24 Hours In The Enchanted Forest
What do beer, santa claus, and mountain bikes have in common?…. ZIA Rides 24Hours In The Enchanted Forest mountain bike race that’s what! I’ve wanted to do this race for 3 years and for 2016 it came to fruition. Our team made the 7.5 hour drive to Gallup New Mexico in a truck loaded with four bikes, gear, food, and of course my Cascadia Vehicle Tent. At 7000 feet above sea level the McGaffey campground is central to some awesome flowing single track along with leg punishing climbs. Upon arrival we set up camp and did a pre ride of the 13.5 mile course. Mile marker 0-4 was had great flow, 5-8 a grueling sustained climb, 9-12 a scary fast downhill, and the last 1.5 miles a slight climb. After the pre ride we caught some Z’s in preparation for the following days race.
The next day with breakfast in our stomachs and the pre race meeting behind us, our teams first rider positioned himself at the starting line. The sound of a siren signaled the start of a 24 hour adventure. As our first rider proceeded on his first of many turns riding I couldn’t help but think how diverse the mountain bike community is. Mountain biking is a combination of competitive riders, weekend adventurers, and party animals. Take for example the “beer hand up” guys positioned on the side of the racecourse. With two pop up tents, two large trash cans full of ice cold beer, a cooler full of kids juice boxes, and endless enthusiasm they offer refreshment to any age rider spinning by. Now consider the leaders of the first loop coming into the exchange zone; their faces with expressions of pain and finishing the loop in just 50 minutes. When our first rider comes into camp it is clear that he encountered the weekend adventurer while on the course. He describes a rider with a full white beard wearing red suit, although leaner than the iconic childhood figure it is clear that he did indeed pass santa claus on the dusty trail.
As the hours go by turns are taken riding, eating, and sleeping in our Cascadia vehicle Tent. It would be a severe under estimation to say that only a dozen people gave compliments on the tent, but regardless we slept well. As the event rolled by and approached the end, I could not help but think how amazing it is to share adventure with great friends! Get your next adventure on your calendar!…. Be. Live. Explore.
-Nick of Rogue Overland