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Off-Road Cycling Endurance, The RAD Dirt Festival


adjective slang

Extremely exciting or good. Excellent; wonderful. Radical.

The terrain

They call it an “untouched plethora of gravel unlike any other,” that southern Colorado plateau laden with impressive mesas, paths that will bear the churning of hundreds of bike wheels on October 8 as riders compete for the top finisher in the RAD Dirt Festival bike race.

The Comanche people called the Spanish Peaks Huajatolla, meaning “double mountain.” Those peaks, at 12,688 and 13,631 feet, can be seen from hundreds of miles away and will serve as the backdrop for Life Time’s newest event which takes riders on three courses ranging from 38 to 165 miles.

The Trinidad, Colorado, event supports the Life Time Foundation, a 501 c(3) nonprofit that supports public schools and community organizations nationwide to improve youth nutrition and promote physical activity.

Presented by Wahoo Fitness, the festival is in its second year and offers three endurance trails that are more than 90 percent maintained gravel roads and mostly rolling routes that traverse some of the most scenic views Colorado has to offer.

Tougher than you think

“Don’t be fooled, though,” warns the event’s website at theraddirt.com. “The elevation and climbing will humble you, especially on the longer ride. We mean it when we say you’ll truly become one with nature out on these courses and see an abundance of wildlife.”

The Stubborn Delores, for ages 16 and over, gets underway at 7 a.m. and offers 166 miles of terrain with an elevation gain of 11,213 feet and a high point of 8,943 feet. Contenders in the 99-mile Anteloop course, also for ages 16 and over, leave 30 minutes later with an elevation gain of 6,465 feet and a high point of 7,299 feet. Ages 14 and up leave at 9 a.m. in the Frijole course, a 38.5-mile ride with a 2,916-foot elevation gain and a high point of 6,656 feet.

The details

Life Time, known for its health clubs throughout the U.S. and Canada, will provide a fully-stocked aid station along the courses to ensure riders are hydrated and stay healthy along the way. Riders can register here and can access a downloadable rider’s guide here. Registration closes on October 7. Participants in the 165– and 99-mile rides must have a clear front headlamp and a red tail light for the duration of the race.

The event begins on October 7 with a Shake Out Ride and concludes on October 9 with awards.

As of last year, the Life Time Foundation partnered with 35 public school districts to impact more than 1.7 million children in 3,634 schools across the country. On the Movement side, the foundation’s two pilot grants funded trail development in Leadville, Colorado, and provided bikes for public schools in Emporia, Kansas. Since Life Time covers operational costs, money contributed by riders directly supports programs and grant-making.


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Marianne Todd has been a professional photojournalist and writer since 1987. Her career began in newspapers and rapidly spread into national news magazines. Her work has been featured on the pages of Time, Life, National Geographic, Newsweek, and the Wall Street Journal, where she was nominated for Photographer of the Year International. Todd became a publisher in 2009, creating titles reflecting the music, arts, and tourism industries of the South (she still sports the accent), and her work as the official photographer for Governor Haley Barbour led her to photograph everything from Hurricane Katrina to presidential visits. Since moving to New Mexico four years ago, she has left hard news coverage to travel on her trusty BMW F 750 GS, journeying the roads of America and beyond.