MCGAFFEY, N.M. - Another year, another step closer to perfection. For the third year in a row, racers gathered under the pine trees of western New
Mexico to test their endurance racing skills on the fast and flowy trails of the Zuni Mountains.
For the Zia Rides crew, this year's event was a tune-up for the next as they prepare to host the USA Cycling 24 Hour National Championships in 2013 and 2014, where 300 of the country's best slow-twitch racers will battle it out. For some, it has been an exciting evolution in the New Mexico cycling scene.
"This is going to be amazing. We are extremely excited to host next year's event. We've come such a long way," race organizer Lindsay Mapes said.
For others, it's about riding great trails in a
"It's just an awesome 24-hour course with the mix of climbing through the trees and the jumps on the downhill section," Quincy Haarer of Phoenix said. "Phoenix is so damn hot this time of year."
While over 340 racers came out to lay down some laps and have a great time, it wasn't just about the racers. In what is becoming a Zia Rides hallmark, the whole family is involved in the event. Most notable was the Enchanted Lands course, with a Chutes and Ladders a style mix of racing and chance, some of it on the same course as the main race. One team called Not Dead yet knocked out an impressive 20 laps.
For the younger kids there was a series of bike races at the staging area, plus a family ride up the Strawberry Canyon trail sponsored by the Gallup Family Fitness Series. Other fun stuff included a good old fashioned game of Foot Down, early morning yoga, live music, a Huffy toss and a wine and cheese hour, which meant there was pretty much something going on all weekend long.
While New Mexico's first 24-hour race started as a
grassroots event, the future looks for cycling in the Land of Enchantment. With two new endurance races added to their line-up this year,
including the Tommyknocker 24 in Silver City and the 12 Hours of Old El Paso this fall a, it just goes to show that the folks at Zia Rides are a
dedicated bunch committed to the growth of cycling in the Land of Enchantment.
Fastest person on a bike for the weekend was Alex Leonard. Racing on a five-man team, Loenard took advantage of an open course on the first lap to hammer out a time of 1:02:54.
In the Solo Male category it was Tim Lutz that went the distance with 15 laps in 22:33:19, a course record.
It was River City Cycling's Alison Kinsler that took the top spot on the podium with 13 laps in 23:19:57, another course record.
Form's Zach Stanford won the Solo Single Speed Male category with 13 laps in 22:05:16. Unfortunately, there wasn't much of a fight in the Solo Single Speed Female category.
To see the complete results check out the results page.
To see more photos from the event check out Brian Leddy Photography.