The next time you visit Santa Fe, be sure to bring your wheels. The mountain biking and road cycling in Santa Fe is off the hook and is only getting better. When I arrived in town almost 20 years ago, mountain biking meant riding through the sandy arroyos and trying to creatively link fire roads with a few existing multi-use trails. Today, thanks to a man named Dale Ball, the visionary behind the 22-mile Dale Ball Trail System, it’s possible to connect one beautifully maintained piece of singletrack to another. If you’re really ambitious, there’s the 68-mile Big Friggin’ Loop, a race in June with 10,000 feet of climbing that starts in town, traces the Dale Ball Trail system, hooks up to the Winsor Trail system, and tops out at the radio towers at around 12,000 feet. As for road riding, Lance Armstrong once trained here. Enough said.
Tesuque Canyon Trail
Be prepared to get your feet wet. This 18-mile long singletrack ride starts in the village of Tesuque and has at least six stream crossings as it climbs alongside Tesuque Creek up to the Ski Basin. There are multiple spur trails along the route, which allow you to expand or contract your ride to suit your energy levels. Ride this with a friend.
Santa Fe Century Loop
Every May cyclists from around the country descend on Santa Fe to ride this 100-mile route that loops through the historic mining towns of Madrid and Golden, through high-alpine desert, and up a steep incline appropriately named Heartbreak Hill that tops out at 7,320 feet. Sign up for the Century or check out the route on the website, and Strava the loop on your own time.
One of the best-kept secrets in New Mexico, White Mesa is a surreal trail system with spectacular views, 90-minutes southwest of Santa Fe. Thanks to the gypsum in the soil, the 12 miles of white singletrack that snakes up and down ridges with names like “Dinosaur Back” practically glows.
Santa Fe Ski Basin Road
For a fast, painful, anaerobic, epic training ride, head up Hyde Park road and don’t stop until you get to Ski Santa Fe, 14.5-miles later. The climb flattens out enough to catch your breath in places, but be forewarned: The mile-long stretch from the Hyde State Park Ranger Station to the Borrego Trail trailhead is a brutal nine percent grade.
High Road to Taos
You might be chased by a few dogs, but this 75-mile ride winds through some of the most historic villages in northern New Mexico and takes you back in time. After you pass iconic Santuario de Chimayo, you’ll climb on a beautiful new ribbon of pavement to Truchas and be rewarded with stunning views to the Truchas Peaks. Time your ride to stop for lunch at the Sugar Nymph Bistro in Peñasco.