When we first met at Fruita CO Matt McFee, the owner of Hermosa tours, the company that runs the self-guided Kokopelli trail (among other rides), told me: “you are about to experience something that you will never forget”, I was a bit skeptic. When he added that “it’s a journey and not just a ride along some of the most beautiful places in North America”, I just said OOO.K…
Matt was right.
After 155 miles, 21h of net riding time, 17K feet of total elevation and being in places that are only accessible by foot or by bike, the Kokopelli trail is bigger, more enjoyable, and the most adventurous thing I’ve ever done so far.
The Kokopelli trail is marked every few miles with a metal pole, with some sections marked better than others. The trail terrain consists of a single track, fire road and even a short section of paved road. It’s essential to follow the markers and stick to the map.
I carried a Garmin 705 preloaded with GPS tracking for safety and topo maps. There were only two locations were the marks conflicts with the GPS and I decided to follow the markers. This said, take a GPS with you, especially if you plan to go solo. It’ll help you feel more secure…
Before I started the ride I took the bike to two bike shops:
One in Boulder (where I stayed 2 days before the ride) for a rigorous checkup and to install tubeless tires (Tubeless tires are special tires that fit into a special wheel rim. They reduce the risk of pinch flat and allow you to run with lower air pressure for better traction).
2nd was in Fruita, the day before the ride, for final checkup.
Fortunately, I had no flats or any other technical problems. I used to lightly oil the chain at the end of every day and wipe the remains, as my good friend Matt S advised. It works…
To prepare for the most common technical failures I carried the following items: 4 extra tubes, pump, 4 CO2, extra rear derailleur, extra set of pedals, extra chain links, extra tire, 2 multi tools, 2 compasses, zip tie, black tape, extra set of shifting cables, extra rear derailed hanger.
This was without a doubt my biggest challenge, so far. I was relieved to find that I was mentally prepared for it. During the ride I constantly tested all the things I was doing: navigation, physical condition and also technical conditions.
I remember 4 special moments:
- The first moment when I was alone for the first time after the truck left at the trail head.
- Towards the end of the first day, when a hail storm battered golf ball size hail with howling winds, I stopped to put my warm gear: cap, leg and arm warmers. I don’t know how, but I felt a sort of serenity and a surge of extra energy and power to move forward.
- Close to the end of the 3rd day, when all of a sudden I saw 3 riders, I called out “humans!!”.
They were shocked to see me by myself…
- When I reached the end and Matt, Hermosa’s owner, took a picture of me and said “you did it!”.
I felt proud…
My Whistler backpack turned out to be an excellent partner: the expendable feature helped me to not just carry 3 L of sport drink and energy food, but also spare tools, spare tire, 3 spare tubes, compass and spare cloths. The cushioned straps worked well and even after an average of 5h riding time a day I didn’t feel any back or shoulder pain. The external pockets served me very well after I packed them with the map and food for easy access.
The ride WAS a JOURNEY.
It’s not about fitness, not about “finding yourself” – it’s so much more…
Only people who went on such a journey will be able to understand what I mean.
It has been an incredible, highly recommend, experience.
I want to thank my wife Anat and daughters Tal and Dana for supporting and understanding my “adventures spirit” and hours away from home in training.
To my friends: Eric, Yohan, Matt, Evan, Moshe and others who encouraged, supported and helped with training and advice.
To Aryeh and Yonat of Boulder who hosted me for 2 days before the event and the night when I returned.
To Doug ,who I met along the way on day one. To Matt, of Hermosa, for advice and direction.
And of course to Source, which provided me with quality gear and the platform to share my experience.
Until my next adventure…
For more pictures from the trail click here: