[San Francisco International Airport, May 24, 2017]
*Ding*: "This is your captain speaking. It appears that the Power Take Off Module is malfunctioning, so we are going to ask everyone to get back off the plane and we will do our best to re-book you on another flight.”
Those aren’t very good words to hear while sitting on an airplane, especially when you are headed out for another round of the Epic Rides Off-Road race series, and another sweet trip with the Kona Adventure Team.
It all turned out to be a blessing, as I awoke at 3:30 that next morning with cold chills and a fever. Sidelined in bed for a day-and-a-half and then catching the late flight into Grand Junction Saturday night meant that I would have a 5-minute penalty for missing the Fat Tire Crit on Friday evening. That was fine by me though, and I saddled up and got through the 50 Mile Backcountry race as best I could. The rest of the team made up for me, with Spencer battling much closer to toward the front of the race, bouncing through the rough Tabeguache trail system to a top-15 finish.
The real treat (and challenge) was to come Monday, and that’s what I was really excited about.
Kris Sneddon and I had scouted the first few miles of the Kokopelli Trail years earlier, and we knew through grapevine chatter and online photo logs that the route was long, scenic, and a sort of 'rite of passage' ride. Other than that, the trail was an unknown quantity to us from the start.
All the ride reports advised doing the trail in 4-6 days and carrying tons of water. We planned on 2 days, brought some water purification tablets, and went for it.
It all pretty much worked out.
"Simplicity is the whole secret of well-being...the sense of having one's life needs at hand, traveling light, brings with it intense energy and exhilaration." -Peter Matthiessen
The day wore on, the climbs continued, and the mountains seemed as far away as ever.
Follow the riders on Instagram for more!Spencer Paxson
Barry Wicks: @wicknasty
Kris Sneddon: @krissneddonPatrick Means