Kokopelli’s Trail TR – 9/20-23/12 – Supported. TONS o Pix- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Bad Andy!
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    Kokopelli’s Trail TR – 9/20-23/12 – Supported. TONS o Pix

    A few months ago, an old friend and coworker, Mike (THE GIANT), invited me on a Kokopelli’s Trail trip he had begun to plan. It had been on my bucket list since I had become aware of the trail, so I was all in. THE GIANT was a little worried that his support may not be able to make it, so I asked my Dad and Father-in-law (both recently back living in CO after long exiles), both experienced and capable outdoorsmen and adventurers in their own right, to provide our SAG/support. They both sounded pretty excited about it, and did not take long to respond in the affirmative.

    As I am sure most of you know, Kokopelli’s Trail is a 142 mile backcountry MTB route that goes from Fruita, CO to Moab, UT. Some single track and pavement, but mostly dirt and 4x4 roads through vast desert expanses and some mountains.

    For the small group, and our varying ages and endurance/cardio states at the moment, a 4 day trip sounded about right – 35 miles/day average.

    The crew
    Me:


    Mike THE GIANT:

    This dude recently bought a SC Tallboy LT and ever since, you have not been able to get him off the MTB! He has been riding very strong, and has lost >50 lbs!!

    Allan:

    THE GIANT’s boss

    The Hipster SAG/Support crew:

    My Father-in-law (left) and my Dad (right)

    Day 1 – Loma to Bitter Creek
    39 miles, 3,126’ elevation gain, 2,818’ elevation loss
    Of course, the route here was awesome – through the Loma MTB system. We took the normal Koko route-Mary’s>Steve’s>Lion’s>TroyBuilt>Koko.














    Lunch SAG was right off I70 at Rabbit Valley.
    We could see I70 quite often in the miles right before lunch.





    Bitter Creek campground is not marked by words on the carsonite signs – just by a tent symbol, so we overshot it by a couple miles, and had to turn around since that’s where we were meeting SAG. We thought! They found what they thought was Bitter Creek, but it wasn’t where we ended up. Luckily, we had cell service and figured it out. Even though we were <1 mile apart, without cells, we may have been in a little trouble here.

    Day 2 – Bitter Creek to Cowskin
    51 miles, 2,969’ elevation gain, 3,225’ elevation loss
    Probably the most boring part of the ride - a lot of flat desert, dirt roads and a little pavement, and hot.



    Lunch SAG was going to be at a road intersection, but SAG crew moved it to Fish Ford (notifying us by notes left on the Koko Trail markers – we removed them, don’t worry). Thank goodness, because there was shade!







    Luckily you have the Yellow Jacket section, which is pretty fun (going this direction), even though you have to pedal downhill in a lot of sand, and the Dewey bridge section.





    Cowskin is a great campsite right by a big red rock cliff, but again not marked by words on the sign, just a tent symbol.

    Day 3 – Cowskin to Bull Draw
    34 miles, 6,746’ elevation gain, 3,093’ elevation loss
    The toughest riding day of all. 17 miles shorter than Day 2, but close to 4,000' more climbing.







    Lunch SAG was in the shade of the single tree and the cow poop at Fisher Valley.






    The area up to and past North Beaver Mesa was the prettiest yet, but would not compare to what we were in store for the final day.







    Day 4 – Bull Draw to Moab
    By far, the best day of the 4, due to the most amazing fall colors I have ever seen, and the great UPS/LPS/Porcupine to finish the ride.
    30 miles, 2,226’ elevation gain, 6,655’ elevation loss.





    From our camp at Bull Draw/Fisher Mesa we dropped on a fun and beautiful paved Gateway Rd, then Castleton Rd to the intersection with La Sal Mtn Loop Rd, and climbed 5 or 6 miles to one of the most amazing and breathtaking areas I have ever seen. I will be back someday with a good camera.











    We opted for UPS, LPS and Porcupine to end the trip rather than the actual Kokopelli’s Trail, which ends at the Slick Rock Trailhead via Sand Flats road. And cannot imagine NOT wanting to do it this way. It was a no-brainer. The best riding of the whole trip is on UPS and LPS - IMHO. Too much fun to stop for many pix, but got a few.





    We wanted to do The Whole Enchilada, but decided against it due to a road closure to vehicles on the La Sal Loop Rd Meaning we already had to ask our hipsters to go over an hour out of their way and loop around through Moab and up the other side to meet us, which it turned out it said the road was closed from that side too. We really didn’t need to SAG for lunch that day anyway, so when they notified us the sign said the road was closed, we told them to just meet us at 128 and Negro Bill parking lot.





    I guess to sum it all up, I would say Kokopelli's Trail can be a great ride. It was for us. You should be there for the overall experience, not for the typical "epic" ride MTBers seem to always be searching for. The beauty, the long lonely desert miles, the boring and physically demanding dirt and paved road climbs, the great MTB sections at the beginning and end, the "just being out there" with good friends, and family. Choose your partners and SAG crew wisely, and you are sure to have as great as a time as I did. I will never forget these 4 days, for many reasons - not just the riding.



    If you use the book and the Lat 40 maps recommended by Bikerpelli, the book is great with mile by mile breakdowns. The maps are good for riders, but neither are great for the support crew. Support should have good navigation and map skills and definitely the maps and book as well. With a solid plan for where you are meeting, and appx times, and a backup plan. Many of the roads are not signed, and the campspots either have no name on the actual sign or have a name that does not match the maps.
    We rode a total of 150+ miles, and 15,000' plus of climbing. In the 4 days, up until UPS, we saw 1 MTB, 2 ATVs together, and a truck on the trail.

  2. #2
    lucky enough
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    Well done, that's a great ride.
    "Don't take life so serious, son . . . it ain't no how permanent." - Porky Pine

  3. #3
    Heads up Flyboy!!
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    Awesome Andy!!! Rock starring it!!

  4. #4
    Rolling
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    Awesome!

  5. #5
    slow
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    Nice Andy! Thanks for the writeup. Looks like fun.

  6. #6
    Not the Cat in the Hat!
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    Excellent post and ride! this is definetly one of the best most enjoyable endurance rides out there.
    Reading your post brings back so many fun memories... I did the whole trail back in May. I want to do it again sometime.

    Keep on riding!

    PS - For anyone interested in doing this same trail with a fully supported team, check out Bikerpelli Sports - Boulder, CO. I did my trip with them and just absolutely loved it!

  7. #7
    bacon! bacon! bacon!
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    Does not appear to be worthy of my time.

  8. #8
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    I'd take that SAG crew with me into any bar, anywhere. Do they hire out?

    Enjoyed the story and the photos.

  9. #9
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    Wow - way cool!

  10. #10
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    that climb out after dewey bridge is a SLOG
    and then out of fisher valley is sorta the same

    nice work.

  11. #11
    friend of Apex
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    Quote Originally Posted by GIANTkiller View Post
    Choose your partners and SAG crew wisely, and you are sure to have as great as a time as I did.
    now I see why my phone didn't ring

    the drugs made me realize it's not about the drugs

  12. #12
    starladear
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    Yeeha.. Awesome writeup. I've ridden the Kokopelli seven times now and is instilled in the blood as one true epic mountain bike ride. Crazily it's always been supported and my solo ambitions are tingling. I think it's time...

  13. #13
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    Awesome job Andy...how did the new ride treat ya?

  14. #14
    Bad Andy!
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    Hey Clay! Been awhile!
    The Zaskar was great.
    Wasn't sure up until the day before if I would be riding it or not, as the hub fubar'd on my
    3rd ride.
    Didn't have enought time to get that remedied, so I begged, borrowed, and ended up stealing from my old bike, and it worked fine.
    Only other issue was I didn't have enough finesse on UPS/LPS/Porc and shook the headset loose, but that's an easy fix .
    No mechanicals - not even a flat on 3 bikes and 150 miles- pretty fortunate!

  15. #15
    Awesomist™
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    Just re-read this, I sent it over to the LBG so she could get a feel for what we're getting ourselves in to. And I have to say: This appears to be worthy of my time.
    The older I get, the faster I was.





    Punch it, Chewie.

  16. #16
    not actually bad :)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Full Trucker View Post
    Just re-read this, I sent it over to the LBG so she could get a feel for what we're getting ourselves in to. And I have to say: This appears to be worthy of my time.
    Thanks for the bump, just went reminiscing!
    You're doing it in 3 days, no?
    Listen to me now, and hear me later - the 2nd day is gonna hurt bad.
    Train hard my friend.
    Mayhaps we should ride many hours Sunday in Salida!
    Old Codger

  17. #17
    bacon! bacon! bacon!
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad_andy View Post
    Thanks for the bump, just went reminiscing!
    You're doing it in 3 days, no?
    Listen to me now, and hear me later - the 2nd day is gonna hurt bad.
    Train hard my friend.
    Mayhaps we should ride many hours Sunday in Salida!
    I lucked out and had to drive the SAG wagon the first half of that 2nd day. So I missed Westwater -> Dewey Bridge. Everyone else was just giddy about how awesome that section was.

  18. #18
    Awesomist™
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad_andy View Post
    Thanks for the bump, just went reminiscing!
    You're doing it in 3 days, no?
    Listen to me now, and hear me later - the 2nd day is gonna hurt bad.
    Train hard my friend.
    Mayhaps we should ride many hours Sunday in Salida!
    3 days, yes. And I am fully aware that day 2 is gonna hurt, a lot. Training has begun, kind of pissy about this snow! And yes, many hours on Sunday might be in order... gonna have to try and get teh LBG a bike to ride though... hers in ordered but not ready yet.
    The older I get, the faster I was.





    Punch it, Chewie.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad_andy View Post
    ...
    Listen to me now, and hear me later - the 2nd day is gonna hurt bad.
    ...
    Ha ha, I remember that day... Spring break in High School. Most of the two-track and dirt road sections were on brick-hard cattle footprints. Way before suspension. I can still FEEL how hellish that day was.
    ...and the Nun said, "Five bucks, same as in town."

  20. #20
    bacon! bacon! bacon!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Full Trucker View Post
    3 days, yes. And I am fully aware that day 2 is gonna hurt, a lot. Training has begun, kind of pissy about this snow! And yes, many hours on Sunday might be in order... gonna have to try and get teh LBG a bike to ride though... hers in ordered but not ready yet.
    Training... pfft. 3-day Koko ride can be done off the couch. Now Koko in 2 days... that might require a day or two of training.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    Training... pfft. 3-day Koko ride can be done off the couch. Now Koko in 2 days... that might require a day or two of training.
    Funny you should phrase it that way... I actually said to Teh LBG that I was "confident her and I could ride Kokopelli off the couch if we had to" but that it would actually be FUN if we put some miles in beforehand. I'm also considering starting a "What Tire for the Kokopelli Trail?" thread soon...
    The older I get, the faster I was.





    Punch it, Chewie.

  22. #22
    bacon! bacon! bacon!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Full Trucker View Post
    Funny you should phrase it that way... I actually said to Teh LBG that I was "confident her and I could ride Kokopelli off the couch if we had to" but that it would actually be FUN if we put some miles in beforehand. I'm also considering starting a "What Tire for the Kokopelli Trail?" thread soon...
    We actually had planned on doing a 4-day trip... but the weather went to $hite the last day and we decided instead of camping in the snain we would just suffer and finish it in 3.

    That said - I might be singing a different tune had I been required to ride the sandy section that 2nd day.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Full Trucker View Post
    I'm also considering starting a "What Tire for the Kokopelli Trail?" thread soon...
    Fruita Frank, who lives and rides there daily, recommends Specialized Ground Controls front and real for that kind of riding, except if things are very loose and then a Purgatory up front with the GC rear. I put the GC on my front a month or so ago and really like it. The back one is going on tonight or tomorrow.

  24. #24
    bacon! bacon! bacon!
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiahh View Post
    Fruita Frank, who lives and rides there daily, recommends Specialized Ground Controls
    Only if they are umma gumma!!


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