Category Archives: MTB
Read why Michelle thinks Kenosha to Georgia Pass is one of the best mountain bike rides Colorado has to offer.
Fall is the season to keep on riding and there are some epic rides to be had. The great thing about post season riding is you can go big, go long, but don’t have to suffer the training pace of race season. Kenosha to Georgia pass offers spectacular views, almost 4000 feet of climbing, technical single track, and a view like no other into Breckenridge from the top at 11,600 feet. This is a MUST DO RIDE and by far one of my top 5 best rides in Colorado.
You start this ride on the top of Kenosha pass with about 300 other people and some tour busses if it’s the weekend. Colorado is amazing in the fall and everyone is out. Be patient and polite (especially to those families with small kids…they may become future riders because they thought you were so nice and awesome as you rode by). Be at ease knowing after about 2 miles the crowds thin out and all you will run into is extreme hikers, runners and mountain bike enthusiasts. This is where the fun starts!
After leaving the parking lot you will climb for about 1.5 miles and gain a hill top view of the valley.
Amazing and spectacular is all I have to say as you start the first decent into the valley. We enjoyed the next 5 miles of single track as it winded its way through the aspen forests alive with colors, the trees almost look on fire from above. The trail had some punchy climbs, 2 small bridge crossings (aka…large boards) that you can dare each other to ride. I made my husband go first on the first board crossing and then didn’t have the desire to end up in the creek only at mile 3 so I walked that one but the second one is a breeze. This is the part of the trail that makes you smile, coming or going, with smooth fun descents mixed with some climbs to keep you warm. Spectacular and having some serious fun.
Approximately at mile 6.5 we cross a fire road and a good size river and head up towards Georgia pass. This is where the climbing and technical riding begins. For the next 6 or so miles we climbed, climbed, climbed, and gained the majority of our assent to the top. The trail starts out in what looks to be an old river bed filled with roots and rocks and then makes some significant elevation gain in the first 2 miles. Pacing yourself is the key or better yet put whoever the group calls the mountain goat out front and chase them to the top. I put my husband out front for a while just to watch his lines and I was determined not to let him get away. You will find the trail littered with riders who are out of breath, whose legs are burning, or those in need a nap half way up. A great spot to stop is a lookout at or around mile 8.5 or 9. This is a popular place to stop for a snack or rest and if you walk out on the rocks the view is great.
From this spot it is 2.5 to 3 miles to the top and this is when you start to feel the elevation and the temperature cools down a bit. Make sure you always pack a light coat or warmers. Even on the warmest days in the valley you will be chilly on top. The last 20 minutes before the top will open up into the mountain tundra landscape that is spectacular. The trail is small and layered in fine gravel and rocks that can make the best climber work for it at this elevation. You come to a junction….don’t stop here, veer left and head to the top. If you stop you may never get the energy to go to the top so just keep going. Get to the top, throw yourself on the ground and soak up the most amazing view while you eat and take a slew of pictures. Something you NEVER get to do during the training and race season….so enjoy every minute of it! I was jealous of the gal on top who was packing the most amazing P & J sandwich with banana in it. I think I was hungry and my little bar wasn’t doing the trick.
We have always wanted to find the time and change to just keep riding the Colorado trail right into Breckenridge but that will be another story. It sure is tempting when up on top.
Now the fun begins! We turned around and instead of heading back the way we came (traditionally this ride is an out and back) we took a left turn back at the intersection and headed down the Jefferson trail. This trail ends up back at the fire road you crossed on the way up. Jefferson trail is a hold on tight; see your life flash before your eyes kind of trail. I had to stop a third of the way down and just send out a hoot of laughter in amazement I had not gone down, hit a tree, or run off the trail. This trail is tight, steep, and technical but a ridiculous amount of fun. This year they actually chain sawed all the down trees that were on the trail last year so the fun factor went up significantly when you can avoid multiple hike a bike sections over huge downed trees.
We ended up at the campsite on the fire road and headed towards the trail that would take us back to Kenosha pass. Back into the beautiful aspen forests for a fast ride through the single track and this is where you can pick up some speed and a smile. The last climb out is a bit of leg breaker since you hit mile 20 at this point and it is up, up, up and you have about 4-5 miles to go! Knowing this was one of our last epic rides of the season we soaked in the views which reminds us why we ride! Get out there and enjoy the post riding season.
Michelle learns an important lesson – always check the race results because you might actually be on the podium!
Every race and ride can teach you something like a new way to corner effectively or how to maneuver a tight switchback. My lesson during the latest Rendezvous race in Winter Park was more like a simple “mom told you so” lesson “ALWAYS CHECK YOUR RACE RESULTS BEFORE YOU LEAVE…YOU MAY HAVE FINALLY REACHED THE ELUSIVE PODIUM!”
I have always enjoyed the Winter Park race series races and the Rendezvous race had been enhanced to provide an exciting race, it didn’t disappoint! This race was super fun providing almost 17 miles of single track racing experience. I just moved up to Expert in the mountain biking circuit and have been getting royally schooled by incredible women racers, especially in the amazingly fast 40-49 year old Expert racing group. I have told myself “ I just want to podium once in expert and I will be completely satisfied”! I have laughed the entire year at my perpetual 4th placement at almost every race I enter so I guess I have to keep racing.
I learned from the last Yeti Beti race that going out in front is great if you can withstand the pace (which I didn’t do so great at) so I approached this race by figuring I would stay with the pack but sit back and let others pull out in front. It worked! I was able to keep with the pack and slowly pull my way up to the front and by the end of the first long climb up to Corona Pass road on the Serenity trail. After crossing Corona Pass road we landed on the most beautiful single track I have ridden in Winter Park. I know you are not supposed to smile or giggle when racing but I honestly couldn’t help myself, I was truly enjoying the trail.
After I realized I had company behind me I quit the nostalgic feeling and picked up the pace until we hit broken ankle trail. Super fun, tight single track with closely placed trees and a quick decent to the bottom. At this point in the race you start looking for the ever elusive Moose that are always spotted in the wetland section of the race but none where found or reported at this point, only deep mud bogs with slippery roots awaited. Prepare to get muddy!
I was in second place in my age group but… long story short my smile faded ( just a little) at the 10 mile mark. My legs started burning, my feet started aching, and slowly the group started engulfing me and I quickly fell to 4th place (perpetual 4th…..).
Well there went any chance at a podium spot. I love the single track trails in Winter Park and I rode the race with a smile on my face truly enjoying my bike and keeping my pace. Never thinking racers can always have mechanicals or “things happen”, which I should know after suffering multiple mechanicals during the half Growler in the spring.
I descended the last single track to the finish line and went immediately to the river to wash my bike and soak my feet. Not even considering I was anything but 4th I didn’t want to waste any more time waiting around for results, wanting to join my kidos back at camp for an afternoon ride. There was not a thought in my head I had made the podium.
So picture this…..sitting at the campsite with your family and friends that afternoon, one decides to check the race results and looks up and smiles and says “wow Michelle, did you know you made the podium today and placed third”. Seriously…how did I miss that? I guess I have to keep on racing since I can only prove I made third on paper but with no picture or beer mug. Lesson learned, never leave a race without checking your results. You never know where you may end up….and it may be the podium.
Ashleigh ventured east to the Pisgah National Forest for the Pisgah Enduro Mountain Bike Race. Here her thoughts on the trail conditions and the epic-ness of this race!
I am fairly new to the Enduro racing world, but have done a couple of races in Colorado. While traveling in the South, my husband and I ended up in North Carolina the weekend of the Pisgah Enduro. I thought this would be a fun way to check out the biking scene in the Southeast. I had never biked in the south or east before this trip and did not know what to expect. My few expectations were that the trails might be rooty, slippery, and technical. Coming from Colorado, I expected the climbing to be no problem. Boy was I in for a surprise!
The Pisgah Enduro puts the endurance back into Enduro racing. The few enduro races I have done in Colorado were on ski areas with lift access that cut out the first 1,200 feet of climbing. On the other hand, the Pisgah Enduro is located in Pisgah National Forest, with no lift access, just surprisingly steep mountains. The pedal to the top of the first stage had us climbing over 1500 feet in a little over 2 miles on paved and dirt roads. That woke my legs right up! We continued to ride 30 miles (including the timed downhill portions) and climb 4,300 feet the first day. Between the climbing, the heat, and the humidity I was about as tired as I remember being in a long time! I wasn’t sure I was going to make it through day 2, with the daunting climb up Heart Break Ridge!
After an early dinner, a late dinner, a lot of Naked coconut juice, some time wearing my POD Sox compression stalkings, and a good night sleep, my legs felt better than I expected. I woke up ready for day 2. Initially, I was worried my quads were not going to get me up the 4,000 feet of climbing to the top of Heart Break Ridge for stage 1. Turns out, I should have been more worried about getting blisters on my heels because we did a lot of hike a biking! After riding about a third of the way up, it became obvious by the hoards of walking racers that the best way to save my legs for the rest of the day was to push my bike up the steep single track. So I joined the line and pushed my bike too…for a long time, but it was tolerable because I was not alone. Everyone was pushing their bike, having a good time yelling “Enduro!” and “Strava!” as we slowly pushed our bikes up through the temperate rainforest canopy. By the time we reached the top of heartbreak ridge it was 2 hours and 2,800 feet later.
The second day was also much more technically challenging, with larger rocky drops, a lot of slippery roots, some very narrow trail sections with close trees, and alarmingly steep drop offs. When all was said and done, the second day came to a close with lots of smiles, 28 miles on our bikes, and over 6,000 feet of climbing. The 2 day total for the race was 56 miles on our bikes and an impressive 11,000 feet of climbing!
The Pisgah Enduro was an incredible weekend with some amazing scenery, great people and great biking. This race is a true test of all around biking ability, needing to be a cardio killer and a downhill badass to compete. It is a true Enduro race.
Nicole is crushing her first year on the dirt. Read more about this podium performance at the Winter Park Epic Single Track Super Loop.
On Saturday June 27th, I raced my third ever mountain bike race. I have been racing now for two seasons, mostly on the road. I wanted to branch out this year to experience more disciplines and see how I would enjoy them and adapt. Saturday’s race was the Winter Park Epic Single Track Super Loop — marketed as a cross country race, I would be doing about 13 miles in the novice category. I was excited to race this as a prep for the following weekend’s Firecracker 50, as I wanted and needed to see how I would feel on my mountain bike at altitude. My start time was 10:55, giving me plenty of time to drive up that morning, get registered, and warm up.
Lori not only wrote her first blog post, she did her first fat bike race! And guess what? She crushes it. Read more:
In 2014, I wanted to enter the WinterBike at Copper race but my husband ended up in the ER that day (all is good). So it was on the agenda for 2015 especially since it was moved out 1 weekend which happened to be my birthday weekend – all activities revolved around me!
Disclaimer: My teammates asked that I (Katey M.) write up this team race report and I acquiesced. While I can’t rightfully speak for the group, I can only provide my amateur insight, my thoughts and in return, hope I don’t piss the hell out of anyone. Enjoy!
I am not your typical racer – I prefer long solo rides, hiking tall peaks and taking Reposado shots over carbon fiber wheels, Strava kudos and Garmin stats. However, when an email was sent out to the team about a 24 hour mountain bike race in Tuscon, I jumped at the chance thinking it was time to kick start my season. 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo is known for being the largest national MTB race and hosts some 4,000 mountain bikers, gathering a mosh pit of amateur and pro racers from around the country. A windswept cacti- clad dessert is transformed into a prickly mecca of motorhomes, tents and porta potties. The course is a fast, furious 16.1 mile loop with small bouts of technical sections and 1,200ft climb. It hosts a few namesakes too. “The Bitches” are a series of small punchy climbs and decent in the first few miles of the course. While they seem mundane during a pre-ride, they are hellish at race pace. Lots of flesh has been lost on The Bitches and helicopters evacuate racers every year. Also, an aptly named “Whiskey Tree” houses bottles of moonshine, Hot Damn and various other adult libations mid-course and many a sauced fellow can be seen hooting happily by the tree as you pass. The course also hosts a rock drop. While it’s not terribly daunting, pack a handful of bikers close together and if one slightly balks, it could spell broken bones. The course offers a choice – to rock drop or not. A life size Justin Bieber cutout points to the “Belieber” route which avoids the drop, while the “Biker” route includes it. Belieber or not, you can tell, mountain bike racing is not for the fanatically clean of mouth or body. While gorgeous, expensive mountain bikes are appreciated; how you ride your beast is even more important. Tattoos, beards and beer guts are commonplace yet despite the looks, these folks can seriously rip but they also play hard too.
Heidi2 (Heidi Gurov) and I made our way to Tucson Thursday morning. The race was scheduled to start Saturday at noon. Heidi1 (Heidi Wahl) and Rachel decided to make the 18 hour trek by car. Heidi2 peppered me with stats about the race and her coach’s training schedule. She was prepared and truthfully, I felt sick. I hadn’t been on my mountain bike in three months. The last time I was actually on my MTB was a drunken pub crawl where I flipped a guard rail and broke my hanger. She was anxious to get there early, build her beloved Fate, and get out on the course. Sadly, even with our 85 mile an hour tailwind, we had a minor hiccup which forced a five and a half hour delay [read: RV trouble] We were to be picked up in our rented RV at the airport by Rachel’s friend, John. John had been working quietly behind the scenes along with Heidi1 to organize this trip and help with RV procurement, delivery, and tying up loose ends for us. Truly this man became our kit clad angel. Our RV, the Flying Dutchman, had other ideas because this behemoth decided to lie down and play dead in the airport’s cell phone waiting area with a dangerously bald, stripped to the steel belts, remains of a tire. After an abundance of calls, a tow truck, and stop at Discount Tire, we were back on course. John had befriended a race bound fellow who held anot RV spot for us. Camp space fills up wicked fast so this was music to our ears. I hugged the guy and his girlfriend even though I didn’t know them from Adam.
We made our way to the site careening down dusty roads, we looked like an episode from Breaking Bad. “Let’s cook!” Heidi2 posted keeping the world appraised of our status. My cell service left me in Tucson and wouldn’t return until after I got back to civilization a few days later. Damn you, T-Mobile.
Camp was set, bikes were built, beer was welcomed along with an odd assortment of foodstuffs including one jar of dill pickles; a request from Heidi1 which made me question an impending pregnancy but no, I found that they were simply salty, crunchy goodness after an especially mind bending lap. God bless you, jar o’ pickles.
The next day was a bluebird day and our pre-ride. I had heard about the cactus and it prickly fangs but my tires had seen nor heard nothing about these Arizona natives. ” YOU DONT HAVE STANS? DUDE,YOU NEED STANS. Behind my back whispers: “She’s running tubes! She’s gonna diiiiie.” Bewildered looks and shaking heads. “My first thought was “uh…who is Stan and why does he care so very much about my bike”. Between the group of very patient and kind souls in my group, they explained tubeless tires and that it was virtually impossible to ride the course without them. I converted that morning to Stans while Heidi2, Rachel, and Kalan (a twitterpated soul who kept us laughing the entire time) rode the course. Heidi2 shopped in 24 Hour town and I spun in circles on a Green Machine while they converted my bike. I have to say that was the best impromptu decision I’ve made in years and it ticked off another niggling inadequacy I had about racing my bike.
Race day came quickly, Bikes were staged at the bottom of a hill where the Lemans start ended. Hilarity ensued. Fit and fearsome men in pro team kits fought their way down the hill in slippery bike shoes, some were trampled and still fought their way to their bikes. Heidi2 waved our makeshift Naked flag for Rachel to see while she came down the hill. Rachel was far ahead of the masses and one of the first out on her bike and on the course. We hooted and hollered and cheered her on. A few minutes later a Pooh Bear skipped merrily along looking for his bike. Not everyone was taking this race seriously.
Rachel raced hard pressing for fastest female lap and came through with a mind altering 1:09 lap time. I was next in line. I stood in the staging area with music vibrating in my ears to calm my nerves. For a 24 hour race, each relay team is given a small wooden baton. You are required to pass this baton from teammate to teammate. Lose your baton and well, you DNF. Point is: don’t lose the baton. We tried shoving it down sport bras (didn’t work) and settled for the front of leg or back jersey pocket. In the staging area where you wait for your teammate to pass the baton, a large projector screen displays arriving team numbers on the ceiling along with an emcee who also doles out bad jokes (ie What do you call a cow with three legs? Ground Beef) Rachel came flying in and our transition was smooth. I had staged my bike outside the tent further than the multitudes because I knew I could run through the first section faster and have more room to hop on my bike. The course was fast and hellishly narrow through a variety of cactus – some have cruel fishing hooks covering their bodies, some look like soft little teddy bears but with razor sharp paws and some cactus just want to kiss you for no apparent reason. Know this, if you are not dead center on the trail, the cactus gods become enraged. They will gather, display their meaty, needle sharp armored bodies and eat you alive. No, seriously dude, they will.
Even giving cactus wide berth, I knew this race was going to be tough. I hadn’t properly trained and I got passed by a multitude of men flying by me at staggering speeds. It seemed like they were floating through the air while I mashed my pedals. The headwind was brutal and sadly I became the one to pull everyone through the cactus corridors. Letting all these men pass me was humbling. I told one racer to pass on the left, he passed on the right and knocked me into a cactus. It stung but I kept going with this large thorny mass attached to my glove. It took pliers and a steady hand from Heidi1 to pull them out after my lap. I came into the staging area with a 1:22 lap time. Heidi2 took off like a rabbit on her lap and came in with an impressive 1:14 time. Heidi1 was next in line and crushed it with a 1:23. We were already in the lead with sub 1:30 laps and it gave us incentive to keep it that way. Rachel went out for her second lap with night lights just in case but she came in so quickly with a 1:13 that dusk had barely begun. I took our first official night lap. I can’t speak for the others, but I prefer riding at night. By this second lap, racers has spread out significantly making it easier to maneuver however, my head lamp burned out part way through so I eeked my way to the finish and came in with a 1:24. Heidi2 came in for her first night lap with 1:18 and Heidi1 with a 1:33. We were still almost an entire lap ahead of the second place team.
Nutrition and recovery is critical for these longer races – that is, if you want to win. You rest, you eat, you digest best you can, repair any bike issues and before you know it you’re dressed again and on your way to the staging area. For me, sleep was elusive as was digestion. Somehow it behooved me to eat about 2lbs of pork with green chilis after the second lap. In those wee hours in the morning, my stomach decided to revolt. I found out this is called “gut rot”. When really you should just throw up, I rolled around like a flatulent otter in the RV. One of the guys gave me a shot of Pepto. I didn’t have the wherewithal to ask if this pink goo was gluten free cause the porta potty was my BFF already. We still pulled off some amazing night times and kept our lead but it started to get a little closer with a bad crash on The Bitches that kept Rachel at a standstill for a spell.
Since three of my four laps were at night, I feel I got the best deal watching the sun come over the horizon to start the new day. The sky was this amazing blood red. While I rode, this guy and I talked about how vivid, saturated, and beautiful the sky was. I was tired yet I realized I was blessed to be a part of this community of fast fit women cyclists and this temporary 24 hour community of mountain bikers.
Final laps were made and the line up changed toward the end leaving Heidi2 and Rachel to secure our win (despite getting a flat in the final lap two miles in on The Bitches). Heidi1 gave us 3 impressive laps, me with 4 laps, Heidi2 with 5 and Rachel with 6. 288 miles and 18 laps brought us the first place win. We were ecstatic and very proud Naked girls on the podium. We celebrated briefly, packed up quickly and 24 hour town deconstructed in moments. What once was brimming with activity a few hours earlier became a quiet, sleepy venue with an epic trail– restored to what it is year round. This race has become a memory of comradery, patience, a few scratches, and one remaining half jar of pickles.
Katey knows how to have fun in the off season – FAT BIKE! But she needed to name her. Read how ‘Trixie DeLarge’ obtained her moniker.
She is big, she is orange and has some serious junk in the trunk. I see you raising an eyebrow and let’s be honest, it sort of describes me circa late-80’s – a tanning booth savvy sorority girl. You see, I broke down and purchased a fat bike…a sweet, 40lb, snow-crushing, mud-slinging, bad ass beast of a bike. Midlife crisis? Perhaps. But I prefer to call it a “spiritual awakening” (We can talk about the puppy I got recently too if you like).
Mountain bike season was coming to a close and I had this sad, niggling feeling in the back of my mind. The season didn’t necessarily have to end, did it? On a whim, I sought advice from my local bike guru and decided to purchase the same brand I know and love. I had set aside some pennies from my small business so not to interfere with my boys’ college savings (that is, if they don’t kill each other first) and anticipated its arrival.
A giant box containing my new bike arrived on a snowy Thursday afternoon. I immediately loaded it into my car and headed to my go-to bike shop. Sadly I was snubbed by an entitled, nose-ringed hipster when my bike build didn’t fit HIS schedule in the next century. Heaven forbid his soft hands touch “the box”. I went around the corner to another shop that built her that very evening.
I typically name things I bond with. My truck is “Chuck”, my mountain bike is “Thor” and my road bike was “Paco” – “was” being the operative word because that changed when I texted my husband to let him know I was “out riding Paco” and there was radio silence. Paco became ‘the road bike” again and honestly, Paco sucked anyway. We never bonded. My new behemoth needed a name to fit her solid stature. With help from some creative thinkers, she was christened: Trixie DeLarge. Trixie is Speed Racer’s girlfriend: a petite, lithe, elfish waif. Truly, this bike is the antithesis of her. But what Trixie the girl does have…is unparalleled moxie and smarts. Her surname “DeLarge” is duly named after Clockwork Orange’s protagonist – a juvenile delinquent in the most creepy and memorable sense. Combine these characteristics and she screams, “Bring it!”
It was ironic that it had been snowing steadily for the past few days when Trixie arrived. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. The temperatures had dipped into the single digits and I had hired a sitter in advance to get outside regardless of the elements. I was going to ride and ride I did. I decided on a local trail close to home – Dirty Bismark – a 17 mile loop from home. Extremities needed special attention in these elements so I added multiple layers…and just a few more for sh**s and giggles. Shoes were a different story. Unlike my other bikes, Trixie came with flat pedals. I had upgraded and bought a nicer pair of flats with pegs to ride with. Shoe-wise, I didn’t really have anything that fit the bill except for a pair of old trail running kicks. Coupled with wooly ski socks and toe warmers, I was ready. I pride myself on being hearty, yet starting out, it was damp and raw. It reminded me of the cold I grew up with – a cold that only the NorCal coast can throw at you. Yet, despite the hoar frost I managed to collect throughout my ride, I was thrilled to be out.
Riding a fatty for the first time was slow moving. Twenty additional pounds of durability makes for a slow and steady grind up any grade let alone the flats. Add to it, 3+” of fresh snow over a crusty ice base, she was tricky to maneuver and hard to tame. While Trixie didn’t tread lightly, she made up for it climbing up and over virtually anything, even with her rigid fork. I slogged, I sweat, I listened to Soundgarden. It was unlike anything I had ever done. At first, corners were tricky. I came in hot around one and laid her down, fortunately landing in a pillowy stash. Several times I got caught in deep patches of untracked snow. I would spin, suffering like a hamster on its wheel going absolutely nowhere. It reminded me of riding in sand; endless f***ing acres of unrelenting deep sand – yet, it finally clicked when I stopped fighting and let the bike do the work. I could actually surf through these unpredictable waves of snow. Even without clips, my right heel would pop to the right involuntarily when I was about to lay the bike down – ah, those phantom clips.
The snow came down heavier and it was hauntingly beautiful. There is one section of the ride where the trail narrows and thistle patches border either side. During the Summer, I curse this prickly car wash. Instead I stopped and took pictures of the patch which was surprisingly beautiful in the snow. Snow softens how harsh and rugged our Colorado terrain is. Even the thickets of cows I passed – sprinkled in fresh snow – looked a little kinder.
I never made the full loop. By the time I hit the Coalton trailhead, my head and legs had had enough. For a loop that normally takes me about an hour to complete, it took me an hour just to get to my halfway point. I turned around, opened the gate and took a selfie to send to my MTB sisters – stupid happy in the snow, stupid happy with Trixie.
I’ve taken Trixie out several times since that first snowy adventure. I’ve slipped through some fine muddy and icy trails and have learned to adjust my tire pressure and body positioning accordingly. My trail running shoes work perfectly fine with flats despite the fact I’ve nailed my shins a few times when I’ve slipped. When the stars align, I can carve through corners like I would skiing. As I type, I’m in the mountains. I feel like a bit of an anomaly being out there on the trails behind the cabin – just me and my pup; adventuring on hard packed singletrack with my puppy nipping at my heels. Yet, my boys love seeing me come back from a ride – happy, tired and ready to play board games with them. So Trixie, thank you for this newfound fat fun – while you’ve been quite a beast to tame, I think you may have taught this old dog a few new tricks.
If the Kokopelli Trail hasn’t made your bucket list items, it should! Read about Melanie‘s experience over the 4 days on the legendary trail.
We considered ourselves prepared as we rolled out from the trailhead of the Kokopelli Trail in Loma, just a few miles west of Grand Junction. But really, we had no idea what lay in store for us. The Kokopelli is a 142-mile route from Loma to Moab, Utah, and it includes everything from singletrack, to jeep roads to pavement. You’ll see spectacular mesas, skirt the edge of the La Sal Mountains and camp alongside the Colorado River.
Our group did it in four days, one of the most common options. Even then, we rode 30 to 50 mile days, which took the strong group about five to eight hours each day. Our group of five was lucky enough to enlist an enthusiastic support driver, who met us at pre-arranged campsites each evening.
Day 1: Loma to Bitter Creek: Singletrack bliss and hike-a-bikes
I knew the first day was only 32 miles, so I mistakenly thought it would be a cinch. The first 12 miles is mostly singletrack on the well-ridden Mary’s Loop.
Next came arguably my least favorite part of the trip — the hike-a-bike portion, which the group would see a lot more of on Day 3.
No one warned me, probably because they knew I’d throw a fit, but be prepared to be carrying your bike for nearly a 1-mile stretch (it seemed like a million miles to me, but that’s what the odometer said.)
Next, we made up some time by cruising a big dirt road leading in to Rabbit Valley, which sits near the Colorado-Utah border.
The day ended with a short but treacherous climb to the top of a plateau, where we were rewarded with a spectacular sunset view from the campsite at Bitter Creek.
Day 2: Bitter Creek to Dewey Bridge: Leaving colorful Colorado
Some might call this 45-mile stretch boring, but I found it thoroughly enjoyable. You’ll cruise into what was once the bottom of an ocean eons ago. This section gets quite windy, and that element combined with copious amounts of sand slowed us down. My friend dubbed it “Sandopelli,” and we spent the first 20 miles with our heads down, pedaling hard, drafting in a single file line like a group of Tour de France riders on a breakaway.
We climbed into the beautiful and isolated Yellow Jacket Canyon, a route that starts with the desert mesa you’ll probably be accustomed to by that point and ends with a sandy descent and a hint of Utah’s famous red rocks.
Day 3: Dewey Bridge to Bull Draw: Into the forgotten valley
This day was 37 miles and not only treated our group to leg-breaking elevation gain but chilling cold. I forgot to bring my walkin’ cleats, because there was more hike-a-bike.
I know, you can’t wait to go, right? However, our group was also rewarded amazing views. You’ll ride through Fisher Valley, with the statuesque Fisher Towers in the distance, red cliffs to the side and a sea of yellow grass before you.
Day 4: Bull Draw to Milt’s Stop & Eat: A well-deserved meal
This day was a cinch compared to the epic Day 3. We descended and climbed the rolling La Sal Loop paved road that sits above Moab, and while most routes take you down a dirt road into Slickrock, our group decided they deserved a little singletrack. We took the famous Porcupine Rim and officially ended the day at Milt’s (a famous Moab eating establishment) for burgers, fries and shakes.
It’s hard to believe our road season is done and cross has really just begun! You know what also is beginning? Planning for your team in 2015! Naked Women’s Racing, in it’s 5th year, is open to race team applicants through October 1st!
Think you want to join? Read more about why you should on our Race Team page. Now are you ready?
Think you *might* want to race but not sure you want to dive in head first? Then you should totes join our Club Team!
Got questions? Email us at info [at] nakedwomenracing.com and we’ll be glad to help you out.