A week ago I had a couple of day off from work.As I transition into a new type of work environment, I find myself looking for more grand scale adventures or challenges. Maybe its some sort of way to prove that I can still get off of my ass and have some big days. But, its also taking advantage of the time I do have to enjoy the nature that I surround myself with. Thats why I live in Moab right?
The kokopelli trail is something that I’ve always wanted to do. Its a mountain bike trail the goes from Fruita, Colorado and winds through the desert to eventually end in Moab. 140 miles of 4wd roads and some pavement. Outfitters in the area will help provide support for people to ride it in 3-5 days. Since i only had 2 days off, I figured I would just do it in a two days. A friend of mine, Emily, also had some time off and would join me for the second day.
I drove out to Fruita the night before, just outside of Grand junction, CO. Figured I’d get an early start to make some miles before they day warmed up. If you haven’t ever rode bikes out there, the single track really is pretty great. Some flowey sections and some challenging technical riding as well. The first section of the Kokopelli is on a trail called Mary’s loop. Beautiful. Fun. As you make your way from the trailhead, you are traversing along the Colorado River. I do wish I would’ve had some coffee before I started riding that day. Maybe it would’ve helped my riding ability. Maybe not.
Once past the single track, you’re more or less on gravel/sand roads the next 60+ miles. Traversing along I70 through the desert. This part of the West really is beautiful. Desolate.
Riding for 80 miles by yourself gives you lots of time to think. I purposely did not listen to music so that I wouldn’t be distracted from what was wandering through my head. A time of reflection and planning, moving forward with every pedal of the bike.
Until my rear derailleur cable snapped.
Coming out of Rabbit valley and moving toward West water my cable snapped. Knowing enough to at least piece it together, I connected what I could back to what I thought would work. For the next 50 miles I would have 3 gears. Which is pretty great. But I know people who do this trail on single speeds. Though that sounds like an awful idea, I had 3 gears, not one. So I had that going for me, which is nice.
There were very few people out there which was great. I saw one other dirt biker, and couple of other mtn bikers in rabbit valley, an a boat taking out from the Westwater takeout.
I arrived at Dewey Bridge around 5 o’clock. The Sun was definitely still up and it was warm. I cooled off by the river and then took a siesta in the shade of a truck in the parking lot. Body felt pretty good actually for 80 miles through the desert. My friend Emily showed up around 6 with cold beer and food from town. The plan was to get up early the next day and ride the last 60 miles into town.
We pulled out the maps and began to look at the trail for the next day. So, we’re on mtn bikes. Which I’m pretty sure are meant for trails, not roads. And these are my days off. They should be fun too, right? Looking at the map it was on 4wd roads and even paved roads for the next day.
At this point, we had already gone through our 2 beers each. It was 8 o’clock.
If we drove to back to Colorado, we could hit a brewery before it closed. and then ride some of the best single track the next day. This was looking to be more enticing.
Its great to be challenged. I had just spent the day riding 80 miles by myself, in the desert, with 3 gears. Of course the kokopelli is a classic ride, but not sure I’d put it in the fun category. But road tripping to Colorado, riding classic single track, and finishing off with a local IPA….I mean, thats a day off.
So, this entry, for me makes me think about the balance. The balance of the challenge, and of the fun, and the enjoyment of both. The satisfaction of knowing you can push yourself and also recognize when its time just …to play.
Dino photo by emilyklarer.com
Last week a friend/co worker, Vic , was in town for some work and to get out and play on bikes. After a few days of looking at pay scales, excel spreadsheets, and schedules, she brought up what she called an “off the couch random adventure”.
Biking the White Rim in a day was something that we had spoken about before. Up until this point this season, I think the longest ride I had been on was a Spring ride of around 15 miles. This one would be about 92-93 miles by the time we were done. Why not d0 it in a day?
It was a beautiful ride through Canyonlands National Park and a great challenge to ride that far in a day, on a mountain bike, through soft sand, mud, and snow.
The ride allowed us amazing views of the Green River , the canyons, and the snow capped La Sals and Abajos. We started under a full moon, rode underneath overcast skies, and ended underneath a waning moon. 16 hours. phew.
The next day we were pretty surprised that we were not to sore and could walk pretty well. It did feel like a hangover after a night of binge drinking though due to the amount of processed goods that were ingested to keep us going. I think I’ll take a break from cliff shots and goos for a little while. Here’s a link to Vic’s page http://www.seasonalnomad.com/2014/02/white-rim-in-day_19.html
This kinda sums up the day.
Early morning mud and heavy bikes
The Green River
Protein and sugar lunch. We would feel that later.
The yellow line was our route. Not too far , right?
Headlamps are back on and the moon is back up