How do you tell a story of this magnitude and depth? I for one, seem to always be at a loss for words, so instead of verbose text, I will try and share what I saw and felt, using my images, with only the most minimal amount of text.
Everything in this town is bikes, no matter where you go or what you do — bikes, bikes, and more bikes…
10 of us in total, the arrival begins. Bikes, cameras and food are the order of the day. Cass Gilbert joins us and demonstrates, that he too, has a frame bag which actually isn’t a frame bag, but instead a giant piece of luggage!!
Jason warned me that Bobby smiled a lot… he was not exaggerating
It poured the night before, but I, holed up in my hotel room, could only have empathy for the crew gathered at the campground. With first light, the day certainly looked promising…
Our ring leader, and chief instigator promised us a fun route.
And so it begins… Rain the night before had left everyone a bit disheartened and quite honestly, a bit concerned about heading out. The forecast was more rain, which was sure to make the Kopokelli difficult to traverse. With clearing skies and food in our bellies, the decision was made to move out.
I would have paid money for a scale just to weigh our mud caked tires
What was it going to do…
The life lesson of living in the moment — the pain of the day was simply washed away as we were treated to rainbows and light that would set the mood for the rest of the trip.
It rained all night long and while some had shelter, others, well not so much. My decision to travel only with a SUL bivy was a painful mistake. I slept the night tucked under a shrub with my rain jacket over my face in an attempt to stay dry. Still, the smiles on everyone’s faces the next morning spoke volumes to the character of the guys I would be traveling with.
It was unlike anything I had ever seen in person. The views grew stronger as the days passed and the sky, well the sky just got bigger and bigger and bigger
After the challenges of day 1, day two gave us a chance to finally get the bikes rolling. Still laden with mud that was quickly drying into some form of hardened clay, we all rejoiced at a quickening pace and the potential to put in some much needed miles.
Midway through day 2, as we crested one of the plateaus overlooking the Colorado river, the skies finally began to clear and hopes of a sunny trip were upon us. Bikes still caked in mud, some of us began the process of removing it as best we could.
Everywhere you looked, the landscape was hue and the views inspiring.
We descended down to the Colorado river and one of the boat launches that also happened to have fresh water. We all used this stop as an opportunity to fill up on fresh water, dry out our soaked gear, and in Bobby’s case, get in some quiet rest. The Cottonwoods created an amazing contrast between their golden yellow leaves and the now bright blue sky. A scene that would repeat itself for the remainder of the trip.
It was an evening unlike anything I had ever experienced. As we worked closer and closer to camp, the light became golden with the dramatic storm clouds in the background. Cass, Jason and I played leapfrog as we took pictures of one another for what seemed like eternity…
The skies had cleared, the moon had risen, and we went from damp to dry and cold. Blue skies the rest of the trip.
We had set a plan to break camp early, but even that was not enough to stop the crew from climbing hills as they chased the early morning light
Erik, and his ECR, had the skinniest tires of the pack
The Colorado River is the life blood of this terrain. Everywhere it flowed, green and color sprung up to meet the gray and arid surroundings. The contrast of blue sky, and bright, golden cottonwoods was always pleasing to the eye and the soul.
On more than one occasion, the group would come together, lifting, pulling, and pushing bikes up and over some challenging obstacles.
Many of us did it, and we all suffered the same fate. Mud caked onto to everything exposed to the elements.
The plan, a figure 8, from Fruita to Moab and back. The reality, well, that was not going to work. Out of water and faced with the option of filtering murky CO river water, the decision was made to take the 30 miles of road into Moab and regroup. Like all good trips, flexibility and patience are key.
While not the dirt we all craved, that 30 mile section of canyon walls and the Colorado river was one of the most gorgeous rides ever.
Arriving in Moab, priorities were lodging, beer, then food.
We rode out of Moab and into Slick Rock, where the climb up to the rim was slow and steady. The rock formations along the way were simply spectacular.
Our climbing efforts were rewarded with stunning views and a peacefullness that I could have embraced for hours on end.
Rigid fatbikes, on this trail, well, not the smartest of choices. Doable yes, smart, well probably not…
I feel like it was my fault. I scoped out the shot and as Brady approached told him to ride over a certain point. It apparently was not clear that a drop ensued. Ooops
We all survived the full day ride up to the rim and back, which once again meant more beer, and for some, more Pizza
I only have a few pictures of Lelan as he was always in the front and I was always at the end. The new plan today, load up the bikes and head out into the canyon for an overnight loop.
I swore I would not tell how it got broken in the first place and I am sticking to that pledge…
Cass came up with the plan for the day. We were all searching for an easy ride, something that would get us out of town and into the wilderness without pushing us too hard. The canyon road out of town was simply spectacular.
We were headed down and in search of the Kane Creek trail.
Anyone with a camera on that afternoon would have gladly spent the entire day simply photographing scenes that took place in the first 10 miles of our ride. It was that beautiful.
There was not much shade out there, but we managed to find a little spot to relax. Jason brought out his little wood stove and smoked us all out.
We followed Kane Creek and the ATV trail that would snake back and forth across the chilly water.
What better than a fire, beer, whiskey, food, stories, cameras and friends that have suffered a bit together
We camped amongst the canyon walls, and as the full moon rose higher and higher, it began to illuminate the opposite canyon wall before ever cresting into sight. We all sat by the fire, taking pictures, telling stories, watching and waiting for the show to commence.
Four beers was not enough. A bigger pack next time?
There is nothing like the collective suffering followed by a sense of accomplishment and then peacefulness, to bring Man together. A true life lesson.
Ah, again, the grinder, beans and the ensuing pour over #coffeeoutside
Enough already, please, bring the water to a boil and add it to the freeze dried package, not the other way around…
I have often thought about it, read about it, researched it to no end, but never experienced it. Without a doubt, for this type of trip, and IGH is the way to go. End of story!! — Reeb, Gates Drive, Rohloff, Revelate
This bike and these Porcelain Rocket bags, have taken me everywhere I have asked of her. Just an unbelievable machine!
It would be a gradual 6 mile climb up and out of the canyon before we could access the road and work our way back into Moab. The morning riding was sublime.
A big thanks to Collin for making this happen!
Some of these guys I knew well; others I only knew via the internet; and still others I had never met. I am honored to have traveled with you — Glenn, Erik, Cass, Jim, Eric, Jason, Lelan, Bobby, Tim, Brady