Lachlan Morton sets new record on 150-mile Kokopelli Trail

The Australian started his 11-hour ride at 3am

Lachlan Morton has set a new record on the 150-mile Kokopelli Trail from Utah to Colorado, beating the previous best time by nearly 40 minutes.

The EF Pro Cycling rider completed the ride crossing state borders from Moab, Utah to Loma, Colorado in 11 hours and 14 minutes, 38 minutes quicker than ultra-endurance mountain biker Kurt Refsnider’s previous best time.

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Morton averaged 20.4km/h during his ride, burning over 9,000 calories during the effort, having started before sunrise on Saturday May 30 in an attempt to avoid the heat.

Morton’s ride (Strava)

“It’s a pretty well-established mountain bike route, in the US at least. 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 explained.

“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 elevation of his ride totalled 4,695m, with the highest altitude reaching nearly 2,600m.

Elevation profile of Morton’s ride (EF Pro Cycling)

Morton says he didn’t go into the ride attempting to break the record, with most people taking 3-5 days to complete the trail and a time of 16 hours considered a very fast time, saying beforehand: “It’s definitely not my reason for doing it. It’s just kind of the way I like to do these kinds of things. The way I get the most enjoyment out of stuff like this is by having a really light setup.

“In order to have a light setup, you have to do it fast, otherwise you need to carry your camping set up. So if you want to get away with only carrying the bare minimum you kind of have to do it fast. So no, I’m definitely not setting out with a goal of trying to beat this record or anything. This is just the way I like to do these kinds of rides.”

One area he didn’t compromise on for less weight was water, planning on playing it safe throughout and reloading at various designated spots on the way through towns. He then using tablets to filter water he bottled at a stream later on in the ride.

Having started at 3am, he rode the first three hours in the dark, a feat not helped by his helmet light breaking half an hour into the ride.

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“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.”

Morton often featured in EF Pro Cycling’s alternative calendar YouTube series in 2019, which saw the Australian rider taking on challenges away from the WorldTour, including Dirty Kanza and GB Duro.

“I mean, it’s cool! I’ve got a huge amount of respect for Kurt [the previous record holder] 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,” Morton said.