Kokopelli Trail April 28 & May 5, 2016
Tough question to answer. The vast majority of the trail looks like this on a scale of 1-10:
Technical skill – 6 (how well you can navigate tricky trail)
Note that these are averages, not peak difficulties. There are some very technical pieces but are short enough to walk. Without respectable technical ability you'll find yourself walking quite a bit, especially on day one.
This is real mountain biking and is not a beginner trail! You should be comfortable riding narrow singletrack while playing slalom with large "babyhead" rocks in your path, and also good at negotiating 6-15" ledges & steps.
This is the toughest event we run. The trail itself isn't terribly demanding, doing it in 3 days is. It will be a very intense experience! It's definitely an accomplishment you'll be proud of but please don't kid yourself into thinking it'll be an easy spin. If you've trained you'll have a blast. If you haven't, you'll suffer. If you don't know the difference this event isn't for you.
What kind of shape do I need to be in?
Expect to be in the saddle an average of 6+ hours per day. You'll receive a training guide that will help you prepare & know what to expect.
The #1 comment we hear from riders is, "if I knew it was this hard I would have trained." So here it is - This will be hard, you need to train. Don't attempt this off-the-couch, you'll suffer.
Is there a certain pace to the ride?
Not really. There's a loose start in the AM after discussing the trail for the day. People typically fall into groups of 2-8 based on riding abilities & conversational topics. Some hammer, some yammer. There's no structure from us about pace with the exception that you'll need to pass the lunch stop by a certain cut-off time. Cut-off times are generous, we rarely have to use them.
Do you have guides on the trail?
This is not a guided tour. If you're expecting a sushi chef, hotels rooms, numerous bike guides, or a large staff catering to your needs, this is not your trip! Our focus is to provide the logistical support necessary for you to ride the trail in style. That includes terrific meals, water, facilities, shuttles where necessary, a beautiful campsite, a warm campfire, nightly rubdowns & showers and anything else we can do within our resources to ensure a fun & safe trip. You will need to be entirely self-supported while on the trail between camp & sag stops. We do have a shuttle van available each day, but it does not travel the trail itself, just the support points (approx 20 miles between each point). Your job is to spin pedals until you reach those points, and to handle all your personal needs while off-trail. And remember that we are prepared to handle virtually any emergency & ensure safety of our riders should that need arise.
How's the food?
Awe-inspiring. Lunch is lite to keep you feeling strong on the bike. Breakfast & dinner are huge & varied. All-you-can-eat chips, salsa & guacamole are available as soon as you reach camp each day. All meals are served with meat "on the side," so if you're a vegetarian you won't be punished with mac & cheese for three nites. Dairy-free & gluten-free are both possible but if you require a custom menu this trip probably isn't for you.
What's the camping scene?
Primitive camping – technically we're car-camping but camps are minimalist. There'll be a big kitchen for group meals, snacks, a campfire, a hand wash area, pit privies available on numerous occasions daily, a lunch & water stop at each day's halfway point (called "sag stops"), and lots of tent space that nite. Camp showers are available for a quick rinse. Our last nite has full facilities including a pool, hot tub & big clean bathrooms with showers & infinite hot water!
And somehow we've been talked into bringing massage therapists, so grab a good sports massage if you want one.
What do I need to bring?
Apart from your bike & riding gear, you'll need to show up with everything you'll need for the weekend, excluding food & bike tools. Tent, sleeping bag, clothes & personal items are really all you need, you'll receive a gear list once registered. Each rider is allowed one large duffel bag to be shuttled from camp to camp. Bring what you need to be comfortable, but remember that it ALL has to fit into one duffel bag. The one exception to this rule is a folding camp chair.
What's the weather like?
Expect weather to be in the 70's, possibly 80's during the day. Nites are cool, usually dipping below 50 after dark. You can expect to be riding in shorts & short-sleeved jerseys, some like to carry a windbreaker on day three due to altitude. At nite jeans, thick fleece & maybe some polypro long underwear if you're cold blooded & a hat are the most common sight. Remember weather's about as predictable as a herd of cats, so plan for contingencies. We've seen 98 degree days, we've seen snow.
What happens if the weather's really bad?
We've canceled one trip in 13 years so far, that's a pretty good track record. Still, understand the possibility for extreme conditions does exist and we have an obligation to do what's right for the safety of our riders as well as being good environmental stewards.
That means if the conditions are really bad and we don't feel it's safe or wise to be on-trail then the event will be rerouted or cancelled. And if that happens we'll attempt to make alternate plans based on conditions in the area but keep in mind there are very few options for moving a group of 100 around in the field.
What's your cancellation policy?
Where should I fly into for this event?
You want to arrive in Grand Junction, CO. Grab a cab & plan to stay the nite before the start in Fruita, CO. Don't rent a car, you won't need it - you can bike across this town in about 2 minutes. Expect to be back in Fruita the following Sunday by 1pm & can easily make a 3pm flight out.
Can I ship my bike out to Fruita? Or can I rent a quality bike there?
Yes, several options, we'll fill you in later. The simplest shipping solution we've found is BikeFlights.com.
Why don't you supply energy bars for the trail?
We supply all your meals EXCEPT your on-trail food. Some people like Power Bars, some like LaraBars, some like pork chops. Seriously, there's no way to make this politically feasible so we don't even try.
What are the best tires for the trail?
There's a great discussion about this every year among the gearheads, the consensus seems to be larger volume (2.1" – 2.4") meaty treads to deal with loose rock & sand. Tubeless systems with sealant do well as long as you've got them dialed in before the ride.
Do cell phones work on trail? What about personal 2-way radios?
Cell access is limited, don't count on it at all. There is good reception for most of day 1, then pretty much nothing til Moab. 2-Ways are usually only effective for a mile or two regardless of advertised range – there are a lot of obstructions out there.
Still want more? Check out our facebook page, lots of veteran riders there.