Sunday, May 20, 2012

Los Alamos Half Century?

Photo from the 2011 Tour de Los Alamos collection, with

Due to a lot of things related to life getting in the way of fun, we skipped the Santa Fe Century this year. While Meena was out on a long walk with our neighbor and our very ill dog, I dusted off the somewhat neglected Cannondale road bike and took it for a long overdue spring spin.

This started out as the usual "Bandelier Loop" ride starting and finishing from the the Old Same Household on North Mesa. I decided to take the detour through White Rock and Pajarito Acres to avoid construction on NM-4. What followed was the realization that this loop, in the form I rode, it was about forty clicks long, has more than two thousand feet of climbing, and is about as pretty and challenging a ride as any I have done of similar length. Why can't we market that as a Los Alamos Half Century? Any takers from Council, Los Alamos High Altitude Sports, our highly competitive local cycling community, and the Lodger's Board?

So here is an approximate 40 mile loop.

Start/Finish at the Golf Course. They can deal with a cycling event once a year, given they have asked for a lot of public money and some additional space for improvements. Look at it this way: we can market our course to outa town cyclists and the golf folks will earn a lot of aloha from non-golfers. Conversely, we could start downtown, but I wanted to showcase Diamond Drive.

Ride on our excellent bike lanes over the Omega Bridge, turn left onto Truck Route, and follow to NM-4  (I suggest a clockwise ride to get people off of Truck Route and that nasty section of NM-4  east of White Rock as early in the a.m. as practicable).

Turn left on Rover, left on Meadow, left on Overlook. First rest stop at Overlook Park.
Back out to Rover and left. Left on Grand Canyon, left on Sherwood to Piedra.

Left on Piedra Loop and Piedra Drive, Left on N. Monterey Dr,, Left on Rio Bravo, Left on Potrillo, Left on Estancia, left back onto Potrillo.
Left on South Monte Rey Drive.
Left onto NM-4
Right onto West Jemez Road-second aid station somewhere around here
Through Large Intestine and across the bridge back into Los Alamos.
Promenade up Central past all the stores and Ashley Pond, loop around downtown, back to Diamond, and out to Golf Course

Yeah that is a lot of lefts, which means a lot of course marshals. But I don't think its a good idea to have a lot of tired cyclists on NM-4 between Truck Route and White Rock later in the day. But the whole thing could be run in reverse to maximize right turns, running up Truck Route as we do the Tour de Los Alamos.

This is plus or minus 40 miles. Add a ride up Camp May Road to the ski lodge (small aid station there for the insane) to make close to fifty.  Anyone wanting more punishment can do it twice. We could have a short, community ride staying in Townsite.

I'll work this if the County and the cycling community want it. I won't if no one else does. This will take work, but I think we can have one of the finest public bike rides in New Mexico if we want it.

If anyone wants to ride this and shoot the shit about it in the near future, send me a comment or email. Well, as long as we dodge the chipsealing, that is.  I wish I brought a camera, but if Jim Rickman wants to send a pic from his excellent collection of local bike pics, I'll post it here with acknowledgements.

Oh, and this thought. There is money to be made. For a town far too dependent on Uncle Sam's increasingly withered teat, its a chance to diversify and take advantage of our glorious setting, nice roads, and good climate. If you saw what I saw on that ride this morning, you would have a hard time riding anywhere else. Its tough to haul my sorry butt outa the sack on a Sunday morning and schlep myself to Santa Fe when our own beautiful place beckons.

Durango Suspends Lodging Rules for Bike Race

  DURANGO, Colo. (AP) — Durango is suspending rules on vacation rentals to accommodate up to 25,000 visitors expected in August for the start of the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge.
Beginning Aug. 10, homeowners can rent their property without having to get a permit or collect lodging and sales taxes.
According to The Durango Herald, people renting their homes and condos will be asked to register with the city’s finance department.
The seven-day race runs from Aug. 20 to Aug. 26, and draws pro racers from around the world.



Mike Wismer said...

I made a similar ride on Saturday but I added a ride into Bandelier's visitor center and back. I like your idea but we need someone organize the event.
Mike Wismer

Little Jimmy said...


Just got back in town. Sounds like a great ride. A race would be great, but sadly, I don't think Los Alamos has the will to pull it off. Witness the Jemez Trail Run this weekend: 600 runners in town, businesses closed on the weekend, no "welcome" banner downtown, no greetings from the townspeople, etc.

I've gone to races in other communities. What makes many of them successful is that the community makes it clear that they want the competitors in town and they pull out all the stops to make them feel welcome.

The hospitality in Los Alamos is worse than the hospitality used to be in Gallup. Believe me, that's rock bottom. Furthermore, Los Alamos is an unfriendly community. Unless and until we can overcome these issues, Los Alamos won't ever gain traction as a race venue. Harsh truth, but truth nevertheless.

Khal said...

As far as the "I don't have time to do this (no kidding--neither do I--we lost twenty percent of my group to the voluntary buy out), we do need the "somebody" to organize an event.

The Red River Chamber of Commerce runs the Red River Century, from what I can see on their web site, because they see the dollar signs, being primarily a tourist economy up there. I'm surprised the Los Alamos Chamber has never jumped into this niche, or have they and decided it was a non-starter?

Certainly LA High Altitude and other cycling people would help, but up there in Red River, my impression is the local business community and city does a lot of the heavy lifting and fills up hotels and restaurants in return.

My fear is similar to Jimmy's. That big, fat Federal teat we have been sucking on since 1943 has made us complacent as a one horse economy. Seems to prove what the Tea Party folks say about depending on Uncle Sam...

Khal said...

Red River Century contact person; note the address.

Unknown said...

How about a metric century, starting as you stated at the golf course, down the truck route, thru White Rock, but when back in Los Alamos head out to the mesas end at the golf course? I am sure there is enough mileage on the mesas