Mountain biking

Field Institute of Taos puts on fifth annual Ride the Rift event

By Matthew Narvaiz
sports@taosnews.com
Posted 10/17/19

More than 175 riders headed down County Road 110 on Sunday (Oct. 13) to participate in the fifth annual Ride the Rift event, which was put on by the Field Institute of Taos, a nonprofit organization that promotes "outdoors, natural sciences" and the history of it all.

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Mountain biking

Field Institute of Taos puts on fifth annual Ride the Rift event

Posted

More than 175 riders headed down County Road 110 on Sunday (Oct. 13) to participate in the fifth annual Ride the Rift event, which was put on by the Field Institute of Taos, a nonprofit organization that promotes "outdoors, natural sciences" and the history of it all.

The event itself was free for all to attend, though donations were accepted to raise money for the Taos Composite mountain biking team. Some of the riders on the team raised over $6,000 in "pledges for team expenses," according to Susie Fiore, founder and executive director of FIT.

There were four trails in total. The main course - the longer one - was around 12 miles; the medium course was about 4.6 miles; the short course was 1.1 miles, and there was also a .33 mile course for kids.

The event itself was a friendly one, with riders of all ages taking part in riding - from as young as age 2 all the way to 78 years old, Fiore said. After the conclusion of the event, a combined 2,118 miles were ridden by all participants.

A handful of sponsors were on hand at the event. Cid's, a locally-owned grocery market, donated some bacon and other food for the riders on event day, while others like Taos Net, Taos Tennis and Taos Sports Alliance all put their hands into helping this event become a reality.

The first wave, which started just after 10 a.m., featured a little over 20 riders, while others trickled in throughout the event, which concluded at 4 p.m.

On some points along the course, there were stopping points where some of the bacon from Cid's was served, as well as water, chocolate and other snacks.

Although the event wasn't held for competition purposes, Fiore and some of the organizers of the Ride the Rift event kept a tally on how many miles were ridden individually.

All of the riders who rode the most miles were younger, too. Cole Hughes, 16, who competes on the Taos Composite team, covered the most territory, riding for 73.2 miles - or six laps on the long course. Tor Holm, 15, rode a total of 61 miles.

Eva Weymuller, who visited from Washington and whose grandmother resides in Taos, also attended the event. She was the top female finisher, riding a total of 45.8 miles. Zoe Colfax, 16, a member of the Taos Composite team, rode 42.8 miles, although she did have a problem with a flat tire.

"It's beyond just supporting the team - it's a community event," said Sean Cassily, assistant director of FIT and also one of the coaches for the Taos Composite team. "And that's why it's great."

Cassily said that the main goal of FIT and the mountain biking team is not only to get kids out and active, but to understand the rich history of where they live.

Angie and Brad Higdon brought both of their children to the Ride the Rift event on Sunday. Angie Higdon said that both Harper and Rowan, 13 and 11, have been a part of FIT since they were just small children.

"This event is really fun," said Angie Higdon. "You get people of all ages and you get to come as a family, and you get to ride your own pace, go your own distance and do your own thing, but you're in this big biking community. It's great."

Stephanie Stynes, mother of two riders on the Taos Composite team, Nate and Maddy Steinberg, was a helper for the event and said that FIT as an organization was a positive one for her children.

Stynes also said that people like Cassily and Fiore are supportive regardless of what riding level a child is at. More than anything, though, they "build good human beings," she said.

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