RR: 2015 Kokopelli Trail

Discussion in 'Ride Reports' started by Mikie, May 8, 2015.


  1. Mikie

    Mikie MTB Addict

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    2012 Yeti ASR 5c
    Kokopelli Trail runs from just outside Fruita Colorado to Moab Utah.

    Starting from Fruita, it's a connection of singletrack loops joined together and blended with off road 4 wheel drive duotrack, fire roads, with even some paved road in there as well. Its length depending on what variation you do is approximately 150 miles long with approximately 15,000 feet of elevation gain. While I choose not to do the singletrack Yellow Jacket, I do prefer to add the Western Rim Trail in Colorado and the UPS, LPS, and the Porcupine Rim Trail in Moab Utah.
    There are many ways to do the Kokopelli Trail, but I prefer to do it with an outfit called Bikerpelli, a company that focuses exclusively on the mountain biker’s experience riding the Kokopelli Trail system. Designed as a 3 day trek starting outside Fruita Colorado, you show up with a large duffel bag containing extra clothes, toiletries, a tent, a folding chair, and a S.A.G. bag that you replenish each day with what you need for on the trail. Bikerpelli supplies all the water, Breakfast Lunch and Dinner off the trail, bike work stations and tools as well as spare parts, tires, tubes, sealant, most common nuts and bolts, and most importantly beer, margarita’s, portable bathrooms and showers (using this term loosely)! As well, there are daily trail meetings during which there are noted suggestions, things to avoid, and options.

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    This was my 3rd year of doing Kokopelli via the Bikerpelli experience. My opinion, you are crazy NOT to do it with them. 1) Because they take care of everything, 2) Alex, owner of Bikerpelli makes you feel like you should, you are doing something exceptional, 3) The food is outrageously good, 4) His staff is first class, and 5) Alex can dish out just as much as you give in schmack talk!
    Okay, all the details are out of the way so let’s get to the good stuff!

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    I got smart after my first ride in 2012. I asked Cathy if we wanted to make it a vacation thing and she said absolutely! So we drive our travel trailer out to Moab and stay at the destination point for Bikerpelli’s version of Kokopelli. We stay the night before and go to Eddie Mc Stiffs for dinner and the next morning she shuttles me to Mack Road (the meet point) just outside of Fruita Colorado for the Bikerpelli event. This year Eric Zacher, Kirk B. and an English gent named Paul (known as Bruce) were a part of the shuttle plan. It gives Cathy some spending money for the 3 hour round trip and we don’t have to shuttle back to Fruita with Bikerpelli on Sunday to turn around and drive back towards California. It saves around 4 to 5 hours!

    None the less, the weekend did not go without its issues. Had to replace the Fuel Filter on the Dodge in Green River, and the sprinklers went off in the middle of the night and soaked our gear at the Moab RV Park the morning we started the ride.

    Went out to dinner the night before the shuttle and hit up Mc Stiffs, my favorite Moab food place. They have a mean Blue Cheese Burger and fries! Cathy, Eric, and I met up with Kirk and Paul there and made are plans for the shuttle the next day.

    Next morning we all loaded up and headed to Mack Road just west of Fruita Colorado about an hour and a half drive. We signed our life away on a waiver, got our goodies, loaded up our duffel bag and lined up for the start. It goes out in waves (one song length on their commercial boom box apart) as you don’t want 90 riders hitting the singletrack all at once. Fast guys went first, and progressed to the slower riders. We cruised out about the middle. Three miles of fire road and then it make a sweeping 180 onto the Kokopelli Trail starting with Mary’s loop.

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    Day One is the shortest distance but the most technical. You start out nearly on and above the Colorado River and follow several singletrack loops connected together. Often in technical sections combined with a nice sheer drop on one side.



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    Day Two is a long fire road and paved section that ends with a big climb and then some fast technical. You traverse across a huge ancient ocean floor heading directly towards the snow capped La Salle mountain range. But at the end of the day you get a fast and furious 4 Wheel Drive fire road extravaganza of fast duo track with 2 and 3 foot drops and then end with the Rose Garden, a large single drop of technical delight! Then after that is a climb up to the valley floor for a stay at Camp 2...



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    Third Day is climbing day. First half is 24 miles and 17 miles of it is solid climb up and over a pass in the La Salle Mountains. You virtually watch as the terrain transforms from high desert to meadows and pines. After which you drop down to a lunch check point and then shuttle after lunch to the top of UPS in Moab where the rest of the day is a technical singletrack bomb-fest of fun chills and thrills along the edge of the Porcupine Butte all the way to the Colorado River! Yeah, and you guys didn’t go with me.

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    We had a stellar descent on the Porcupines! From there we drop on to the road and pedal in on a bike path to Moab and the Moab RV Park just across the street. Hot Showers, Cold Brew, and another night at Mc Stiff's awaited. We could have hung out with Bikerpelli to feed us but we want Blue Cheese Burgers! Headed back over to the Bikerpelli Camp to watch the awards. This year the awards didn't suck! Alex had hand welded up some cool Cogsets that looked like trophies (and they spun! Pretty cool!).

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    We all survived! Eric did Awesome! No Mechanical's, No Crashes, No Bonks! It was an Epic year on the Kokopelli Trail. I absolutely do not know what else I can possibly do to convince you to come out with me next year. I sincerely hope this EPIC ride report says it all!

    Bike . . . ON!

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  2. knucklebuster

    knucklebuster Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Mission Viejo (South Orange County)
    Name:
    Dave
    Current Bike:
    Canfield The One '12
    Wow! Great ride, great trails, great views, great toilet, great RR! :thumbup:
     
    Mikie likes this.
  3. Cougar

    Cougar MTB Addict

    Location:
    Laguna Niguel
    Name:
    Craig
    Current Bike:
    '14 Turner Burner
    That is an epic ride report. I'm seriously envious :) Maybe when the kids get a little older and I'm closer to retirement!
     
    Mikie likes this.
  4. erjzacher

    erjzacher Active Member

    Location:
    Plamdale
    Name:
    Eric Zacher
    Current Bike:
    2015 Intense Tracer DVO
    Awesome ride review Mike!! I'm very glad you were my guide/coach on this trip. This was by far the best ride I've been on. All the half assed training was worth it ;). I will definitely be joining you next year and will hopefully be able to keep up with you.
     
    Mikie likes this.
  5. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J
    Current Bike:
    SC Highball Al SS
    Looks like a great ride....a great experience.

    Well done.

    So you ride Kokopeli, Upper Poison Spider, Lower Poison Spider, and Porcupine Rim....These are part of the Whole Enchilada....did you also do Burro Pass and Hazard County? or did you come in at a lower trail? Just trying to figure out the route.
     
    Mikie likes this.
  6. Voodoo Tom

    Voodoo Tom MTB Addict

    Location:
    Castaic
    Name:
    Tom
    Current Bike:
    Ibis Ripley
    Bout damn time you posted up the RR for this, some of us have been waiting for like a week :shock: . I must say though this was worth the wait as I knew it would be. Some how some way I'm doing this ride with you although I'll be following you through the chunky stuff so you don't use me for traction.
     
    Mikie likes this.
  7. herzalot

    herzalot MTB Addict

    Location:
    Laguna Beach
    Name:
    Chris
    Current Bike:
    2015 Intense Tracer 275c DVO
    Great RR, great ride...

    'nuff said! :clap: :thumbup: :wave:
     
    Mikie likes this.
  8. hill^billy

    hill^billy MTB Addict

    Location:
    Acton
    Name:
    Doug Lake
    Current Bike:
    Yeti SB-66
    NICE! All of it, I love that video, seems like the side of the helmet is the best placement for the GP.
     
    Mikie likes this.
  9. Tom the Bomb

    Tom the Bomb MTB Addict

    Location:
    Alta Loma, Ca.
    Name:
    Thomas Cosgrove
    Current Bike:
    Niner WFO
    Sooooo sweeeeeeeet , You badass mountain biker you!
     
    Mikie likes this.
  10. Mikie

    Mikie MTB Addict

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    2012 Yeti ASR 5c
    No Sir, we came over the pass of the La Salle's and dropped down a paved road named, believe it or not, "Delores Triangle Safari Route" made a right into a small campground where we had lunch. From there they shuttled us up a paved road named La Sal Loop Road. We unloaded and rode Frontage Road 4634 (FR4634) to Upper Poison Spider which connected to Lower Poison Spider to the Porcupine Rim Trail. PRT takes you all the way to the trailhead at Grandstaff Campground on Highway 128. THey had recently built some top of the line bike path to include some bridges along highway 128 which we followed a couple of miles to hit Moab.
     
  11. Broke and broken

    Broke and broken Member

    Name:
    Greg
    Nice. The pics are motivational and it looks like a good time. Do you feel like the guides were worth the $? I'm generally averse to spending money on guides who usually have to assume you're a total greenhorn and steer you away from the good stuff. That said i did have a good guide experience rafting the Kern once--when the guide learned that two of us in the boat had whitewater experience back in the day, we got set free to surf & play. So I try to keep an open mind.
     
    Mikie likes this.
  12. Mikie Robin Mcguire

    Mikie Robin Mcguire Well-Known Member

    Name:
    mikie and robin
    Great!! photos & great ride report. . Thank you!
     
    Mikie likes this.
  13. Mikie

    Mikie MTB Addict

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    2012 Yeti ASR 5c
    B&B,
    Great question!
    I could never do a group ride with a guide . . . :wtf:
    That would be horrible! If you saw those people in the Vid I was passing, they were with the Bikerpelli group...

    There aint no guides, you are on your own. Bikerpelli supplies a ton of stuff but what they don't supply is restrictions.
    They call themselves the "Home Depot of biking experiences. All the things you need and none of what you don't."

    They supply all the background logistics, off trail food (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner), Water, Beer, Maragritas (if you so choose) portable bathroom facilities, camp shower, instructions, suggestions, shuttles at appropriate spots for some, the shuttle back to Fruita (1 1/2 hour one way), they obtain the camping permits, provide medical and search and rescue, etc.
    In between checkpoints, you are totally on your own. Ride as hard or as easy as you want.

    The question I would ask is this, "Would I pay $500 bucks to have an experienced group cater me on a 150 mile ride across some amazing territory?" Apparently, I'm in for next year, and the only way it could possibly be better is if you went with me. It's New Dirt for me when I get to share it! :D :cool:
    This year sold out in 22 minutes (90 riders)...

    I would like to find another ride that is done just like Bikerpelli some where else to add an additional Epic adventure...
     
  14. hill^billy

    hill^billy MTB Addict

    Location:
    Acton
    Name:
    Doug Lake
    Current Bike:
    Yeti SB-66
    Mikie, I have heard there is an outfit that has you ride from stocked cabin to cabin. Unfortunatly I have forgotten all details about it like where, how many miles between cabins? You know the important stuff. I think it was Mike Grace who told me about it? Maybe someone here has done it,or knows something about it? Is it still in opperation?
     
    Mikie likes this.
  15. Mikie

    Mikie MTB Addict

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    2012 Yeti ASR 5c
    Dougie, I think you are talking about a Colorado ride something called Hut to Hut, or something like that. I do want to do the Colorado Trail, I hear it's a high altitude epic adventure...
     
  16. hill^billy

    hill^billy MTB Addict

    Location:
    Acton
    Name:
    Doug Lake
    Current Bike:
    Yeti SB-66
    Well then, it's on the list :thumbup: , Of course we can never perdict the future, but I went through a pretty good phase of Koko remorse! Thanks to your vid and beautiful pics. I'm thinking next year. The thing that has to be done for an all around epic experience is training. No question when you put your head down it get's done, and you are undeniably a better rider than a couple of years ago when getting back into the passion. Did you train enough this year,I thought you may have trained harder last year, or did you feel the pain? I didn't do it this year cause of how I was dropped last year by everyone :shock: , due to lack of training , I wasn't prepared to commit this year.
     
    Mikie likes this.
  17. Faust29

    Faust29 MTB Addict

    Location:
    Rancho Santa Margarita
    Name:
    Steve Macko
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Highball SS
    Bike Magazine did the Hut to Hut awhile back. It looked like an awesome time!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    Mikie likes this.
  18. Mikie

    Mikie MTB Addict

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    2012 Yeti ASR 5c
    @hill^billy
    To be honest, I hardly put any miles or training in this year. I was a little nervous but my years of base miles pulled me through no problem. There was a couple of times where I was feeling it, but for the most part just knowing what was ahead kept me out of trouble. I just knew how to meter out the effort... :)
     
  19. mtbbiker

    mtbbiker Active Member

    Name:
    Craig
    Wow Mikie! I am officially green with envy! Awesome ride report!


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
     
    Mikie likes this.
  20. Broke and broken

    Broke and broken Member

    Name:
    Greg
    The hut thing is Durango to moab or telluride to moab I think. The Colorado trail is probably harder to do supported but look up Hermosa Tours and see if you like their offerings.
     
    Mikie likes this.
  21. ColoradoDennis

    ColoradoDennis New Member

    Name:
    Dennis P. Heffern
    Okay, so I'm exhausted, just got a new back tire put on and I'm ready to get on the shuttle to finish this 3 day epic by getting driven up to UPS/LPS/Porcupine Rim, and this guy with his helmet askew asks one of my buddies, "Can I ride with you guys?" I pay little attention until later when he's in my way going down UPS. I pass him, and I stop about 8 minutes later to wait for some of my buddies. This same guy pulls up with a big smile on his face. "Hi, I'm Mikie." He further explains that he is crazy about mountain biking, he runs this online mountain bike magazine and he can't believe we're on Porcupine Rim. He explains how this is his 3rd attempt to conquer the beast as injury kept him off the first time, and his hesitant initial descent is explained away by the fact that he broke his wrist last time coming down from the top. While waiting for my buddies, we exchange the usual small talk and he notes that my Kaiser Permanente (my Colorado employer) jersey is also his insurance and medical care provider. He proceeds to tell me how many and exactly which bones he has broken mountain biking - this is why he likes Kaiser.

    My friends arrive updating that they need to slow it down the rest of the way. Mikie and I look at each other: Ready to tear it up? Big smile. And this guy with just a little gut (musta been the blue cheese burgers at the aforementioned Eddie McStiff's in Moab) and big frame proceeds to "tear it up." I've ridden Porcupine Rim over 10 times and this guy just starts to shred it. We put a foot down. I clarify that if he crashes, I'm no doc or nurse, so be careful. I detail that I'm a social worker, and that I'm concerned about his mental health. He laughs crazily, points down the trail, and says, "Shall we?" And we're off.

    After that, we rarely stop. We pass groups of riders stopped on the trail. Mikie and I look at them funny wondering why one would turn off the fun machine. The few stops involve food and pictures. He wants pictures and I want food for both of us so we make it in one piece. It's a technical finish and I find myself quite invested in making sure this crazy man finally finishes the Kokopelli Trail via Porcupine Rim. We finish it, riding triumphantly into camp in Moab. Yeah, I'm "Greg," referenced in the pictures. He's either changed my name in an effort to protect the innocent or the next round of blue cheese burgers and beers following this 150 mile epic beat-down in the desert has simply caused him to forget my real name - Dennis.

    Doesn't matter, 'cause I just made a great friend out on the trail. I believe most mountain bikers know exactly what I'm talking about. If dogs could talk to one another about hanging their heads out of a car window with their tongue and spit flying behind them, then this is what it was like to ride Porcupine Rim with Mikie. Holy Crap! This guy loves to ride. And he rides well. A veteran of 4 of these Bikerpelli-run trips, I've met people from all over the country, the Caribbean, Europe....and it's as good as Mikie describes. Mikie - hope to ride with you again!
     
    Mikie likes this.
  22. Mikie

    Mikie MTB Addict

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    2012 Yeti ASR 5c
    I have no idea how Greg replaced Dennis. Man I am so glad you posted Dennis. Guys, Dennis is an awesome mountain biker! We had the time of our life...at least I did! Whooping and yelling and complimenting the awesome "cleans" each other were making on some sweet technical fun.

    Dennis, Cathy and I are serious about getting up to Colorado. We have got to go get out on some of that awesome Colorado singletrack and I will be looking you up!

    So awesome Dennis!
    Oh, and I don't know what you're talking about? Looks like Dennis above to me! haha!
    Stay connected brothah!

    ~Mikie
     
  23. Fueledbyex8

    Fueledbyex8 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    BP
    Name:
    Albert
    Current Bike:
    2011Trek Fuel Ex9
    Definately an epic to add to my bucket list, thanks for sharing.
    The trail on your video is awsome, love it" one day maybe just one day i can make it out there.
     
    Mikie likes this.
  24. kirkB

    kirkB New Member

    Name:
    Kirk
    Thanks for posting the report and pics Mikie. You took way more photos than I did. I will add in a few notes from the trip as a first timer.

    First off the event is awesome. Sure there is plenty of fire/jeep road miles, but the scenery is amazing - and some of those jeep road climbs are pretty darn tough. There is plenty of fun single track - surely the first parts in Fruita and the finish on The Whole Enchilada are the highlights as far as riding goes, and while I was a bit concerned about boring fire roads before the trip - I was actually glad they were there during the ride, because it is a pretty tough 3 days for sure. Much harder than the miles/elevation may indicate. The days are long for sure.

    Second, I am no fan of guided tours or large groups. I was worried about that with this trip for sure. It turned out to be all for naught. There is no guides at all. None of the crew even ride during the event. They post a route map with options on the side of the truck - and tell you where the next stop is (either lunch or camp) and you are on your own. In fact, you need to know how to navigate and bring maps and a gps - or ride with someone who can. With 90 riders on the event, I thought it would be packed - but it NEVER was. Once we were on the trail, everyone was spread out. Sure you came across other riders out there, but there were many times when I did not see anyone else at all for long stretches. The only time there was a lot of people - was in camp at the end of the night. But at that time - it was great having so many people eating, drinking, and making new friends.

    Third, from a purely single track riding trip - you can do better by cherry picking and riding in just the best places and getting shuttles. No doubt about it. With that said, the excitement/fear/doubt/adventure of going all of the way from Fruita to Moab - through incredible landscapes, with nearly no one else out there was really incredible. It is more of an adventure/journey than just ripping awesome single track for a few hours every day on a trip.

    It is certainly worth doing this trip at least once in your life.

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    Mikie likes this.
  25. CarlS

    CarlS Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Temecula, CA
    Name:
    Carl
    Current Bike:
    Walmart $50 special
    Thanks and yup.... add another one to my bucket list

    The hut system that I have been looking at is <a class="postlink" href="http://sanjuanhuts.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://sanjuanhuts.com/</a>
     
    Mikie likes this.
  26. CarlS

    CarlS Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Temecula, CA
    Name:
    Carl
    Current Bike:
    Walmart $50 special
    wait, wait, wait.... the big question. and sorry if I missed it, but very important, What kind of beer was in the kegs?
     
    Mikie likes this.
  27. kirkB

    kirkB New Member

    Name:
    Kirk
    It was different every time - I have to say it was not great - but after 7 hours of riding - anything worked.

    They had 805 and Fat Tire - which while not great - not terrible. They also had one keg of Blue Moon - which most people loved, but I hate.
     
    Mikie likes this.
  28. Mikie

    Mikie MTB Addict

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    2012 Yeti ASR 5c
    In regards to BEER
    I naturally have to disagree with my MTB cohort KirkB... :D

    I am a fan of both 805 and Fat Tire and I don't think it was either. I did like their selections, I felt they were along enough of an edge that would satisfy both sides of the fence.
    I have a call into Alex to let me know what the brews actually were. I had never heard of the beer on the first night, and did not ask the 2nd night.
    But! I AM going to find out this most important question... ;)
     
  29. kirkB

    kirkB New Member

    Name:
    Kirk
    You are right Mikie, I remember now - it was Avery - Ellies Brown Ale. I remember being so excited seeing the Avery logo -but then let down it was not Maharaja - but like I said - any beer in the middle of the desert after riding for hours is pure heaven.
     
    Mikie likes this.
  30. MCB2K

    MCB2K Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Castle Rock, CO
    Name:
    Brian Kiggins
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Tallboy LTc
    Sweet TR. I have some vids and stills to process... I'll post some here.
     
    Mikie likes this.

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