Originally known as Ride the Lightning, the race began in 2003 and has evolved into one of the Four Corner’s area’s biggest athletic draws, hosting riders from scores of states and multiple countries.
All the proceeds from the popular event are donated to local programs designed to assist at-risk youths. Last year, a total of $55,100 was donated.
“The Child Advocacy Center and the Piñon Project get the majority of our money, but we give to other programs such as the Southwest Open School bike team and the Southwest Open School Youth Collaborative,” said race director Tonya Wynes.
Among the highlights of this year’s event was a new 18-mile course that was slightly less technical and roughly 2 miles longer than the course that was used in previous years. Riders who participated in this year’s race agreed that the course changes added to this year’s event.
“The recent rain that we had made the dirt really good,” said local rider Ashley Carelock. “It’s what we call ‘hero dirt.’ ... The course was fast, flowy, and really run.”
Competitors participating in the event ranged from 11 to 67 years of age and ranged in ability levels from casual riders to seasoned professionals.
Carelock and longtime local rider Shawn Gregory represented the most seasoned local riders who participated in the event, which featured several two-, three-, and four-person teams, as well as solo competitors.
Gear donated by Osprey Packs and other local businesses was given away after the event, which riders and organizers agreed was one of the most successful in recent memory.
“The race turned out really well,” Wynes said. “We had a couple of injuries, which we never like to have, but everyone had a great time and the course was perfect.”
Although complete race results were not available at press time, several solo riders in both the male and female divisions rode at least 7 laps around the 18-mile course, while several teams completed as many as 9 laps.
“I like seeing people from all over come here to our beautiful place,” Carelock said. “I think we have some of the best trails, we have great restaurants, and I just love our town. Everyone was very courteous and very encouraging. It was good.”