Kenny’s Race Report: 2008 Kokopelli Trail Race

05.20.2008 | 5:48 am

A Jersey-Related Note From Fatty: I can’t believe all the jerseys (except a few Women’s Med and Large sizes) have already sold out. [Update: all women's jerseys are now gone.] That’s an incredible show of support from the Friends of Fatty. Thank you so much. I’m going to try to talk with Twin Six today about when we might be able to get more — maybe a re-order of this design, or maybe a Fat Cyclist Fall / Winter 2008 design. I’ll let you know as soon as I know.

A Note About Kenny’s Race Report: Last Friday night at Midnight, the annual Kokopelli Trail Ride / Race began (you can read my writeup of last year’s race beginning here.) With everything going on, I couldn’t do it this year, but that didn’t stop me from wondering all Friday night and Saturday how Kenny was doing.

Well, he did pretty darned well. Here’s his report.

Preparation and Goals
A big part of a race like the Kokopelli is in the preparation.  What to carry?  Which gear ratio?  What tires to run? Which lighting and battery system to use? When to filter water and how much water to carry?  What and when to eat?  These are all relevant to your finish, maybe even more so then your physical fitness.  I had attempted this race twice before, with one success and one failure.  Much of these questions are answered only by experience.  It’s hard to copy an endurance racers keys to success, because everyone’s bodies react so differently under stress.

Having finished this race last year with a pretty good time, my main goal this year was to improve on that time.

I also had a few side goals.

I wanted to finish feeling good.  When I do these races, I either finish feeling euphoric or nauseated. If it’s the latter, then I know that I should have done something different that could have better my time.  I’ve recently been considering entering some multi day races, and if I felt good at the end, it could help me decide if that is in my future.

I think this goal should go without saying, but I wanted to keep the rubber side down.  After last year’s unfortunate events [See here and here for what Kenny's talking about. - Fatty], it’s my new creed.  Plus if I end up in the hospital again, my wife will kill me. Actually, my wife’s been super supportive, but if I get injured again, I’ll need to rethink some of my life choices — and I’m not ready to do that.

Where Is Everyone?
At the start, I noticed how diminished the numbers were this year.  I guess the BLM did their job by squashing what I think is one of the premier events of the year.  It wasn’t more than a half an hour into this race that I was riding by myself.

I would ride alone for the rest of the race.

During the night hours (the race starts at midnight), I would look back and occasionally see some light in the distance.  One racer caught up to me at the first stream where I was filtering, but I didn’t see him or any other racer the whole time I was actually riding.

I really enjoyed the solitude.

I was trying to stay alert, but because it was in the middle of the night, my mind would go into a daydream-like state. I started fantasizing that I was one of only a few survivors in a post apocalyptic world.  In this world, endurance cyclists where given the task of biking to and from each small community of survivors.

I felt like I had become a postmodern Kokopelli.

I would also get a song or two stuck in my head.  Because I’m so bad at remembering lyrics, I would only get a phrase or a partial phrase stuck in my head, which would play in an obnoxious loop over and over until I would block it out, by fantasizing again that I was the Kokopelli.

It’s always an amazing feeling when dawn comes.  I wasn’t wearing a watch, so I don’t know what time it was when it started getting light.  I was still feeling great and got a huge burst of energy when I reached the top of the last big climb.  It’s called “the top of the world” and I looked east out at the snow covered LaSalle mountain range, just as the sun peaked over the top.  How could I have been so lucky to have been there just at that amazing moment in time?

The descent down to Dewey Bridge was fast and cold.  I stopped to filter water at a small stream a few miles from the bottom.  The stream was shallow and not very good for filtering.  It was hard to find a deep enough spot to keep the hose from sucking up sand.  That stream was a lot deeper last year.  I guess the runoff is a little late this year.  I finished up just as another racer pulled up and got busy filtering.

When I got to the bottom it was sad to see the empty loose suspension cables hanging from the iron beams which had once held up the historic Dewey Bridge.  My spirits were lifted with the realization that I had already done nearly all the hard climbs.

Hard Choices
The next big section is pretty flat and bleak.  I just shut off my brain, put my head down and hammered for about a 2 or 3 hours.  When I snapped out of the zone, I was in the hot desert sun which had raised the temperature by about a zillion.

As I approached Westwater, which is about 2/3 the distance (right around 100 miles of the 142-mile trail), I had a choice to make.  I could go off course about a mile and refill my water supply, or I could keep going and see if I could finish faster, therefore missing the heat of the day and using less water to get there.

I chose to continue, which turned out to be a mistake.  I ran out of water at mile 120 of a 145 mile race.

So, I had another choice to make: I could disqualify myself by asking some campers at rabbit valley for water or I could try to make it to mile 135, where I could filter water from Salt Creek.

I kept going; at this point I was still feeling really good and felt like I could do 15 miles without water.

It turns out that the desert is hot.

By the time I got to Salt Creek, I was hammered and maybe not thinking too clearly.  I filtered what I thought I would need to get me to the finish.

My filter was not working all that good in the muddy water, though, and I underestimated how long it would take me to do 10 miles of very technical singletrack in my condition.  The problem was that I had to walk a lot of the climbs and whenever I got off the bike I didn’t have the wind to cool me off.

With 5 miles to go, I ran out of water again.

I was on a trail called Mary’s loop, I knew I only had about 10 to 20 minutes to go, but I kept cursing Mary and her stupid loop.  Why had she made the trail around so many bends that all looked the same?

I finally did find the end of the trail and climbed the last rise and down to the parking lot.


I had met my goal of besting my last year’s time only by minutes and it was good enough that day for the win. My time was 14 hours and 56 minutes.

I did however finish nauseated and hopefully learned from my mistakes.

It was an overwhelming success.  I experienced nearly every emotion known to man in one long day.  I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Miscellaneous Thoughts
Here are a few things that I loved having on this ride.

  • My new Spot brand bike, which all my friends have deemed “sans belt,” because I haven’t got the belt yet.  The cool thing is you can run it with a belt or a chain.  This bike is how I would build a bike if I were a bike builder.
  • My Manitou minute suspension fork, that arrived only hours before I left for the race. It was 100mm of plush goodness with a solid lock out for climbing.
  • My Garmin etrex GPS, which took away any doubt that I was on course.
  • My NiteRiderLED MiNewt, which weighs exactly zero, fits easily on the handle bar and lasts 7 hours on a very bright low setting.
  • Oh…, and my new Oakley’s that kept me from looking like the shop teacher.



  1. Comment by Bob | 05.20.2008 | 6:08 am

    Didn’t you go in the opposite direction last year? Do they alternate every year?

    I’ve done this ride in 2 days with support back when I was in great shape, and it’s not easy. I’ve tried and failed a couple times to do it in one day. Great job!

  2. Comment by dkirkavitch | 05.20.2008 | 6:14 am

    Well Done Kenny!
    Might you be heading out again in, oh, about 10 days give or take a few hours, in say maybe the other direction? You’ve got the engine for it.

  3. Comment by Adam | 05.20.2008 | 6:18 am


    Your time was actually 14:47.

  4. Comment by Richie | 05.20.2008 | 6:23 am

    Wat a man……well done!!

  5. Comment by Matt | 05.20.2008 | 7:13 am

    congrats on the finish.

  6. Comment by chtrich | 05.20.2008 | 7:23 am

    I’m shooting for a two day finish in Sept. with an overnight support vehicle.
    14:47 – AMAZING!! Nice job Kenny!

  7. Comment by fatty | 05.20.2008 | 7:28 am

    adam – i don’t think kenny was taking into account the time bonus he picked up for winning the stage.

  8. Comment by Hamish A | 05.20.2008 | 7:28 am

    Nice win Kenny!

    Great to hear the Jerseys did so well Fatty. My size sold out before I could get online (that’ll teach me to pay attention to dates). Fingers crossed for more later in the year!

  9. Comment by Flyin' Ute | 05.20.2008 | 7:32 am

    I did it in 4 days fully supported by the Tour de Bloom group. It is a fantasti ride. One of the best in Utah/Colorado. That time is amazing!!! Good Job.

  10. Comment by Lori | 05.20.2008 | 7:43 am

    Kenny, man, you really need to get some sun on that chest. Just kiddin’! Great job!!

  11. Comment by Willie Nelson | 05.20.2008 | 7:48 am

    Thanks for the write up Kenny. It keeps me motivated to get out of Florida fast and come back home to the mountains. A little vicarious living…

  12. Comment by Clydesteve | 05.20.2008 | 7:49 am

    Hey, hey, hey Kenny! Nice job & congrats on the good finish. And the Oakleys do look good. Not that there is anything wrong with looking like a shop teacher.

    So, in your estimation, would you have finsihed faster if you had either 1) gone out of your way to filter at Westwater, or 2) filtered more at Salt Creek?

    If you are interested in a filter that filters on the go (no pumping – works by osmosis), and makes a clear sports drink from the muddiest of water, (but has some weight penalty) please let me know how to get ahold of you to give you a link. I think there are sponsership possibilities.


  13. Comment by KanyonKris | 05.20.2008 | 7:54 am

    Bravo, Kenny! That’s burly stuff.

    And thanks, Elden for encouraging Kenny to write it up and post it here. It seems Kenny is always doing something interesting on the bike.

  14. Comment by Don | 05.20.2008 | 8:24 am

    Way to go Kenny! I have to admit, though, I liked the “shop teacher” glasses.

  15. Comment by JAT in Seattle | 05.20.2008 | 8:28 am

    Hey, it’s 50 deg and raining in Seattle today, I could totally use a winter (long sleeve?) (full length zip) Fat C jersey. I know the long sleeve jersey is a cult item, but I would totally go for it. I mean if such a thing happened to be produced…

    I’ll go read the rest of the post now.

  16. Comment by cyclostu | 05.20.2008 | 8:44 am

    I’ll miss Shop Teacher Kenny. Can we still come to you for sawdust if the geeky kid yaks in 5th period geometry?

    Awesome ride though.

  17. Comment by mark | 05.20.2008 | 9:05 am

    Kenny, nice work and congratulations on the win.

  18. Comment by kenny | 05.20.2008 | 9:45 am

    Adam, 47 is way better than 56. I’ll take it.

    Bob, Yes.. last year was fruta to moab. I’m not sure which way is harder. I was pretty cooked last year with about the same finishing time.

    dkirdavich, my plan was to do the GL. I dont know if i could continue to ride the second day. Does anyone know if the Grand Loop is still on for the 30th? I heard there’s still too much snow in the LaSalles.

    Clydesteve,.. Yes, hook me up with the link.

  19. Comment by Mocougfan | 05.20.2008 | 10:05 am

    Kenny…your a stud. Nice write up. Very impressive. I’m planning on doing it in 2 days in Sept with Chtrich and I’m currently terrified. Props to you.

    You have to do the loop.

  20. Comment by Mike Roadie | 05.20.2008 | 10:12 am

    Undoubtedly, Kenny would have finished even faster with more water……hydration=speed!! Even faster still with the old glasses!

    PS. Pleeeeeeease get more jerseys!

  21. Comment by Al Maviva | 05.20.2008 | 10:32 am

    Dang. Just dang.

  22. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 05.20.2008 | 10:46 am

    I once biked 135 miles in a week.

    Kenny, we call it “sans-a-belt”. It has a nice ring for marketing purposes.

  23. Comment by Blue | 05.20.2008 | 10:57 am

    Awesome write up Kenny! I’m looking forward to a review of the ’sans-a-belt’ when it gets it’s new name.

  24. Comment by Nick | 05.20.2008 | 11:04 am

    Damnit, get some more jerseys Fatty!

  25. Comment by Rick S. | 05.20.2008 | 11:08 am

    Damn. That seems really fast. I mean really fast.
    Nice one Kenny.

  26. Comment by Formely Bent022 | 05.20.2008 | 11:38 am

    Dang…that is an amazing ride! Good job Kenny.
    And people wonder why I named my mtb Kenny, who would not want their mtb to be this tough?

  27. Comment by Boz | 05.20.2008 | 11:38 am

    Obviously, Kenny came to race, not mess around. Glad you kept the rubber side down. Another epic ride.

  28. Comment by Jodi | 05.20.2008 | 11:58 am

    That ride sounds amazing. I have the same experience with songs getting looped in my head – unfortunately, they are usually songs my 4-year-old son has been singing. Diabolical stuff, that.

  29. Comment by Carrie | 05.20.2008 | 12:03 pm

    Glad you are enjoying your new Prescription Oakley Sunglasses!! You look very cool in them.
    I am sure the new glasses made you even faster, you just needed more water!

  30. Comment by M2 | 05.20.2008 | 12:08 pm

    You da man, Kenny. Very impressive. Keep up the good work!

    Fatty, you rock too. ;-)

  31. Comment by gr@sshopper | 05.20.2008 | 12:09 pm

    Yay team Fatty.

    Hey Fatty, get Kenny to do some more posts when he gets the belt on that bike. I wanna know how it goes.

    And plz, more jerseys!

  32. Comment by jill | 05.20.2008 | 12:23 pm

    Oh … so you’re the guy Geoff was telling me about. “Some guy with a single speed was way out front.”

    Nice work, Kenny. You rock.

    So, what multi-day races do you have in mind? Colorado Trail Race, maybe?

  33. Comment by jill | 05.20.2008 | 12:27 pm

    Oh, I just read your comment. Keep your eye on this thread – – for the latest discussion on the Grand Loop Race. Sounds like there’s almost certainly too much snow, but the powers that be may decide to reroute the race for this year.

  34. Comment by chtrich | 05.20.2008 | 1:13 pm

    Kenny (or anyone else),

    Do you have a gpx file of Kokopelli going from Fruita to Moab?

  35. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 05.20.2008 | 1:24 pm

    In this world, endurance cyclists where given the task of biking to and from each small community of survivors.

    I felt like I had become a postmodern Kokopelli.

    You’re not Kenny – you’re Kevin Costner – you’re The Postman.

  36. Comment by axel | 05.20.2008 | 2:27 pm

    this website is of the fat cyclists. These are people who’d rather eat or drink too much than run out of water or bonk. I have yet to read a race report of yours where you eat enough or drink enough. You could learn from the fat cyclists, you know. How about a few turkey legs and a giant red slurpee at Dewey bridge instead of shot bloks and water. Next time try to gain some weight while doing a long ride…
    anyway, well done, in spite of the usual lack of food and drink.

  37. Comment by kenny | 05.20.2008 | 2:34 pm

    Jill, thanks for the link. i’ve been looking for that. Geoff was there? How was his ride? Dang, i wish i would have hung around a little longer and met him.

    chtrich, I have a great track of the koko. email me at and i’ll send it to you.

  38. Comment by Yukirin boy | 05.20.2008 | 3:07 pm

    Way to Go Kenny!!
    Almost as fast as the jerseys.
    Well done everyone for buying up all the new jerseys so quick! – amazing

  39. Comment by MTB W | 05.20.2008 | 3:42 pm

    Way to go Kenny! Man, I can’t even imagine a race that long. I was at Fruita this past weekend and was completely clueless that the race was going on. I must have been parking the truck at the trailhead around the time you arrived at the shelter. We ended up talking to the Yeti group that was camped at the top of the hill and my gf bummed a bike from them to try it out on the trails. So what’s your next race/adventure?

    Fatty, it sounds like you are in good spirits over the last several days. Good to hear – you have a great wife and family and times like these make you appreciate everything more.

  40. Pingback by | The RocBike Review » Links of the Day: 20 May 2008 | 05.20.2008 | 4:02 pm

    [...] Kenny’s Race Report: 2008 Kokopelli Trail Race (Fat Cyclist) [...]

  41. Comment by Not a cyclist..... | 05.20.2008 | 4:39 pm

    Dude, is that dirt on your arms or the weirdest looking tan I have ever seen????

  42. Comment by Born4Lycra | 05.20.2008 | 4:55 pm

    Well done Kenneth – nice effort.
    Is there a story behind the glasses? Kenny’s got new ones, Fatty’s got new ones and there was talk of a letter to Oakley setting setting out sponsorshi[p requirements etc. Did it happen and is this the result?

  43. Comment by JET(not an nickname) | 05.20.2008 | 6:53 pm

    That picture of you drinking in the shade is the epitomy of an endurance cyclist post-ride. Chocolate milk (at least it looks like chocolate milk) for recovery with a beer on standby. Congrats on a nice ride.

  44. Comment by buckythedonkey | 05.20.2008 | 11:43 pm

    Me, I would have bummed water from those campers. Maybe a fried breakfast too.

    What’s with the new bins? Did Oakley fall for Fatty’s begging?

  45. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 05.21.2008 | 12:06 am

    Not a cyclist…..,

    Dude, is that dirt on your arms or the weirdest looking tan I have ever seen????

    Yes, you’re not a cyclist. It’s nothing personal, but once you’ve hung around cyclists long enough you’ll begin to recognise the bizarre suntan configurations of different forms of clothing. The aspect of Kenny’s tan you are questioning is the “I’m so manly I rip the sleeves off my shirts” tan. You’ll notice at the other end of his arm is the “I never ride without gloves” tan.

    I’m also betting in other photos he has a horrific sock tan and also possibly a pale stripe between his ear and cheek from the helmet strap. There’s also the extremely common mid thigh “knick” tan as well as the bald man’s syndrome (tanned blotches from the helmet vents).

    I have suffered them all and more. Road bike gloves have cropped fingers and some have a hole on the back so there’s tanned fingers and a blotch on the back of the hand. More than that is the tan you get through the rip on the back or shoulder of a jersey that’s been through a crash.

  46. Comment by buckythedonkey | 05.21.2008 | 4:06 am

    Topical example of the helmet vent tan:

  47. Comment by Boz | 05.21.2008 | 6:01 am

    BMIO – Being the vain, perfectly tanned Adonis that I am, I have found the perfect tan line solution. I mearly cover the tanned area w/ sun block, then hitting the tanning bed to even things out. If I haven’t been out training in the sun and want to fit in with the bike crowd, apply it in the opposite way. I am a genius.

  48. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 05.21.2008 | 6:15 am

    BOZ, I thought you were going to say that you bike completely nude.

  49. Comment by Not a cyclist..... | 05.21.2008 | 7:08 am

    Buckey et al….

    Since I am personally incapable of tanning, being so white that all sunlight reflects off me, producing glare so strong that I have caused people to go temporarily blind, I often have trouble differentiating a tan from grime on other people.

    The pics of Fatty with the leopard spots on his bald head are hysterical!

  50. Comment by jill | 05.21.2008 | 9:04 am


    I think Geoff finished in ~17:45, and was pleasently surprised by that. He’s never done much endurance mountain biking and wasn’t planning on tapping every reserve for the Kokopelli, so he was expecting something closer to 20 hours. He said he felt pretty good afterward.

    Congrats again on the win. The field was small this year, but it was stacked with strong guys. Good luck in the GLR if you decide to do it. Hope you do.

  51. Comment by barry1021 | 05.21.2008 | 9:53 am

    Buckythedonkey said:
    Me, I would have bummed water from those campers. Maybe a fried breakfast too.

    Me, I would have killed the campers, eaten their food, and then eaten them, but I admittedly get a little silly on long rides. Congrats Kenny, you are truly a freak of nature (I mean that in the nicest way).

    OK I put in my blackberry calendar to hit Twin Six on Monday AM for the jerseys, but somehow it did not synch in my computer calendar, so i missed out. Therefore I am launching a huge lawsuit against Microsoft and Bill Gates, (as I use Outlook). I am asking for $3B in damages, which I think is fair, as now I have to endure all the pix of Fatty’s fans in their 2008 garb, while I plod along in 2007 stuff. The Shame. I am pledging half of the proceeds to Susan, but I will also buy Fatty a tractor-trailer full of Oreos that he can stash in the back yard for emergencies.


  52. Comment by Clydesteve | 05.21.2008 | 9:56 am

    Kenny – you do not have an ad for your photo shop on Fatty’s site right now. I need an email to send a link to. (I don’t really feel free to stick a link to a product my company makes on Fatty’s blog)

  53. Comment by Karst | 05.21.2008 | 9:58 am

    I enjoyed the account.

    Is there a link anywhere to more blog entries and/or the results of this year’s KTR ride? Or is this all semi-hush-hush, given the nature of the non-race ride issue with BLM?

  54. Comment by Clydesteve | 05.21.2008 | 10:00 am

    Kenny – nevermind – you just posted you email in another message above – I’ll email you.

  55. Comment by Emily | 05.21.2008 | 10:02 am

    Kenny For The Win!!
    Congrats on a great race, sounds like it was fun.
    I have to ask though, doesnt filtering sandy water drive you insane? Sometimes I think I am the only person left on the planet who purifies water with iodine, and I don’t understand why. Its cheap, it takes two seconds, I guess it tastes a bit like iodine but that isnt that bad and sports drink powder covers it up. Um, yeah, and the sand/leafs/dirt/minnows from the stream are still in your water bottle too I guess. But still– Fast and cheap is good, right?

  56. Comment by Boz | 05.21.2008 | 10:43 am

    Botched – That would call too much attention to myself, what with the outstanding warrants and all for such behavior. Besides, I wouldn’t want to be considered a home-wrecker.

  57. Comment by vincenzo | 05.21.2008 | 11:16 am

    dude, more jerseys (ran out before I could order online dang it)! great ride by the way :-)

  58. Comment by PeteDMeat | 05.21.2008 | 11:28 am

    Have Spot announced how much their frames are going to go for? I kinda really want a Longboard. And a Black.

  59. Comment by Bad Voodoo | 05.21.2008 | 6:43 pm

    Dig the race report – congrats, Kenny! But DAYUM, I can’t believe I missed the freakin’ jerseys you, you, you buncha’ vultures!!!

  60. Comment by Sean | 05.25.2008 | 4:20 pm

    Great to see you in my stomping grounds! I live in Grand Junction and ride out there very frequently.


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