The 2019 Oak Flats mountain bike race, part of the New Mexico Off Road race series, was held Sunday, August 11 at the Oak Flat picnic grounds in the East Mountains. For 2019 race director Parmenides Orpinel made several improvements to the race format and venue. Most notably, laps were shortened from approximately eight to four-miles making for a more spectator-friendly event by putting racers across the start-finish line more often during each race.
Racers seemed to like the revised course since the shorter laps allowed them to become intimate with every corner, rock and tree with each passing lap. Shorter laps also allowed racers to travel a little lighter since they could pick up fresh hydration at the High Desert Bicycles sponsored water station instead of carrying a heavy hydration pack.
The event included kid-friendly activities such as a kid’s mountain bike race and a portable climbing wall provided by the City of Albuquerque Parks and Recreation Department.
Sanchez Tacos: Delicious
And we can’t forget the food from Sanchez Tacos. The carne asada burritos were excellent. If you see them around town make sure to stop and give them a try.
Thanks to Parmenides Orpinel for his hard work as race director. And thanks to all the folks that volunteered for the event: Thomas Mattsson, Dot Philip, Dustyn Ladewig, Stacy Rabel, and Joe Fortin. Apologies to any volunteers I know I missed.
By Thomas Mattsson: The traditional start of the summer Road Racing season was this weekend in Las Cruces and Hillsboro with the Trifecta hosted by Zia Velo.
Saturday was not summer – the TT took place in snow and rain mix with 32F on the Garmin at the turnaround!
Daniel Ruiz and Thomas Mattsson braved the elements racing M Cat 4 with Thomas on the podium in 3rd and Daniel in 4th place.
The Hillsboro Road Race on Sunday instead brought wonderful spring weather: not much wind, clear skies, and 45 to 65 F, a short-sleeve day!
HDB was represented by Sandy Knudsen, Thomas Mattsson, and Daniel Ruiz.
The race combined several categories into groups, resulting in large Pelotons and hectic racing.
Sandy won the W Masters category and was only a few minutes off the winner in W Cat 4/5.
Your embedded reporter raced M Cat 4 with Daniel and can report that the tempo was furious this year. On the way out, a 5 person break was forming and Echelon was controlling the peloton with one rider in the break. We decided to go for it and launched a bridging attempt, Thomas led out and Daniel sling-shot with a hard push to successfully join the break. The break was at a point 1 min 10 seconds ahead of the main field. It was looking good. The rollers took a tool though and the break fell apart with two racers getting away. Daniel joined the main group and after refueling he finished strong to a 4th place overall in Cat 4. Thomas finished 11th.
Next road event is the 505 Classic April 6-7 here in Albuquerque.
Get Out and Ride
Lucky 7 CX Race: The High Desert Bicycle Race Team needed a lot of luck, and even more helping hands and hard work, to pull off the Lucky 7 CX race held on December 2nd at Roosevelt School in Tijeras. The original race venue of La Cueva High School was pulled about two-weeks before the race because of a scheduling conflict with the arts and crafts fair hosted annually by the La Cueva Band.
Nathan Masek marshaled a diverse group of volunteers including Jan Bear, Hawke Morgan, Par Orpinel along with HDB members to re-locate the race venue and complete USAC permitting in a frenetic two-week window. The race was originally scheduled to host the New Mexico/West Texas regional championships. However, due to the short time-frame USAC did not permit the race as a regional championship.
Gray scudding clouds, freezing temperatures and a few inches of white stuff made for a perfect CX race. Course conditions changed throughout the day: starting out slimy, slick and slow but gradually getting faster as as the course dried and packed-in with each lap.
Thanks to all the HDB volunteers that made the race possible. A special thanks to Jan Bear, Hawke Morgan, and Par Orpinel. And Nathan Masek for wrangling all those cats.
Get Out and RIDE
North Footies Trail Maintenance: Saturday, November 4th, I met Elevate/Bikeworks Albuquerque to conduct maintenance on Trail 341 in the North Foothills. The work, located approximately 1/4-mile east of the intersection of Trail 341 and Trail 230, focused on filling in rutted areas, reducing the slope of the trail and adding water-bars to minimize erosion during heavy rain events. The crew also removed vegetation on a blind corner to reduce the chance of a head-on collision between up-hill and down-hill riders.
On initial inspection you wouldn’t think much was done to the trail. However, the crew of approximately 12 volunteers conducted three-hours of heavy-rock work and used five-gallon pails to haul what seemed like a truck load of dirt to repair the multi-use trail.
Conducting regular trail maintenance in the foothills is becoming increasingly important. Figures from the Albuquerque Open Space Division show an increase in automobile traffic at Elena Gallegos of 25,000 vehicles between 2016 and 2017. The figures only account for vehicle traffic, and under estimate the actual human load since each car may transport more than one person and visitations from people hiking or biking directly into the park are not counted.
Thanks to Elevate/Bikeworks Albuquerque for adopting Trail 341. We also appreciate the folks at the Albuquerque Openspace Division for giving up many of their weekends to direct the trail work.
Ironman 2018: Congratulations to Geoff Steffens for pushing through a tough 10 hour work-day at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, HI on October 13th. Geoff raced in the men’s 50-54 age group, finishing in 10 hours 35 minutes: 73rd of 212 racers. Some impressive bragging rights when you can claim being one of the top 75 best racers in the world in your class.
We are all wondering if we will see you pounding the pavement and pushing the pedals for another go in 2019.
HDB’s Geoff Steffens will be in Kona, HI October 13th, not lazing on the beach with a colorful umbrella drink in his hand but swimming, riding and running in the men’s 50-54 Ironman 140.3 World Championships. (Yep, if you read this earlier we said 70.3. We had it way wrong and this one will be much more difficult for Geoff). Geoff qualified for the race this past May with a second place finish in Santa Rosa, CA.
Well wishes to Geoff. Remember to get in some beach time with a pretty umbrella drink after the race. You deserve it after a year of hard training and racing.
Fun facts about the 2018 Kona Ironman:
- This is the 40th anniversary of the Kona Ironman;
- This will be the largest athlete field ever, with approximately 2,500 registered athletes;
- 43 is the average participant age;
- Six athletes will celebrate their birthday on race-day;
- The United States is the most represented nation, with over 640 registered participants.
More Senior Olympics Results: Congratulations to HDB’s Linda Garcia for placing second in the Women’s 70-74 40K road race at the 2018 New Mexico Senior Olympics. Linda’s podium snagged her a ticket to the 2019 National Senior Olympics to be held here in Albuquerque.
Be Like Linda. Get Out and Ride!