?


  • Mainly bench press. I did wide, shoulder width, and narrow bench along with flys.

  • Steve,

    What set/rep scheme did you use for each variation?

  • Since I was going for total weight numbers I wasn’t doing a very effective workout, except, maybe, for muscular endurance though I still wouldn’t do this. I was doing light weight and 30 reps on some sets, and 20 reps on some that I couldn’t do 30 of without getting pumped. On these long days if you get pumped your dead.

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