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Mountain Fest fills void left by Bike and Brew

Cycling is one of the main attractions at the Santa Fe Mountain Fest. (Courtesy of Tim Fowler)

Cycling is one of the main attractions at the Santa Fe Mountain Fest. (Courtesy of Tim Fowler)

When the Outside Magazine Bike and Brew Festival faded away, it left something of a void on the cycling calendar.

So, Velo New Mexico is filling the gap with the Santa Fe Mountain Fest starting Friday and running through the weekend.

“It’s basically a reboot of the Bike and Brew,” said Tim Fowler, Velo New Mexico’s executive director. “It’s an event that creates an opportunity to play around with trail running, mountain biking, rock climbing and road biking. It’s a way for people to dip their toes in outdoor recreation in an easy and friendly environment.”

The three days will be filled with a series of activities designed for both beginners interested in learning more about outdoor recreation and for those who are more experienced, Fowler said.

“The point is, a lot of times, outdoor recreation and sports have a perceived high barrier of entry,” he said. “That you have to already be an expert or have to buy a lot of gear.”

The Mountain Fest is a way to overcome those misconceptions, Fowler said.

“We want people to try something in an easier way, so they can decide that maybe this is something they’re interested in and excited about, and may pursue further,” he said.

That’s kind of the calling of Velo New Mexico

“Our whole mission is to make cycling accessible and fun and available to more people in New Mexico,” Fowler said. “We want to include other outdoor recreation in that. There are a lot of great outdoor recreation opportunities in New Mexico, so we wanted to go a little broader, even though our focus is on cycling.”

Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears get the Mountain Fest going with a Railyard Park concert Friday night. (Courtesy of Mountain Fest)

Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears get the Mountain Fest going with a Railyard Park concert Friday night. (Courtesy of Mountain Fest))

Most of the event is centered on the Railyard Park, beginning with a bike-in concert Friday with national act Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears out of Austin. A $10 donation for the show and access to the beer garden is suggested. Activities get underway at 5 p.m.

Throughout the evening, a climbing wall will be open and many bicycles will be available for attendees to try.

On Saturday, several events are geared toward experienced outdoors recreationalists, with the Santa Fe Haka and the Caja del Rio Grinder.

The Haka is a backcountry, rugged, single-track mountain bike ride of either 17 miles with 4,320 feet of elevation gain or 31 miles with 8,100 feet. It starts at the intersection of Pacheco Canyon Road and CR 592.

“It’s a challenging ride,” Fowler said. “It’s for more intermediate to advanced riders, absolutely. It’s a mountain bike endurance ride, not a race. It’s not timed. But it’s challenging and it’s meant to be that way.”

The Grinder starts at Railyard Park and explores the Caja del Rio on a 30-mile loop suitable for gravel or cyclecross bikes.

There also will be two more sedate rides in the Tour de Brewer and the Tour de Brunch.

The Brewer tour makes pit stops at several local craft breweries so riders can wet their whistle, while the Brunch tour includes revitalization stops at local eateries.

Saturday also will feature a Point-to-Point-to-Point trail run, beginning at the Railyard, with designated destinations, but routes left up to the runners

And members of the Fat Tire Society will guide beginner and intermediate mountain bike riders on some of Santa Fe’s nearby single tracks.

Saturday also will include a primer on the little-known short cuts, back streets and hidden routes of Santa Fe in a guided tour. Local favorites Chango play at the Railyard Park Saturday night

On Sunday, Sept. 15, the event moves out to the Galisteo Basin Preserve near Eldorado, where attendees can ride, run or hike the local trails and even help the Fat Tire Society as they work on a new single track trail.