Alchemist Summer Recap: Drew at Kokopelli, Lindsey to Kona, and more! » IMG_0328

Alchemist tackles the Kokopelli 140.     Kokopelli is a fertility deity of the ancient Pueblo & southwest tribes. He is a humpback flute player & a trickster seen primarily at night in the waining moon. The Kokopelli trail was created in 1989 running between the iconic mountain bike towns of Fruita & Moab over 145 miles and 14,000 vertical feet of climbing. The route is partly single track but mostly rough jeep roads. There has been a unofficial, secret solo self supported race for years. The route is extremely difficult unsupported as there is virtually no water on the route for most of the year. The solo self supported record is held by Rebecca Rush who rode the course in 13:32. The Kokopelli 100 started a supported race last year with an abbreviated 100 mile event & this year extended it to the full 145 miles of the trail. I have wanted to ride the entire trail for years but the logistics conspired to make it no fun – until now. The race was set up with feed zones about every 20-30 miles. It starts at midnight and there are no course markings – navigation is part of the game. Around 100 riders entered but 30 had become wiser before the start with 70 showing up to ride. There are also several other simultaneous events going on – a 100 mile MTB, a relay, and a 100 mile ultra run. There was supposed to be an easy roll out for 5 miles on bike path before we hit the single track, and you all know what that means – race on full speed 45 seconds after midnight. I was “full gas”, just hanging on to the lead group. Five of us split off the front & were having the times of our life on the initial Fruita loops – Mary’s & Troy Built. Anyone who knows those loops knows some of it is on a cliff edge but of course we could not see any of that. I did not want to let this group go as we were working well together & mostly because of navigation. A couple of the riders knew the course & also had live GPS navigation. I kind of know the course & had a map on my phone – in my pack, hardly the same. It was pitch black out & there are hundreds of turns. It was well worth while to share light & route finding with a group. We reached the 2nd feed zone at 50 miles way ahead of our fastest predicted times. I decided to take my time & feed well but lost my group. My downfall is I don’t eat enough. Toni force fed me for 5 minutes & I was set to go, feeling great. Of course I promptly got a wee bit lost. It is very disorienting in the dark, in the desert and tired on top of it all. I reached a split & could not decide left or right. Eventually after a mile or so of floundering I got back on course. Pretty much everyone got lost for a bit that night. Dropping into the Colorado river at 70 miles, riding fast, alone, in the dark – smart. There was a two foot wide ditch. 29ers roll over everything right? Ouch! Picked up the pieces, checked the equipment – lights? both OK, wheels? All one piece, bike seems to work. Right 4th rib – pretty sure I used to have one & now I have two. Oh well, I hear those grow back. Still feeling strong & got going again. First light is always special on night rides. I rolled in to the Dewey Bridge feed on the Colorado river just at dawn. Toni again stuffed me with a burrito & a smoothy & I rolled out. I was feeling my best so far, moved up to 3rd place but this part of the course is wicked. It is really steep and if you like babyhead rocks on a sand surface it is your kind of ride. There is no shade & it was now 95 degrees. The next 3 climbs would take a combined 6 hours. I was hurting at 100 miles & totally cracked at 120. Everyone had to be hurting as well so I took a short 20 minute, lay down , loosing a couple sports, & then pushed on. I ultimately finished 5th overall in just over 16 hours. My goal was just a finish and I was thrilled with this. There were 15 total finishers in the 140 mile race & a few relay teams & 2 day racers finished as well. Two ultra runners finished the 100 mile run – the leader took 27 hours. This was a really great event! I would not want to mislead anyone & talk you into it next year. It is really, really, really hard. I suffered for hours. You will need to ride long, steep in the dark & in the heat while you navigate the course. If you are up for an adventure this is a good one. Have fun all! Drew Geer

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