May 21, 2012 at 12:25 PM

Santa Fe Century Ride

"I love the esprit de corps of this ride. Everyone is in such a great mood, and everyone is helpful"

By Liz Simon

Trips & Quips

Liz Simon is a photographer, writer and cyclist who likes to combine the three in her quest to discover the nooks and crannies of New Mexico. Sometimes, means of transportation other than bicycle are employed---including the Rail Runner and motorcycle.

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Today was the bike rally known as The Santa Fe Century Ride. I've ridden in this event every year since 2001 and it's always a ball. This year was no exception. In fact, this year was unusual because the weather could not have been better. In past years we've started out in sometimes bitter cold wind and gray skies.

The Ride consists of several options, for all levels of riders and you can even invent your own route, which many people do. Of course there is the 100-mile loop, which starts at St. Vincent's Hospital. Actually, it's more like 103 miles, but who's counting? Then there are 50-mile and 25-mile loops. This year I only did 100K. I like to make the switch over to metric because it sounds better than saying 60 miles, which is the equivalent. In fact, sometimes this length of a 100K ride is referred to as a Metric Century Ride.

People come here from all over North America for this event. In the St. Vincent's parking lots and surrounding area, I've seen license plates from all over Canada and the U.S., including as far east as Ontario and New York State.

The Santa Fe Century is what is known as a "supported ride." That means there are ample food stops and bathroom facilities approximately every 20 miles. Local families and businesses volunteer to take care of the snack stands. And, a first this year, a local youth shelter was giving away free popsicles on Route 285. Talk about perfect timing. You're coming out of that high desert area west of Galisteo, parched and tired, and here are these kids yelling "Free Popsicles" and placing them right into your gloved hand. Many riders, in a Tour de France style of eating-on-the-fly, took their popsicles, stuffed them in their shirts and rode them up to their group to distribute….all of those riders eating as they rode. That simply would not do for me. Such a delicacy from childhood deserved a full stop in order to savor the icy-sweet joy of it all. I can't remember the last time I had a popsicle, but these were the best I'd ever had. Wow, what  a trip down memory lane besides a welcome burst of refreshment. Thank you youth shelter.

I love the esprit de corps of this ride. Everyone is in such a great mood, and everyone is helpful. If you just pull off the road to take a photo, as I do quite often, almost every rider who passes you will shout out, "Everything OK? Need any help?"

This year I ended the ride at The Legal Tender Saloon in Lamy, at the train station. The recently re-opened restaurant there is really good. I had a wonderful hamburger with green chili, caramelized onions and tomatoes, on some delicious Texas toast…a veritable feast, which even I could not finish in one sitting. They also have local beers on tap and everything is served with a smile. Today we had the added joy of listening to a very talented country-western singer by the name of Steve. He was wonderful and the meal would not have been as good without him.

This ride takes place on the third Sunday of every May. If you like to ride, even on a mountain bike or a hybrid, give it a try. You can register online. at www.santafecentury.com.

I loved it, as usual. Wouldn't miss it for the world.

Happy Trails to You
From Santa Fe, New Mexico
The Land of Enchantment

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