Riding Kokopelli Trail always turns into an adventure no matter how you approach it. I have had many a good time on the Kokopelli trail. Last weekend I got to add another worthy Koko adventure that list.
Kokopelli Trail has a special place for me. It sits as a benchmark in my life for a number of reasons. It opened up my eyes to quite a few things and revisiting the trail and views invokes much for me.
One of those things was opening my eyes to new aspects of riding. It was the first place I carried a water filter with me on a bike. A simple thing but revolutionary to me at the time as it extended the range I could foray on my bike without being tied to a spigot. Many water filter enabled adventures have ensued.
Another life changing part of the Kokopelli Trail was that it was the first ride I did with Dave. We learned what crack buddies were on Kokopelli Trail. We made friends on Kokopelli Trail. The type of friendship that changed our lives, and although we didn't admit it to ourselves it at the time we surely fell in love on Kokopelli Trail.
The Kokopelli Trail Race in 2006 was my first ever unsupported race. No woman had ever finished it and I was determined to! My finish time, 15:03 still stands as the course record. I hope a lady breaks it soon! That will fire me up undoubtedly to go back again and ride it fast. I have not tried to ride it fast since 2006. We had big headwinds that day. It was not a record setting day. It is a soft record.
I have ridden Koko in 3 days with a friend who is now a very good friend. Koko is a great place to make friends.
I rode Koko "backwards" in 2007 Loma - Moab in 15:06 thirteen weeks post collar bone surgery and in the midst of the final decline of my dead marriage. That was simply riding for the joy of being outside and not on a trainer or in a vicious marriage counseling office listening to how hateful I am. Kokopelli fed my soul in ways I needed terribly that day.
In 2008 I was deep in a single speed obsession so Koko had to be SS'd! 15:21 on my single speed Moab - Loma was hard! Koko kicked my butt that day. It is a bear to gear for on an SS!! Surprisingly I wasn't that much slower SS.
In 2009 Kokopelli Trail did not see any of my tracks. MC asked me if I was *done* with Kokopelli?
2010 last weekend I saw my friend Kokopelli with another friend JJ. I invited her to ride Koko with me. We saw the sunrise at 8,600 feet in the La Sals.
I did my best eagle
We had blue skies and sun
Saw lots of flowers
Got to see DH later in the ride and share some girl power
I nailed my ride goals
We had a blissful day. Koko gave us soul. Koko kicked our butts. We called it at 105 miles when the bliss level dropped and skipped the gutting it out bit of the last 40 miles :-)
Nailing my joy and harmony goals with a DNF was a complete surprise - a scenario I hadn't considered. Koko has something new for me each time.
Instead we headed for Paradox Pizza - best pie in Moab. It was perfect :-)
I had a lot of fun writing this blog finding the links and looking at past Koko adventures and photos. Good luck to everybody setting out on their Koko adventure anytime soon.
I took full advantage of Sunday knowing the weather was moving in Monday. 6:10, 67 miles, 330 TSS, 0.741 IF, 32 x 21 gear.
The morning started off bluebird as I was sipping coffee but by the time I got on my bike wispy clouds were already coming up from the horizon. I shoulda gotten up earlier...
DH dragged himself up out of his flu bed to catch some vitD and ride with me. He lasted only one hour before having to slink home, still sick... We did a fun lap on Barrel Roll. After leaving DH I took a jaunt up Bus Stop then Cove Wash.
Down Stucki to the micro loop then up Blakes to Bulldog Canyon and down Curly Hollow. I followed a set of mtb tracks up Blakes which is a rare sighting. A set of pythons by the looks of the print.
By the time I was coming down Blakes it looked dark and stormy everywhere. Except on the top of my head that is. I had a bubble day and rode in a ray of sunshine that followed me all day. I love those days.
Back to the Micro Loop and reversed my tracks up Stucki.
The sun was low and the air turned orange.
The desert was empty except for this gal who followed me all the way up Stucki. She was strong. I tried to drop her. Each time I upped the paced she matched it. We were flying.
We made the turn at the top of Stucki and she got ahead of me. She ripped down the descent. I couldn't catch her.
It must have been those big wheels she was riding - they were huge.
So tall and skinny she got further ahead of me as the sun went down until I lost her. I was sad to see her and the sun leave cause I wanted to keep riding with them forever.
We didn't get the 3-4 inches of snow forecast here in town this week much to the disappointment of kinders. It has been cold here tho'. Colder than I can remember in December. So cold I was curious and looked up the record temps. The mornings here have been about 25 F. Record low for December here is 3F so we are not breaking any records. Average daily high is normally 55F for December and we hit a high of 32F today.
I had to ride early today as the chindlers get out of escuela early on Fridays. It was 25F when I left the house and 26F when I got home 1.5 hours later. I even rode thru a few snow flurries at the top of Snow Canyon! It is a good opportunity for me to try out my cold weather gear. My feet were happy with the shoe/toe warmer/bootie combo.
This week I have only done short rides and stuck close to home. Partly because of the temps but mostly I because I am torched from Sunday's adventure.
West Canyon is my gravel grinder recovery route. Mostly flat 54 TSS round trip from home.
Always beautiful it has an extra spark with a smattering of snow on the cliffs.
On Sunday morning looking forward at the weather forecast we saw the following week not so appealing for training. Training thus got thrown out of the window, Topofusion was opened and big spendy Sunday ride planning began.
We rolled out bright and early at 11am... Not quite enough time to pull this one off in the daylight - teeheehee!! Twas ok we brought lights.
It turned out to be a spectacular route. Especially the descent along Hole-N-Rock Canyon. Eye popping beautiful.
The dark blue line is the Utah-Arizona border.
Before we even started pedaling we saw this sign which totally cracked Dave up - which made me crack up too. I love hanging out with Dave as we crack each other up all the time. The silly mood was the theme of the day. Seems we spent most of the day laughing!
We got pretty far "out there" on this ride and encountered lots of things that seemed to crack us up.
Like this backscratcher. I'd never seen anything like it and yes it cracked me up!! Dem cowboys like their cows.
This one tickled Dave's funny-bone. In the middle of nowhere a monitor hanging from a tree by a bungee racked full of bullet holes.
We had a super fine Turkey Day. Fixie Dave came along and took lots of photos. Fixie Dave showed up with gears and a free wheeling cassette!! He did make the most awesome chocolate cake for dessert - yummy.
Dinner was fabulous and we all were over served, especially Dave Harris...
The best part of the day was going riding tho! The original plan was for me to take Emma with the Tag-a-long for a lap on Bear Claw trail. Wes had his new blue bike all ready for it's virgin ride which freed up his old 24" red Specialized Hotrock. Emma was determined to ride that! No tag-a-long for her! She barely fits on it.
Wes railed around on his new bike!! It is super awesome!! He didn't even realize how much faster he was riding and how much bigger stuff he was rolling up and down on it!! He is such a natural athlete and rider. It is a little stunning...
This was the very first time we all got out mtbing together. Kids are growing and we are moving into a new phase of family activities. I am psyched for them!!
My legs were poopy today after a zippy and fun group ride yesterday (read: I drilled it ;-) Dave got back in town after a week in New Jersey and needed an easy detox ride. Today was just a short ride in the Bear Claw/Zen trail zone. Short but awesome - lovely day.
That left the afternoon open to finish up Wesley's new mountain bike. It came like this a couple of weeks ago.
We spec'd it entirely from spare parts. Other than the frame the grips are the only other new parts. The green Ergon grips look sweet with the blue frame.
Dave pulled this blue SID carbon world cup fork out of his garage! It is perfect. He gets some stick for the "mess" in his garage but it is full of goodies.
Wes' new ride has a 2005 XTR gruppo, disc brakes 26" wheels and tubeless tires. It is rad!! Finished up it weighed in at 22 lbs!! We are going riding on Thanksgiving Day - look for ride pics coming.
When I was 9 years old (Wesley is 9 yrs old now) my parents were really into sailing. They were competitive and raced Wayfarers. They bought my two sisters and I our own boats and we raced too. We had Mirror - looked like this and a Topper. I sure didn't appreciate how awesome that was at the time. They put a ton of work into setting up the boats and all the kit you need to be safe and warm sailing on the North Sea. Back in those days (um... I was 9yrs old in 1979 so we are talking the 70's here!!!) you couldn't buy wetsuits small enough for kids so they bought neoprene and made us them! Then we were set loose on the sea all day. We had a blast, learned lots, got epicked, raced each other, learned how to sail and the finer points of how to sail fast, how tides and winds shift and work, we broke things, fixed things, got hypothermia (once), saw a real live seahorse swimming in the sea (once) saw real live sewage swimming in the sea (many times) and saw a real dead guy floating butt up in the water (once), capsized our boats (many times) and got them upright again without help (most of the time), got our masts stuck in the mud, dared each other to jump off the end of the harbor...sailed out to islands no one lived on, found things on said islands. We had adventures.
Giving Wes a bike 22lb bike set up with a carbon SID fork and XTR seems really small peas compared to that and he has way, way, way, way more parental supervision than I ever had... but I hope he has his own adventures and has some of them on this bike.
I did goof tho...what on earth am I going to get him for Christmas now???
24 hour solo single speed national championship jerseys, that is.
This one has been a long time in the making. As recent as 3 years ago I thought riding a SS was a freaky fringe thing - as all non single speeders do. After bombing out of Moab in '07, racing with pre-existing injuries, I was certain the Moab chapter was done.
And then about 2 years ago I put a SS conversion kit on an old HT frame...and then USAC announced Moab as the venue of 24 nats for '09 - coinciding with the SS obsession - and like a moth to a flame, it was on.
We had plenty of 2-epic planning sessions. What gear to run, what strategy to use, what fuel, tires, pit setup...and of course what training to do. I rode a Milk Money in '07 - in fact the first time I ever threw a leg over a SS bike - for a few minutes on Gooseberry, and was amazed at how nimble and *plush* and firm it was all at once. It was hard to shake that notion, of how well suited it was for the Moab course, and with Nats in mind I pulled the trigger on it early this year. Lynda got right in line shortly thereafter ;)
Mike Curiak has helped us with our 29er FS SS addiction every step of the way. Bikes, wheels, tires - he's one dude with more miles than I, lives next door to Moab, makes the finest hoops around - all around great crack daddy and nice guy. Unless you are racing him...
I got a bit carried away with the bikepacking thing this summer. Multiple sub-24s, Grand Loop, KMC, an 8 day bikepack trip with LW, CTR - it was an absolute blast but by the end of it all I was friggin smoked and not particularly fast. It was a tough pill to swallow but after CTR all long rides got the AX.
Quality work was king and longer rides were 6 hours max except for one big day on the CT 3 weeks out. As Moab loomed closer, anticipation/excitement rose along with fitness. Layers of fatigue melted away, a new snap came into the legs, and power began to rocket upwards in a hurry. I added some key workouts that addressed my personal weaknesses that would be a key limiter at Moab...and the last one knocked me down for a good 7-8 days. But as recovery came, the peak was on - on big. Certain bits of trail that used to feel challenging became easy. I've been here before only to get carried away and peel that peak away before raceday. Not this year. LW could see it happening and told me I was gonna have the race of my life. Curiak said his magic 8 ball is never wrong WRT Moab and it said this was my year.
Meanwhile, LW had been talking with JenyJo about being pit boss
and then Cynthia decided to come too. Kong and Adam were in to turn wrenches, keep tabs on results, and scream like maniacs as we left the pit - it just doesn't get any better than this.
Mojo was in place. It's a damn good thing because the unknowns were pretty big...this is the first year USAC has recognized a SS 24 solo championship category. The first year to have a SS solo category at Moab. And since you could preview the start list at grannygear.com I knew I'd have my hands full with Dejay, Greg Martin, Shaun, and other honches in the field. Despite the stacked field, I gotta admit it was Nat Ross who haunted my dreams pre race. In this funky dream I had Nat was at the start, riding SS, drinking a can of Red Bull then crushing the can on his forehead with a mouth full of grinning teeth. Seems I've been one place behind Nat so many times it's left a mark LOL.
There's a lot more to the story but I'll try not to get too verbose. For myself, the journey is FAR more interesting than the destination, even when the destination is what we seek. This big long preamble *is* the story in my mind. The hardest part of 24 hour racing is done once you arrive to the start line.
And, we did arrive at the start line. What a crazy scene as always - every year it's some dude wearing next to nothing that takes the lead in the Lemans start run. For the rest of us it was a dust eating contest. LW claims the win but I was a close 2nd ;)
Heading up the road on the first lap was madness. My 33.20 wasn't really tall enough to be near the front so I didn't run that hard. This probably put me about 100 riders back, and damn that's a rough place to be. Everyone was pinned and racing, it was kinda funny to be spun out and coasting through the madness. Some dude yelled "in the middle!" and stuck his elbows out between two riders that were already bar to bar and of course caused a big fat crash directly in front of me. Tempers flared (not mine, I avoided it). This was clearly a different sort of 24 hour race now that USAC and a jersey was involved.
Alas, it all settled down eventually, riders spreading out. The flow was good, I felt great, and the course turned out to be fantastic fun on the SS!!! The tech/ledgy bits were every bit as ridable as with gears and the sand traps were fine too so long as they were free of wallowers. I rode with a couple SSers on the first lap - Brae was young and strong, easily cleaning a steep rock face I couldn't ride in the pre-ride and never attempted in the race. Shawn was looking strong. Dejay was out front and looking strong but was not psyched to see me on a FS: "awe FS? You gotta get a 30 min penalty for that!" I agreed immediately.
I didn't expect to move into the lead so early - but by lap 2 I was out front and never looked back. I honestly thought I'd be running 1:20-1:25 lap times given the gear limitation and all the spun out sections on the second half of the course. After learning I was doing consistent 1:15's I pulled the reigns in a bit.
I had a great time the first daylight hours chatting with friends on the course. I rode with Sonya a bit
and yo-yo'd with Pua for 3 laps
I also ride a bit with Ernesto and Eddie Odea who I had not yet met in person. It was pretty cool to have just about the entire national level enduro field in Moab this year :) I never rode with any one person very long though. SS flow is so different than geared - the first 5 miles of the course I was relatively flying, while the flat stuff later I was relatively pokey.
Meanwhile LW was putting down a solid race. I was hoping to catch her but damn she was flying. I did finally get to ride with her in the night for a bit and she looked great, climbing well and railing techy stuff in the dark.
After the 2nd lap my lead continued to steadily grow. That afforded some comfort time in the pit. Instead of 30 second pits like '05, I could sit down for 5 min and stuff 400 calories plus a red bull down the piehole. Jeff Kerkove captured a video, super candid - I had no idea he was filming until the very end of the clip - that shows how awesome our pit was dialed on multiple levels. JJ keeping me fed and primed for the next lap, Cyn and Kong figuring out where in the field I am, and my nutty crack state at 3AM. Kong is trying to tell me I'm in 3rd in the open geared race and I simply couldn't wrap my head around it at the time. During the race I became entirely focused on the SS race...not sure how to embed it here, it's on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1211372935270.
While in the pits about 4AM Toastman rode by. I just got lapped by a solo rider! Holy crap I didn't expect that. He was having a fantastic race - and it was no surprise. We chatted the morning before the start and I could tell he was confident and ready for any challenges. As was I. We were musing that with such a talent heavy field there was going to be mass carnage as Moab likes to dish it out to solos in even the best of conditions, but also that he and I were going to have one helluva great time...in any case I left the pits a couple minutes after he went by and rode up to him at the top of the first climb. We rode together for a good bit, chatting along the way. I could tell he had a blistering start because he wasn't riding fast on the climbs. He didn't need to apparently as he had an hour lead. I rode ahead on the climby stuff and he mached by in his big ring on the fast descent to the finish...
Finally the long night gave way to early light, and I decided afterall to stop for some food, coffee, and even a short nap. My lead was approaching 3 hours and I was willing to use a bit of it to really be able to enjoy the last 2 laps. And that's about how it played out. I did get a bit wheezy from 24 hours of dust towards the end but even on lap 15 I was completely enjoying the flow of it all. I rolled around the course easily, enjoying the play of clouds and sun in the La Sals, the desert beauty all around, the heightened awareness that comes with exhaustion, and rolling down the final descent was hit by a wave of emotions and those dang tears busted loosed under my glasses. Why does that happen? A couple team riders ripped past me to snap me back to the present...
Race highlights: JJ, Cynthia, Kong and Adam keeping us comfy and dialed. Seriously, it was uncanny how quickly JJ adapted to our flexible race plans and seemed to know what we needed and when. Simply brilliant! This was a complete team effort, no question.
LW riding smooth, smart, tactical after having a less than ideal preparation.
Chance meetings with the finer half of 2-epic on course and in the pit :)
Clocking 15 laps for 1st SS solo. Only 2 geared riders finished in front of me...go figure.
And drumroll please....we've earned jerseys before together in races, but by far the highlight is earning the stars and bars together with my dream girl.
We wear these for a year. I'm not exactly sure what that means, but all the same - pinch me!
We have been getting to know him quite well. He came for Camp Lynda and hasn't left yet!
He is a complete Facebook addict for one thing...
...and famous! On Saturday Dave (Harris) and I were out and twice folks told us Fixie Dave was in town and he takes this SS thing to a new level... Dave says "yeah he is staying at my house". Twas funny - maybe you had to be there ?
...and endearingly he has been working through our bikes overhauling them. This is no small task if you have seen our bikes and how much we ride them. It is perfect timing post Camp Lynda and pre-OP for some bike love and Dave has been stepping up!!
He is one for the details and hunted down a mystery creak on my Voodoo kitty. Now I wont have to listen to it for 24 hours at OP. Nice, very nice. Thanks Dave.
Talking about 24 hours in the Old Pueblo...the obsession is in full swing now Camp Lynda is over and done with. We are both racing SS solo and by all reports both the men's AND women's SS solo fields look stacked. This is something I am really really excited about!!! Gearies beware ;-)