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Aztec Adventures to stage enduro, gravel grinder in spring

Races will be held in Farmington and Aztec
A cyclist catches some air on a trail near Farmington. A three-stage enduro-style race is scheduled for the area’s ridgelines in March. Courtesy photo

Cyclists looking for some early season races will have a couple of options this spring just across the border in New Mexico. Aztec Adventures plans to stage two new races in March: an enduro down some of Farmington’s finest ridgelines and gravel grinder with pro purses and distances of 10, 35, 55 and 90 miles.

Neil Hannun of Aztec Adventures said the idea behind the races came after it held its first event, the Durango-to-Farmington bicycle tour in October. The insurance from that event covers their guide service and other events for a year, so Hannun said they decided to put on some more races.

The Roost the Ridges Mountain Bike Enduro will take place in the Farmington Glade Recreation Area on March 19 on three ridgeline trails: Seven Sisters, Lake View and Wild Bills.

Cyclists Will Farmer, left, and Chad Cheeney make their way up a hill just past the Aztec Arch in New Mexico. This spring, a gravel grinder race with pro purses will take place in the area. Courtesy photo

“I like to race enduros elsewhere, but I grew up with some awesome memories ripping those ridgelines,” said Will Farmer, who grew up in Farmington before racing gravity for Fort Lewis and then joining Aztec Adventures. “Hopefully it will inspire some kids to know they can grow up riding here and then go anywhere.”

The enduro participants will park at the Lions Wilderness Park and start the enduro with its longest transfer – an 8-mile pedal to the first stage. The Lake View and Wild Bills stages will each be roughly 1 mile long, and the Seven Sisters stage will be about 1.5 miles. Farmer called them “fast and flowy” stages, but said Seven Sisters is the “most friendly.” All three stages will finish in the same area.

Participants will also have to pedal a little more during the stages than in other enduros.

“It will be a more physical enduro race, for sure,” Farmer said.

The terrain, however, won’t require a full-on enduro bike. Hannun said a hardtail bike would be fine for the event.

The race will be capped at 150 participants.

The Galactic Grinder, meanwhile, will take place March 5 just north of Aztec and feature pro purses for both the 35-mile and 55-mile distances.

People will park at the Alien Run trail head. One of biggest attractions along the route will be the Aztec Arch, which the riders will get to pedal under. The 10-mile event will be free with the code NAVAJOYES, providing people an opportunity to get outside, take a picture by the arch and then return back to the start. Farmer said a ride with NavajoYES to the Shiprock wall and back inspired them to add the free 10-mile portion of the event.

The 35-mile and 55-mile orbit, on the other hand, will have some big uphill sections and other terrain to challenge the competitors.

“There’s a lot of good stuff to break people up,” Farmer said.

The route mostly will follow dirt roads, but will also feature some singletrack and other surfaces.

“They’re big wide roads,” Hannun said. “There’s plenty of space and no traffic.”

From a fitness perspective, however, Farmer called it “a pretty nasty course.”

Cyclists also will have the option to do both the 35- and 55-mile routes for a 90-mile grind.

Aztec Adventures encourages people to wear some intergalactic costumes for the grinder.

Hannun said they talked with FLC endurance coach Chad Cheeney and tried to find dates that fit with the college team’s schedule and didn’t take place the same time as other races.

“We’re hoping (they) fit with their calendar so they can take advantage of it,” Hannun said. “And we’re hoping the weather will be OK.”

“March is good for Roost the Ridge; the Farmington trails all should be running good,” Farmer said. “It’s a good opportunity. It’s the calm before the storm before the season kicks off.”

Hannun thanked the events’ sponsors for helping them put on the first-year events.

“It helps quite a bit,” he said. “A lot of it’s psychological support, knowing the community is behind you in Farmington and Durango.”

He thanked Red Fox Timing, 505 Cycles, Desert Sun Coffee, Diaz Suspension Design, Wells Group, Zuberfizz, Porters Restaurant and Smokehouse, Aztec and Durango Urgent Care, Bedrock Bags, 1st Southwest Bank, Tailwind, Honey Stinger, Animas Cycles and Mobile Bike Shop, Sandstone Cycles, San Juan College, Yellowman Builders, King Cage and Bisti Bicycles for their support.

Hannun also said they’re working in conjunction with the Ska Zia Town Series to possibly add two races in New Mexico as well.

More information on the races at https://raceroster.com/events/2022/49467/roost-the-ridges-enduro and https://raceroster.com/events/2022/55842/galactic-gravel-grinder

“It doesn’t matter what you ride,” Farmer said. “Just ride.”