Failure and redemption: Pete Stetina sets new White Rim Trail FKT

One 100-mile mountain bike loop in the Utah desert. No support. Just a long individual time trial against the clock.

As part of the flurry of attempts to set a Fastest Known Time on the 100-mile White Rim Trail in Utah, Pete Stetina today released a film that shows his trials and tribulations racing solo and self supported.

Last October, Keegan Swenson set the high water mark at 5:30:21, beating the previous best mark of Payson McElveen. Swenson is the current U.S. cross-country champion and a long-team member of USA Cycling’s Olympic squad. He also happens to be the guy who (without a front brake!) beat Stetina at the Belgian Waffle Ride Cedar City, one of the very few major races to be held since the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S.

Despite years of racing at the WorldTour level, the White Rim Trail FKT proved to be quite the challenge for Stetina.

“This is one of the hardest efforts I’ve done,” Stetina said. “You have to keep on the gas all day. There is maybe seven minutes of actual non-pedaling descending. It really is a 5.5-hour time trial, made even harder as you have to ration supplies, balancing the line between running light or totally imploding. That desert is unforgiving.”

Stetina’s first attempt in October came up short — by 16 seconds. So he went back a few days later and tried again, and this time clawed just ahead of Swenson’s high mark, setting the FKT at 5:28:23.

“I hope my time stands for a while,” Stetina said. “It was one of my best efforts but given the sandy drought conditions this October I think a faster time can be done after some storms. That’s the point though; to lower the bar and inspire others to get after it. I know Keegan and Payson aren’t content to let this stand forever.”

Watch Stetina attack the White Rim FKT here below.