He Mountain Biked an Iconic 27-Mile Trail—Uphill

Inside Braydon Bringhurst's wild feat on the Whole Enchilada
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 26, 2022 6:20 AM CST

"Oh my gosh, dude. It's one of the hardest things I've ever done." That's how Braydon Bringhurst put it to his camera man after completing a challenge that's all but unfathomable to almost every human on the planet: biking up the Whole Enchilada. As Kim Cross reports in a deep dive for Bicycling, it's a 27-mile trail in Moab, Utah, that drops some 8,000 feet from its start high in the La Sal Mountains. It's "a gauntlet of hairpin turns and precipitous ledges known as the Snotch ... a geo-illogical riddle as mind-bending as an MC Escher staircase," writes Cross. Thousands attempt it each year—mountain biking in the downhill direction mostly. Then came Bringhurst, who had the idea of not just climbing it, but flowing up it without hopping, pedaling every single bit of it. That had never been tried.

Cross' wide-ranging piece looks at Bringhurst's athletic youth (he was a BMX Expert-class champ, a dominant slopestyle skier, and the fifth-highest pole vaulter ever at Brigham Young University) and the sports psychology class that shaped his mental strength (he took it 10 times while at BYU). His year-long prep to climb the Whole Enchilada included four trips from his home in Idaho to the trail, countless hours of training at home, and thousands of visualizations of the ride in his mind. The stamina required was daunting: As his endurance coach put it, getting up the first 8 miles of ledges would be like doing "a thousand burpees," then came the Snotch, then 14 miles that got steeper as they went on. When he finally set out to do it in October 2021, things did not go to plan, though he triumphed in the end. (Read the full story here.)

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