A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending the Bikepacking Roots “Go Bikepacking!” event put on in conjunction with Mountain Bike the Tetons in Idaho’s Teton Valley. I was asked by my friends and mentors, as well as the co-founders of Bikepacking Roots, Kurt Refsnider, and Kait Boyle to come and ride bikes and take photos of the event. Reconnecting with rad folks, riding and camping in a new place, and busting out the camera after a hiatus of doing most of those things sounded like a great way to spend a weekend.
We’ve featured Kait and Kurt’s stories here at the Radavist over the past few years and today, we’re proud to host the short film, Fastest For Now, chronicling their 2020 FKT on the Kokopelli…
“Two of Ultra-Endurance Mountain Biking’s best seek temporary records in a timeless place. Traversing 137 miles of majestic high-desert, the Kokopelli Trail is one of the most iconic long mountain bike routes in the West. Wrought with as much challenge as beauty, the rugged Kokopelli provides passage from Moab Utah’s La Sal Mountains to Loma, Colorado. The trail is popular with day riders, bikepackers, and guide groups, and once in a while, a rider will attempt to complete the full trail in a single day. Athletes have tested their endurance on this trail for more than 2 decades, occasionally redefining the possibilities with Fastest Known Times (FKTs) that may have previously seemed impossible. FKT culture grew substantially in 2020 as Covid-19 cancelled most organized races. Long-standing records were being challenged around the world, and the Kokopelli Trail inspired many to test themselves across its desert miles.”
If you’re interested in FKTs and rugged bikepacking experiences, check out Backcountry Bike Challenge.
Why join Bikepacking Roots during this summer membership drive?
Because summer isn’t over quiet yet, and we’re giving away some rad prizes – a complete Xtrada 7 mountain bike from Polygon Bicycles, a Revelate Designs bikepacking bag package, and a set of Cane Creek titanium eeWings cranks! And for a limited time only, you could get a Bikepacking Roots T-shirt, too!
Your contribution will help Bikepacking Roots . . .
-continue creating exceptional and impactful bikepacking routes and guidebooks for new adventure opportunities
-support more equitable access to the bikepacking experience through the expansion of our BIPOC Bike Adventure program
-develop community-building and educational initiatives like our new Go Bikepacking! event series
-broaden our advocacy engagement capacity for bikepackers and the places we ride
How do you enter the contest? Simply join Bikepacking Roots as an annual or monthly member, or make a donation. Each $10 of your donation/membership gets you an entry (up to $100)! New monthly donors will receive 2 entries, and all our existing annual/monthly members will receive 3 entries.
Let’s continue together to support life-changing bike adventures. Join today!
This is the fourth and final part of an ongoing series:
Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part III – A Cyclocross Specialist Turned Ultra Racer
Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part II – The First Modern Bikepacking Race
Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part I – Trail Visions Ahead of Their Time
2020, the year that virtually nothing has panned out as expected, delivered an unexpected opportunity for me to return to the Grand Loop. I flew home to Arizona in late March after an aborted tour across Alaska as the Covid-19 pandemic worsened. My body was exhausted from winning a 4-day-long Iditarod Trail Invitational – conditions were challenging enough that the race took twice as long as it does in “good” years. After the race, I continued touring farther along the trail for another 250 miles before Native villages began closing to visitors. When I returned home, my body was worn out. The next month was devoted to recovery as I watched in awe as the world as we knew it ground to a halt amid the worsening pandemic.
With the ambitious origins of the Grand Loop being shared in Part I of this series, let us now dive into the impact the route had on the evolution of bikepacking, and more specifically, bikepacking races. After all, the Grand Loop Race (GLR) was arguably the first of the modern bikepacking events and is responsible for creation and evolution of some of the most popular and longest-running mountain bike ultras in the United States – the Colorado Trail Race and the Arizona Trail 300. The Grand Loop was also the first long and particularly difficult off-road route to become a notable draw for bikepackers.
Spanning 138 miles of the rugged landscape between Moab Utah, and Loma Colorado, the Kokopelli Trail is one of the original great bikepacking routes of the American West.
In November of 2020, Kait Boyle and Kurt Refsnider set out to explore the possibilities, testing their endurance against the current FKT (Fastest Known Time) records. Their journeys began long before the starting line, and the progression of record times on this trail is far from over.
Stay tuned for the release of Faster For Now later this spring 2021!
We’re pleased to introduce the Backcountry Bike Challenge by Ride With GPS and our friends Kurt and Kait. Check out the full press release below, particularly if you like a challenge and are looking to ride your bike off-the-beaten path…
Got five to ten minutes of free time today? Want the chance to win some products from some of your favorite brands? Head on over to Bikepacking Roots’ Bikepacking and Adventure Cycling Community Survey and fill out the survey for a chance to win big from these companies:
This is the second of a two-part series on how human-caused climate change is affecting the cycling experience, why we as cyclists should care about those impacts, and what we can do as individuals and as a community to combat those impacts. Part I of this series connected cyclists to a few examples of the realities of climate change, and Part II here outlines what changes we as cyclists and the cycling community can make to improve the future of our pursuit in a changing climate. If you only have 5 minutes, jump to the end of this article to read the action items toolbox to quickly learn more about what you can do to make a difference…
This is the first of a two-part series on how human-caused climate change is affecting the cycling experience, why we as cyclists should care about those impacts, and what we can do as individuals and as a community to combat those impacts. Part I of this series connects cyclists to a few examples of the realities of climate change, and Part II will outline what changes we as cyclists and the cycling community can make to improve the future of our pursuit in a changing climate.
If you’re a BIPOC cyclist, who enjoys bikepacking, or perhaps you’d like to give it a try…
The BIPOC Bike Adventure Grant is Bikepacking Roots’ grant program created to help reduce the barriers to bike adventure for BIPOC individuals. The BIPOC Bike Adventure Grant will support recipients by helping fund fun and empowering bike adventures.
Apply between now and November 8th. We anticipate requiring ~4-5 weeks to review and follow up with all applicants, meaning we plan on announcing the recipients and their planned adventures in mid-December.
Qualified applicants are those who
-have any level of experience riding a bicycle.
-would benefit from support in order to pursue a specific bike adventure.
-identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color).
-live in the United States.
-are any gender identity, age, class, body size, or ability.
Proposals can include requests of $500 to $3,000+ for the autumn 2020 grant cycle. The next grant cycle will open in late spring of 2021. Some equipment support will also be available as needed.
Apply now at Bikepacking Roots!
With the news today that Bike, Powder, Snowboarder, and Surfer Magazines have been shuttered by their owner, American Media, we can’t help but feel an immense loss in print magazines. This news was shocking, as Bike Mag’s content has always been sharp, including the last entry on their website, penned by Bikepacking Roots‘ Kurt Refsnider dubbed “Solutions for Smaller Bikepackers” which offers up a lot of pointers for cyclists who don’t ride a size large frame. Head on over to Bike Mag to read all about it.
Bikepacking Roots is expanding and diversifying their Board of Directors and are welcoming applications from individuals looking to be a positive influence for and within the bikepacking community. The Board of Directors is made up of passionate volunteers who act as representatives of the organization and as advocates for the bikepacking community, the experiences we collectively seek, and the landscapes through which we ride. Read on below…
Bikepacking Roots is releasing the long-awaited Bears Ears Loops bikepacking route network – 700 miles of riding options through the high deserts and subalpine wilds of central and southeastern Utah. Their goal with these routes are to empower riders to confidently and safely immerse themselves in the remarkable but intimidating landscape, develop an informed sense of place, and experience some of all that is at risk to be lost if the Bears Ears region is not protected.
“The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA), Blackburn Designs, and Bikepacking Roots are excited to announce a new partnership that establishes a bikepacking curriculum and traveling gear library for NICA student-athletes and coaches. Bikepacking Roots is providing the on-trail expertise and Blackburn is providing the funding and bikepacking kit for 20 riders as part of their Bronze Level sponsorship with NICA for 2020.”
Keep an eye here on the site for more coverage from this exciting announcement!
I’m not at all accustomed to talking about my love for backcountry mountain biking within the confines of a stale hotel ballroom. In a past lifetime as a geologist, I gave plenty of ballroom presentations about glacial erosion, cosmogenic radionuclides, and Arctic climate change – it’s easy to get academics to connect to your words in such a bland setting. But how do a couple of mountain bikers get an audience of equestrians to connect with a shared passion for the backcountry from within the confines of a suburban cube?
To help raise money for the Wild West Route and Bikepackingroots.com, Long Distance Studio has a collection of goods for sale, with 50% of the proceeds going to help fund Bikepacking Roots’ efforts. You can head on over to Long Distance Studio to see more of their offerings in detail. Don’t miss our features on the Wild West Route by Molly Sugar at part 1 and part 2!
Originally published in 2015 thanks to Salsa Cycles, Bikepacking Roots has just announced this 90-page field guide is now available for digital download after you donate $5 to the non-profit. This guide was written by Kaitlyn Boyle and Kurt Refsnider and was created to help incite a love for those looking to get into bikepacking by providing helpful information and various pointers to get your bike loaded up and pointed down the trail.
Head to Bikepacking Roots to check it out!