There’s a little more bike and a little less brew at this year’s Outside Bike & Brew, just one of several changes that have come for the event in its fifth iteration—a new season and a new venue among them. After repeatedly being snowed on, the event has rescheduled from May to September. The Railyard had previously served as a central venue, and Fort Marcy once; but this year, it’s at Glorieta Camps. The shift makes for a more self-contained experience, with lodging and camping onsite and adjacent trails and terrain that host most of the rides.
“Everybody that I’ve talked to, literally with one exception … has been very positive about the move,” says Tim Fowler, event director. “There is such great proximity to trails. … It makes it more of a cycling-enthusiast or a dedicated-cyclist event.”
The hilly tracks near Glorieta will host an enduro-style event—riders pedal uphill off the clock, and then downhill segments are timed. This year’s “Funduro” offers a loose approach, and not an official race (though the fastest time on Strava might win a hat) for people who want to dabble in the growing competitive category.
“You don’t have to know your VO2 max to consider taking this one on,” Fowler says.
But for the Haka Mountain Bike Marathon, that kind of insight would be advised. Riders will choose a 35-mile or 16-mile route, climbing 4,500 or 3,000 feet, respectively. There’s also a gravel grinder on more than 50 miles of dirt roads.
“I think the fact that it’s going to be at Glorieta is really cool,” says professional mountain biker Macky Franklin, who will lead a skills clinic and group ride. “It just lends itself to riding from the event onto singletrack.”
What’s dropped out of the schedule for this year’s Bike & Brew are the Tour de Brewers and other events that saw attendees pedaling around town to sample beer, wine and coffee. It just isn’t feasible for those kinds of rides to take off from Glorieta. This is the event’s first year setting up so far from downtown, and it’s anyone’s guess how that affects attendance. By stationing at a venue with onsite lodging, it may draw more cyclists from out of town.
In some ways, if it matures into an event that draws people from out of town or out of state, that’ll serve its purpose. The event fundraises for Velo New Mexico, a nonprofit with a goal of increasing interest in cycling in the Land of Enchantment.
“I think Santa Fe should be a world-class mountain biking, cycling destination, and we’re not there yet,” Fowler says. “That’s what Velo New Mexico is about—raising the profile of New Mexico and actually improving the options.”
This year, funds raised go toward building a trail in memory of Robert Romero, a longtime mountain biker and Velo New Mexico treasurer and board member.
States have been catching on to the growing interest in outdoor recreation and the role it can play in a thriving economy, and cyclists have become a particularly coveted crew. Research from the University of Montana found cyclists spend more and stay more days when traveling through an area.
Often, local governments issue grants to draw that business. The city, county and state have previously sponsored Bike & Brew, but none did this year. The funding cuts are part of why the event moved to Glorieta.
Joanne Hudson, public relations manager for Tourism Santa Fe, says those grants are used to kickstart new events and are not awarded more than three consecutive years. She was not immediately available to answer how that applies, given that the city gave a $25,000 grant to the Santa Fe Century last year, a 33-year-old event. A final report to the Occupancy Tax Advisory Board estimated the Century’s 27.7 percent of riders who live 50 miles from town and their friends and family spent an estimated $475,000 on hotel rooms and in restaurants, noting it was “a very good return on their investment.”
Last year, 40 percent of the Bike & Brew’s 8,000-plus attendees came from outside the city, according to a report by Southwest Planning and Marketing prepared for Santa Fe County. Economic impact was estimated at just over $1.1 million.
This year, they’ll get to enjoy the convenience of bunking up just off the trailheads, dining at food trucks parked onsite, and, of course, sampling beers provided by Canteen Brewhouse, Santa Fe Brewing, Second Street and Uinta.
The overall trend for outdoor enthusiasm near Santa Fe appears to be upward, based on the metric that there are multiple options for big events on a single weekend. Should you so choose, you could run in the Endurance Santa Fe 13-mile, 50-kilometer or 50-mile races through the hills near the ski basin on Saturday, Sept. 1, and then ride at Glorieta on Sunday. If nothing else, that’s cause for a toast.
Endurance Santa Fe
First start time at 4 am Satuday Sept. 1. Registration costs vary.
Ski Santa Fe,
740 Hyde Park Road;