Grease them sprockets and buy some new brake pads because another Enchanted Circle Bike Tour is coming up Saturday, Aug. 27. The tour will wind through the entire Enchanted Circle Byway counterclockwise, beginning and ending at Brandenburg Park in Red River. The 85-mile course will first head down Red River Canyon to Questa, under police escort, before turning south for a pass by Taos Pueblo. The course will continue up Palo Flechado Pass and then past Angel Fire Resort on NM 434 before rejoining the main course through Eagle Nest, up Bobcat Pass and back to Red River.
While organizers emphasize, “It’s a tour, not a race,” there will be a “friendly” hill-climbing competition, a returning addition to the event. In keeping with that friendly spirit, tandem bicycles will be allowed, though each rider must pay the full registration fee. Participants under the age of 18 are allowed but must be accompanied by an adult. (Friendly or not, State Police are authorized to stop anyone attempting to participate without proof of entry and fines can be issued.)
The day kicks off at 6 a.m. with coffee and announcements, as well as technical support from Sitzmark Sports, followed by the tour launch at 7:30 a.m. There will be support stations along the route that will include both mechanical help and first aid. A “Red River Fiesta” will be held for participants — with live music, authentic Northern New Mexico cuisine and craft beers and cocktails by Red River Brewing Company & Distillery — 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Start/Finish area in the park. There will also be a prize raffle and a podium ceremony and a check presentation for winners of the competition. Massages will also be available for an additional fee.
Some of the proceeds from the tour will benefit the Red River Valley Foundation as well as other local nonprofit groups that will be providing help at aid stations and as course marshals.
This will be the second year the Enchanted Circle Bike Tour has been run by Outside Inc., publisher of Outside Magazine, since they took over from the Red River Chamber of Commerce and the Red River Bicycle Club in 2021. The race began as the Enchanted Circle Century in 1978. Former mayor of Red River, John Miller, a biking enthusiast himself, had participated in other century tours in Albuquerque and Colorado and thought the Enchanted Circle would be the perfect place for 100 miles of two-wheeled fun. The tour used to run clockwise so that participants had to start with a grueling climb up Bobcat Pass. The additional 15 miles to make the century were added by a detour to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge until that route proved too “harrowing.” During the 1990’s, the tour was one of America’s premier bicycling events, though participation has dropped off in recent years. Outside Inc. hopes to bring the tour back to its glory days.