Pro riders across the world are tackling punishing cycling challenges amid the coronavirus shutdown. Australian rider Lachlan Morton of EF Pro Cycling has come up with a creative ride to test his legs and willpower.
Morton will try to complete the famed Kokopelli Trail mountain-bike route in Utah and Colorado in under 24 hours this Saturday. Morton is planning to tackle the challenge without a sag wagon or other support.
“I’ve always wanted to ride it. Even though it’s only four hours away from where I live, I’ve never really found the time to do it,” Morton said. “So when we realized that we were looking at two months of lockdown, I felt like I wanted to have something to look forward to, to keep me motivated. A light at the end of the tunnel so to speak. It also helps that it’s close to home and it’s something I can go do while still staying pretty well isolated.”
The Kokopelli trail connects Moab, Utah with Loma, Colorado, and encompasses 150 or so total miles of desert riding. It’s a popular route for bikepacking, and strong riders often take three or so days to complete the trek. In 2013 Rebecca Rusch completed the trek in 13:32 to record a new women’s fastest known time on the trek.
According to the website bikepacking.net, the men’s record is held by Kurt Refsnider, who completed the trek in 11:52 in 2019.
Morton will start in Moab this Saturday at approximately 3 a.m. and head northeast along the trail. Forecasts are calling for temperatures in the high 90s in eastern Utah.
“You start with a big climb anyways, so the first two hours will be in the dark but you’ll be going uphill and you’ll be riding for around six hours or so before you really start to feel the heat and then you’ve got to deal with it,” he said. “Originally I wanted to do it in a way that would allow me to get daylight throughout the ride, but having been out there today and feeling the heat, I realized if I could buy myself some time in the cool I should probably do it.”