Lachlan Morton (EF Pro Cycling) set a new record of 11 hours and 14 minutes for the 140km Kokopelli Trail from Moab, Utah to Loma, Colorado on Saturday. The Australian set off in the early hours, even before sunrise, in an attempt to beat the heat, and he would eventually hold on to beat the previous record of 11 hours and 52 minutes, set by Kurt Refsnider.
Morton overcame technical obstacles and a bike mechanical along the way and had to ride without the use of his helmet light, which stopped working just 30 minutes into his epic ride.
“It was sweet! I got through the first two climbs in the dark but I think I made a mistake charging my front light, because it didn’t work very well. I say it didn’t work very well, but it worked well for half an hour and then it had no more battery,” Morton said in a press release issued by his team after his ride.
Morton took his own supplies for the adventure and even purified water from the river that ran alongside the trail.
“So it was pretty dark for the first three hours and I was taking it pretty easy on the downhills, but then going as hard as I could on the uphills," Morton said. "And then I got a little rain actually up on top of the La Sal mountains, which made it a little muddy. It was nice when the sun came out. It sort of felt like I was just getting started, but I was already maybe three or four hours in.
"I got to the first place to get water which was at Dewey Bridge and filled up there. I got there earlier than I thought I would. But maybe 5km later I broke my back wheel. I was coming down one of the many rocky little descents and hit a rock on the side of the rim and the sealant came shooting out of the rim. I performed a botched change, which took me like 10 minutes. I just put a tube in it, pumped it right up, and hoped for the best.
“It was one of those days where everything feels like it's going smoothly. My body was feeling good, head’s good, and you could actually just enjoy it and not battle with yourself too hard."
Morton didn’t initially set out with the intention of breaking the record but with a relatively smooth ride, and with his obvious adventure and long distance experience, he found himself in a good position as the ride went on. He pushed on in the final four hours to seal the record but the experience, rather than the time itself, was just as, if not more, rewarding.
“I mean, it’s cool! I’ve got a huge amount of respect for Kurt for all that he’s done in ultra racing, and also for everything he’s done outside of racing with the big backpacking routes, everything he’s done for cycling communities. To be able to go out there and have a smooth day was huge. Getting the record is nice for sure, but I’m just happy I had a good day out on that trail.”