The reason for going on this trip is because I love to be on the bike. But I also am fearful of this trip. I have never camped alone before. I love traveling and going to crazy places with other people but I find it hard to do those same things by myself. So I came up with a good saying, if I am scared to do it, it’s probably a good reason to do it. I want to push my boundaries and grow, and this is yet another cause to do that through.
So I decided to take on a longer trail multi-day bike camping experience. After doing some research and ruling out the Colorado trail due to snow, Coconino Loop due to spending more money going tubeless due to cacti flat tires, I came upon the Kokopelli trail. It is a 160 mile trail from Fruita, Colorado to Moab, Utah through a compilation of mountain biking and jeep trails. My plan was to bike about 30-50 miles a day camping for 4-5 days with all my gear on my bike.
I can reflect on my initial fears of traveling to help me through this. Through traveling, there would sometimes be anxious situations to get over. The whole feeling of the unknown. We went into a lot of unknown situations, and it always seemed to be ok. We figured it out as we went. And soon enough it became no big deal find a place to stay in a few hours, eat a dodgy meal, or get stuck in a sticky situation. I am reminding myself of those times as I prepare for this bike ride. That the feeling of the unknown is just that, a feeling of the unknown, not a reality. I have to go and find the reality out for myself. And that is where I will continue to learn.
So as I made the 14 hour drive to Fruita, Colorado I called the BLM manager and checked for water sources on the trail. I knew they just got some rain and therefore the water sources shouldn’t be completely dried up. The BLM manager proceeded to tell me that my first projected water source at 50 miles was a maybe. They were having trouble with the water well and it wasn’t guaranteed. This was a little bit of a problem. So I switched my plan and decided to try and make it 50 miles on day 1, and if there wasn’t any water there I wouldn’t risk it and would turn back, and make it a 1 night experience.
One thing I severely underestimated was the heat. I am a tropical dude, I can usually take the heat. But biking around 3000’+ elevation a day, up rocky single track, doing around 40 miles through the heat, carrying my bike over big rocks with 7 liters of water packed on my bike…was another level of sweat paired with the 100+ degree heat.
After getting on the trail at 7 am, I start to ride. The trail is seeming awesome with great views. I had to fix a little bike troubles but that was it. After getting off Mary’s loop it starts to get pretty tough and it is starting to heat up. I had to decend down the canyon across the colorado river and up over the other side of the canyon. This was hard. Basically carrying my bike over big rocks/boulders and pushing my bike up very loose rocks was not fun. At around 15 miles I was thinking of quitting pretty bad. I decided to push on, because thats what I came here to do. After another three miles of pushing and carrying my bike, I realized I am guzzling water and have gone through 5 liters of my total 7 liters in 5 hours and only gone 20 miles. I finally hit a jeep road and I start to easily fly a few miles. I detoured and went for a bridge and took some shade and decided what to do next.
If I push my boundaries through my fears, then I will continue to grow throughout life. It will become easier for me to take on any challenges that lie ahead of me. In a sense this is all mental preparation. Sometimes we work so hard in making sure our bodies are in tip top shape, but we spend little time training our mind. I think it’s a shame. Our mind is such a complex yet powerful tool in life that we must work on too.
I decided that I can’t carry on and make it 30 more miles to the water sources today, and if the trail is 10% of what I did for the past 20ish miles I wouldn’t make it. Two liters of water was not going to get me there. Even if I made it and there was a chance of no water at the source I would be screwed. So I decided to find a main road and head back.
Kokopelli trail in mid June was a failure. but it seems the more I fail the more I grow.
The more comfortable I am the less I grow, I think. The more I put myself in tough situations the more I learn. I could easily stay in okc and sit on the couch and watch tv and drink with friends. This is easy. But I want to be mentally tough, so this is my training right now.
After failing the first day, I decided that people who have done this trail, even disregarding the weather have to be crazy. I decided to look back on the descriptions of this trail to see if anyone noted that the beginning of the trail was the most difficult part or was it just this way the whole time. Of course I found out one article saying this, “Starting from Loma, you will be greeted with 12 miles of singletrack, and one of the more challenging sections toped off by a difficult hike-a-bike”…something I guess I looked over.
So I decided to do the last part of the trail on a day ride in two days time, along with the Klondike Bluff loop on the next day (pictured below). Still was tough with the heat, but was actually fun and so much better than the grueling carrying my bike over big rocks that the beginning of the Kokopelli trail had out for me.
One thing I learned was I am no mountain bike expert. I used to see double black diamond and be like oh ya I can do that. Now I look at it in a different light. Expert trails now could be more pushing your bike instead of riding it and maybe that is not what I want. It’s funny how the more you expierence the more humble you become. I am no mountain bike expert.
Much struggles and learning to you all. Enjoy it.
A lot if people keep telling me to be careful on this trip. I think that we shouldn’t be careful in this life. The more careful we are the less we push our own boundaries. And the less we grow. To be great, you have to do radical things. You can not be careful. Do you think Jesus was careful? No he was bold.
As I was biking these past weeks I had a little thought about The Edge. The edge of a cliff or a mountain always looks like the edge from a distance. But in reality there’s usually something just past it. Usually there is another ledge or area just under the edge that you didn’t see before. Going up to the edge you realize you can step down from what you thought was the edge to another spot to get a better picture of a valley or cliff or so. If you are looking from a distance you think you are bound by what you see. But when you actually walk up to the edge you realize there is more. Much is like life and yourself. We think we are bound by something or some limits. When we actually push ourselves at those limits or those edges, we see there is more to us than we thought. But it takes going up to the edge to find out.
After doing the solo bike trip, I headed to Twisp, Washington to be with my family before I start my new job. Yes new job! I went biking there as well. This is a shot of Cutthroat Pass, where the PCT passes by. Cool to see that part of the PCT.
To feel the elements just as they are