Sunday, September 19, 1999
"I was alone trying to convince myself that I knew where the trailhead was. My mind began to wonder..Hmmmm, water, food, camera, lighter. BANG! I hit the streetlight and catapult myself off the sidewalk
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Join MountainZone.com for a rare, live mountain biking freeride along the singletrack and back roads that make up the ancient, infamous Kokopelli Trail, running alongside the Colorado River from Grand Junction, Colorado to Moab, Utah. Coverage will include live reports via cellular phone (digital images, too!) to begin September 16.
This bike ride, featuring guide Tap Richards (who made history as part of last spring's Mallory & Irvine Everest Expedition) is a fully supported bike expedition to the Southwest desert guided by Mountain Link. Ride along with Tap and MountainZone.com correspondent Hans Prosl as they wind through the desert sandstone and shale canyons of the Kokopelli Trail. Five days of arduous mountain biking — up to 40-miles per day — will cover 142 miles.
|"...it is definitely one brutal adventure. We did have people puking, totally dehydrated, wrecking, and just plain old maxing out..."|
Richards, who just completed a "scouting" trip of the entire trail, reports that it's not going to be a ride in the park.
"We've just finished the Kokopelli scouting trip," he recently said from Moab. "There's no real death or destruction to speak of, but it is definitely one brutal adventure. We did have people
puking, totally dehydrated, wrecking, and just plain old maxing out. But the
desert is even more beautiful than we had remembered. The ride is, in fact, totally amazing —
not only because of it's remoteness and truly rugged terrain, but also it's
variety of environments. We ride through the hot desert one day, and find
ourselves high up in the Ponderosa pine forests of the La Sal mountains
the next. We are totally psyched for the trip."
The trail traverses along the Colorado River with a combination of singletrack and jeep trails, and the ride is sponsored by Mountain Hardwear and Moots Cycles. As a supported ride, there is at least a modicum of comfort: at the end of each day the group will meet up with a support vehicle driven by Robert Link and Heidi Eichner.
The trail itself was named after Kokopelli, a magical hunchbacked flute player and a fertility symbol for many Native American groups of the desert Southwest. According to the legend, he wandered from village to village with a bag of songs on his back. Known for his ability to drive back winter with his flute playing, his presence was most welcome during the spring planting season.
So be sure to stay tuned for the mountain biking freeride ride of the summer.
The Team:Chris Keen calls the Sierra Nevada mountain range home, having grown up in Reno, Nevada. His passion for cycling, and his love of the mountains and the desert have taken him on countless mountain bike adventures throughout the Western US and Alaska. He was a member of the University of Nevada/Reno championship road racing team and has over seven years of experience as a professional mountaineering guide. Chris leads trips in South America, Africa and Mexico and is known for his worldly knowledge and overall enthusiasm for the outdoors. This trail is part of a long list of mountain bike trips he want to make.
Tap Richards, also a Southwest native, was born in Taos, New Mexico. The wide open sagebrush plains, deep canyons and tall peaks of New Mexico drew him into the outdoors at an early age. He started pedaling a mountain bike when they were just a novelty and he hasn't stopped riding since. Tap enjoys the camaraderie with others who are passionate about the widespread natural wonders of the earth. In his most recent adventure, Tap was as a member of the 1999 Mallory & Irvine Research Expedition to Mount Everest.
Hans Prosl, MountainZone.com Correspondent and Snowboard Editor. Hans' other cybercasting trips have taken him from the 1998 Nagano Olympics to the Swatch World Boardercross Tour, from 24 Hours of Moab endurance race to World Cup and NORBA mountain biking events. While snowboarding is his greatest passion, Hans has also been mountain biking aggressively for the past decade and is a freeride fanatic.
Robert Link is the president of Mountain Link. His 19 years of guiding experience and his high level of mountain knowledge puts Robert in an elite group of international guides. His ability to forge group solidarity and his genuine enthusiasm for helping his clients realize their goals make him a tremendous asset to the team. Robert is a good friend to all and the team always looks forward to hanging out with him and hearing his amazing stories.
Heidi Eichner is a native of Washington state and a mountain guide for Mountain Link. Aside from bringing clients up Aconcagua, a 22,829ft peak in Argentina, she has logged more than 85 successful ascents of Mount Rainier. A licensed massage therapist, Heidi will be working on the tired mountain bikers throughout their trip.
Robert Link and Heidi Eichner will ride in the van that offers food and support to the riders.