The 2nd edition of GFNY Santa Fe is coming soon – June 7, when riders from all across the Americas roll into New Mexico’s “Land of Enchantment” for an epic gran fondo race to a 10350’ mountain top finish.
Gran Fondo Daily News rode the inaugural event in 2019 and here are our ride-like-a-Pro insider tips.
Santa Fe’s 7000′ altitude is the tall elephant in the room nobody talks about. By far the biggest challenge riders face is riding into thin air. Arriving a few days early helps the body adjust, just drink lots of water, eat carbohydrates, ride easy and don’t drink alcohol until after the event. Watch out for altitude sickness, it strikes without warning and feels like going six rounds with an MMA fighter.
GFNY COURSE PREVIEW:
Prologue 5 miles. The course rewards tactical, smart riders conserving energy for the final climb. Going hard early will end badly, very badly, especially with a group when they jettison you off the back like a spent artillery shell later on. With that said, plan to throw down some power from the first pedal stroke on a 2-mile opening climb, followed by twisty narrow roads sure to string the group out.
Rockin’ Down the Highway 23 miles. This segment is long and fast where you want to practice your best wheelsuckery. After turning onto Highway 599 sit in, recover, take a drink, sit in and soak up gorgeous Ortiz Mountain views straight ahead – while sitting in.
Backstage Pass 14 miles. Beautiful section winding through rolling foothills covered with piñon pine and Hollywood elites filming blockbuster movies. At I25 stay vigilant descending through the 400-year-old village of La Cienega, up a short punchy climb and crossing the Santa Fe River via a dirt arroyo – last year it was wet.
Mogul Madness 18 miles. Things start to get serious now with miles and miles of up and down – mostly up – as the course backtracks before descending into Tesuque and starting Bishops Lodge climb. Don’t dig too deep here, losing a minute or two now is better than blowing up and losing 30 minutes – or more – on the final climb.
The Wall 15 miles +3900’. Time to channel your inner Marco Pantani, be The Pirate. Averaging 5.5% the Ski Santa Fe climb grinds you down, one agonizing pedal stroke at a time. The first 4.5 miles starts steep, eases in the middle and then is a steady grade to Ten Thousand Waves Spa, followed by a short fast descent. Second part is 6 miles twisting and turning deep into Santa Fe National Forest. This is the crux of the climb, the part that feels like death by 10,000 pedal strokes and seemingly goes on forever. Final 4.5 miles starts with a thank-god downhill before climbing to Vista Grande Overlook. Now, with only a short downhill and shorter uphill to go it’s time to burn all your matches, if any remain.