Editor’s note: As much as she would like to fancy herself the outdoorsy sporty type, our writer’s legendary inappropriate footwear gives her away. This week, she turns over the blog to one of her more sports-minded friends who understands flip-flops are not always the best shoe choice for Santa Fe.
It doesn’t take much effort to turn Santa Fe into an outdoor sports playground. With its extremely refreshing weather and gorgeous surroundings, people just can’t help but want to go out and get moving. Biking, running, golf, baseball — from the serene to the extreme — Santa Fe is a natural sports paradise. That’s a good thing, because with so much delectable food in Santa Fe, you’ll be looking for a thrilling way to burn a few calories.
I know you are excited, but let’s go over some basic tips for getting active in Santa Fe. The City Different is located at an elevation of 7,000 feet. So while the air might be the cleanest in the country, it’s probably a little thinner than what you’re used to. Allow yourself a day to get acclimated before embarking on that epic hike or trail run. Drink plenty of water and avoid excessive intake of alcohol; save the silver coin margaritas for the post-ride victory celebration. Thinner air also means you’re going to want lots of sunscreen. And, of course, dress in layers for cool mornings and warm afternoons.
Mountain biking in Santa Fe is truly world class, offering everything from beginner trails to expert terrain. The prestige of Santa Fe’s trails lead the International Mountain Bike Association to hold their world summit here. Choose a slow-paced scenic route, a challenging brutal trek, or a fast-paced downhill run like the Windsor Trail.
Just minutes north of downtown, the Dale Ball South trail network is an easy-to-access, immaculate 22-mile trail system offering single-track loops for all levels of riders. You don’t need expensive gear or a closet full of race jerseys to enjoy an invigorating ride overlooking the city. Just hop on, pedal, and enjoy. Experienced riders looking for a challenge can take on the Atalaya trail leading to the top of Atalaya Mountain. Ride on weekdays to avoid crowds. Check out the Santa Fe Fat Tire Society for the inside scoop on the best trails and group rides.
For those with an inclination for organized events, make plans for Santa Fe's 28th Annual Century Ride, rich in both pedal power and tradition. 100 miles of history pass under your wheels as you ride the ancient Turquoise Trail across the Ortiz and San Pedro Mountains, the Estancia Valley, on to the historic village of Galisteo, and back to Santa Fe. Six food stops along the way provide riders with hydration, snacks, fresh fruit, and more. There are 25- and 50-mile "out & back" routes for riders not yet ready to knock out the full century. The Century Ride gets rolling May 19. Don’t miss your chance to ride this historic trail.
Running: The Santa Fe to Buffalo Thunder Half Marathon + Gladiator Dash
Prefer to tackle Santa Fe on foot? Explore one of the many running trails in and around the city and its glorious natural surroundings. If you’re looking for more motivation, try the Santa Fe to Buffalo Thunder Half Marathon, one of Santa Fe’s many destination races. The primarily downhill run takes you from the heart of historic Santa Fe to the magnificent Buffalo Thunder Casino.
The USATF-certified course has spectacular views of the Sangre de Cristo and Jemez Mountains and takes runners into the colorful Rio Grande Valley. The starting pistol fires Sunday, September 15th. The run benefits Global Running Culture, a nonprofit group dedicated to promoting youth fitness.
Runners looking for something a bit more “extreme” should get down and dirty with the Gladiator Dash. The Dash is a 5K “Ultra Extreme Mud Obstacle Challenge” that commands you to climb, jump, crawl, and conquer. This race will definitely leave your body covered (and I mean covered) in mud. It’s an absolute mess and an insane amount of fun. The Gladiator Dash wreaks havoc on September 7th. Sign up with a friend or race as a team.
Sports in Santa Fe aren’t all about testing your limits; they can also test your patience. Experience the glory and heartache at one of Santa Fe’s exceptional golf courses. Schedule a tee time at the Marty Sanchez Links de Santa Fe, named after the late Santa Fe legend. This municipal course is an attractive value, with lush, challenging greens, magnificent views, and a friendly staff. If the weekly tournaments don’t keep you coming back, the expansive pro shop and delicious grill just might. Like Marty Sanchez himself, this course is a gift to the city. Walk-ups are welcome.
Last year, professional baseball arrived in Santa Fe with the Fuego. Pecos League commissioner and Santa Fe owner Andrew Dunn called the Fuego’s first season at Fort Marcy Park, “quite possibly the best year of any expansion team I've ever had.” The brand new team led the independent league in attendance. How’s that for hometown spirit! “The community understands the commitment of the players and appreciates the players and fully supports the team,” said Dunn. The Fuego’s first home game is against the Taos Blizzard May 16th at Fort Marcy Park. Take a nine-inning break and root, root, root for the home team.
Whether planning a trail run or lining up a birdie, there’s so much to experience and explore in Santa Fe. If you really want to get away from it all, nothing helps melt stress like exercise. Remember, after a workout, be sure to properly recover and refuel. As for me, I’ll either be on my bike, debating what club to use at Marty Sanchez, or at Fort Marcy Park wearing a Fuego cap and sipping on a Happy Camper IPA.