Chiwawan Wakk Trak Chimichanga aka Big Bender Desertion – Ultra Romance

Chiwawan Wakk Trak Chimichanga
Photos by Jared Kerst words by Ultra Romance

Survival fires, spandex spoon trains, pee tea sipping, mutiny, abandoned bikes, lost and found, etc… Chances are every outdoorsman has experienced one or another or all. 3 years ago Lorde Gaubert brought a group of “Pomeranian city slickers” out to the Chiwawan desert to explore the seemingly endless network of mining and smuggling trails left over from the Republic of Texas days. It was meant to just be a Lycra paced long day ride. Things didn’t turn out so well. Apparently it was Garmin’s fault, or the game trail that could have been a trail, trail, or the empty water bottles with boiling temperatures and tempers….. Either way, they got wicked lost, ditched their bikes, spoon train man piled round a survival fire all night, and found their truck the next day hours before an iconic Texas blue norther elbow dropped the temps into the 30s. It was a harrowing tale, a spandex spectacle all our brüs had heard and laughed about several times. But deep inside, all of us were eager to get shreddy on the 1-trakk monarchy hidden within the 2nd largest desert in North America, and furthermore, to find out if Lorde Gaubert’s curse was merely situational. He does have a reputation, after all…


Flash forward: same place, same guide, different group. Six of us, actually. Olde friends from Portland, Austin, Oakland and New England. And we all trust in Lorde Gaubert, the Winston Churchill of trail beta, Lorded by the Queen of England, etc… Plus we aren’t really that city slick or Pomeranian… I’d like to think of us more as Shetland show ponies. Plus we generally only go to cities to eat at Cheese Cake Factory.

A few weeks of bike mods and coconut oil fried base tanning later, we all converged upon the dusty bend of the Rio Grande for a 1 trakk pilgrimage. Bikes were a romantic saxophone composition of fashion and function. Four Krampus (Krampi?), a Rivendell Hunqupilar, and my hammered 91′ Trek 970. A mix of waxed canvas and modern tech bags and baskets bulged with water containers, coconut blocks, chocolate and Chi Chi’s.

We hit the weird stuff immediately and began carving some buffed turns through a maze of dessert track. The landscape was a venerable vision quest of cacti, creasil, mesa mountains, and centuries olde adobe ruins. It was as if we’d bench pressed the veil of time to pump and pedal the serpentine single track native to a world lost and forgotten.

After all that stuff, we ended up among the ruins of an olde abandoned ranch just in time for a total nüke puke-out 360 degree sunset. We set up camp round a stone fireplace within the skeletons of one of the structures. The January summer camp temperatures were about to plummet into dicksicle digits at the heals of a major front pushing through, so shelter was a must.


Luckily for us, a few roofs still remained for us to get romantic and huddle together before the grand fireplace amidst the wreckage of a great hall, or “Mexican Valhalla” (it’s a concept album). The night was passed, passing wizard pipes and chocolate, warming by the fire, and peering through the thatched roof at the Milky Way spatter paint art show soft opening.

We awoke the next afternoon (we don’t get up before noon), to some general wintär madness. The frosty tendrils of heavy poler vortexing had reached our sun baked time capsule. It would be a chilly day for tanning, but tan we must. We spent the next few hours dragging our feet exploring the olde adobes and blown out used car lots, literally frozen in time… it was that cold and olde.

Riding much of the rest of the day with our shirts on left guys like us very unaroused. basically some lazy creek bed pushing and snack breaks every half hour. We knew we had to find a cave er something as the wind was whipping us like the “masseuse” Lorde Gaubert frequents back in the city. After some searching, we spotted a cave perched atop some nearby* cliffs, ditched the bikes, and hiked up a slick fossilized creek bed to our cozy cave home for the night. Here, like olde boy scouts, Jared kept a raging survival fire going all night while Lorde Gaubert and myself spoon trained him.

The next day was a bit warmer, and arousing. We were roosting some pretty heavy duty wakki stuff all day (afternoon). The sun peaked in the cloudless deep blue sky, pushing temps to defcon 3 tanning international levels. It was a great day to just throttle some brown-umber/medium bistre pow and carve up some turkey turns, and most importantly, tan our tits.

At sunset we rolled some wakked red carpet down to a creeked cottonwood grove, where Lorde Gaubert washed “1000 years of dust” (emphasize british accent) from his hair. Here we drank our fill until our pee no longer resembled Ecto Cooler.

Seemingly every sacred water source in this desert is accompanied by an untouched adobe ruin. This cottonwood grove was no exception, treating us to yet another time capsule to spend the evening. The night passed like any other in this magical place; watching the ancients of the universe grab skidž amidst a dazzling procession of cosmic Tread the Movie.


The next day after some light Zumba calisthenics led by the spirit of Pancho Villa, we were on the bikes again for another day of shreddicles and glute blāst bike pushing. We needed to make it to the hott spring rendezvous check point to add more Hott boiy to our troupe. Manfred and Griswald were surely hot dog boiling, waiting for us to join them in the bubbling springs.

Join them we did, and after a solid 3 hour boil, we hit the 1 trakk again. It was the magic hour…well, in this wide open expanse of peacocking ancient Gods, more like the magic 3 hours of generally royal purple Hott mists. It was great ripping rails with so many good brüs through such a dramatic fantasy metal backdrop painting. Like any good concept album, the sunset lasted for eternities and beyond, and truly was the best of the trip, or recent recollection. Panoramic visions of dragons breath nukage geiger readings led us pedaling as one astral being into the pink fire of dessert dusk…. to a camp spot…. to have a pizza parti… and parti… at Poppi’s Pop Up Trailside Pizza and Sock Laundry LLC.




Follow Poppi on Instagram and Jared on Instagram.


  • Jonathan McCurdy

    This…. this is incredible. The highest quality of adventure.

  • Joe Newton

    Så jævla bra.

  • boomforeal


  • Jon

    If William S. Burroughs chronicled cycling trips, it would be this post.

    • Matt

      more like Anthony Burgess!

      • Sean Talkington

        More like J. “Poppi” Cool Romance!

        • Harry

          Hunter S. Thompson

          • Powell

            Hunter S. Brompton
            SRAMuel Beckett
            John Kennedy Parktoole
            Trek Kerouac

  • Gabriel Amadeus

    Excellent stuff!

  • Matt

    A cyclework orange

  • stateofnonreturn


  • PNT


  • mp

    Quads on swole!

  • bloibl

    i just walked away from desk. i am dazed and need air of the non-office kind.

  • Will Ashe

    More of this, please!

  • michaelvsShark

    Chi Chi?

  • Jordan Katterheinrich

    Ultraromance is my spirit animal.

  • Guy Hall

    Ah man – more…

  • Chris Ellefson

    Words by Cycling’s Long Walk on the Beach…

  • Nate Cavalieri

    So. Fucking. Brilliant.

  • fabrizio ippolito


  • Tony Jackson


  • Carl Anderson

    Beautiful. Is it OK that I really don’t understand what I just read?

  • Blevin

    I’m with Carl, I’m not entirely sure what I just read, but I liked it. A lot. And I want to do this trip!

  • Kerry Nordstrom

    To Live and Tan in Poppistan

  • Luke

    Great story!!

  • Anna

    Great story and photos! I’m going to be the loser that says that you really should get this shit edited next time though (comma usage, yiiiiikes).

    • John Watson

      One does not touch Poppi’s text. It’s part of the appeal!

      • Anna

        I mean, can’t you take out the excess ones at least?! I hear you though, and fully accept that I’m being the wet blanket on this adventure.

        • John Watson

          The last person that questioned / edited Poppi’s text, ended up in the bottom of the coloraidō river. :-(

          • Anna

            On the one hand I’m now regretting my comment, but on the other hand if he does the deed himself…there are worse ways to go.

          • John Watson

            You may leave Poppi love letters here…

  • Brett Rothmeyer

    the dreaded dicksicle digits.

  • Graham Akins

    Total Gonzo vibes that bubble over with rad visuals & dusty wanderlust :D

  • Grahamycakes

    Total Gonzo vibes that bubble over with rad visuals & dusty wanderlust :D

  • writertype


  • Aj Camp

    This isn’t so hard to read if you know das Lorde and have ridden those trails. :)