Happy New Year Santa Fe mountain bikers!

It’s that time of year when many of us long for summer rides in the mountains and spend our dark winter evenings tinkering with our bikes. At the club, it’s a time to celebrate previous year accomplishments and to start planning for 2024. 

Highlights of 2023

Compared to 2022 we did not build nearly as many miles of trail, however we did make progress in other areas. Thanks to the efforts of board member Mike Chapman, new signage was designed, produced, and installed by club members along the Winsor corridor. 

 

In a similar vein, with the help of over 30 volunteers spanning a multitude of weekends, Brent Bonwell continued his mission of building and completing new bridges across Tesuque Creek. Read more about it here in the Santa Fe New Mexican

 

Our events committee, spearheaded by Liz Zeiler and Wayne Herrick, hosted a spring kickoff party at Glorieta Camps that saw over 300 riders participate, with food, music and shuttles. With the help of Kristin Pulatie of Atalaya Outfitters and board member Jan Bennett, the SFFTS hosted a Q&-A and bikepacking movie night at the Jean Cocteau cinema that sold out in days. 

 

Thanks to Blake Hendsch and Joshua Gonzales, our new website is live!

 

Though we received a substantial grant from the Outdoor Recreation Division fund, progress in the Arroyo Hondo trails area slowed as further paperwork, surveys, and community input for Phase II moved forward. Carl Gable continues to manage the project and is looking forward to much more happening in 2024. 

 

We sent our board member Helene Minot to Washington DC to meet face-to-face with our elected officials, and support Senator Lujan’s BOLT Act. Her visit provided us insight on areas of improvement and how we can better leverage our IMBA relationship. 

 

Thanks to Lauren Kahn, David Grafe, and our other ride leaders, our group rides gained momentum going into 2024; our women’s ride continued to gain new members, our kid’s ridership increased, and our coed group ride continued riding into evenings as winter set in…

 

As an organization, we wrote letters of support, to protect the Pecos Watershed, to the City of Santa Fe for certification as a Bicycle Friendly Community, for the Trust for the Public Land to acquire more land for public access near Rio en Medio, to the Santa Fe Fireshed Coalition, and to the Santa Fe Century to secure more funding. We also donated funds to the annual charity ride Cranksgiving.

 

Speaking of momentum, the club continues to grow as we near 400 annual members. Wow! Thank you! Financially, we’re in great shape with Carey Harper and Marissa Crawford reporting that in 2023, we spent $46,387 on projects, events and donations. SFFTS ended the year with over $53,000 in our general fund and over $105,000 in reserve for upcoming trail development.

New Board and President

We’re excited to announce our new board for 2024! First, we want to thank our outgoing board members Mike Chapman, Jan Bennett, and Jim Robillard. Mike has been on the board for years used his unique experience garnered from working in his shop and collaborating with other shop owners to provide leadership on trail projects. Jan led our adventure rides and helped to coordinate the bikepacking movie night. Jim our membership duties behind the scenes, answering inquiries, and scheduling emails to keep informed. Thank you.

 

Our new board members include Lauren Kahn, Bill Roth (welcome back!), Joe Breese, Aaron Gulley, and Kelly Heath. We’re looking forward to a slew of new ideas coming to the board. Over 30% of our membership voted and also re-elected Liz Zeiler and Helene Minot. Welcome back! At our first board meeting of 2024, the board has elected our new president, Alex Gibson, and vice president, Marissa Crawford. Both are incredibly talented, dedicated, and knowledgeable leaders that I have full confidence will lead the club exceptionally. The board also elected new media officers: Blake Hendsch and Lauren Kahn. Their continued engagement with you, our members, is their number one priority in the coming year. 

 

As President of the club starting this elective term midway during fits and starts of the 2020 pandemic, and having been on the board for nearly full decade already, it’s time for me to step back and let these new faces take the club to the next level. I want to personally say thank you to everyone within this mountain bike community here in Santa Fe; it’s been an honor to serve you and come along for the ride. 

 

It wasn’t that long ago we were imagining a much bigger trail system that could connect from Galisteo to Glorieta, from Arroyo Hondo to Rio en Medio and on to Nambe. Our elected officials, from New Mexico State Senators to the Santa Fe Mayor all highlighted trails and recreation as a cornerstone feature of our community. We saw more access, more connectivity, and more engagement to move the trail system forward. At the time, the first new trail at Glorieta Camps was being cut and the second round of trails were surveyed at Galisteo Basin Preserve. Some idling hands saw the opportunity off the backside of Atalaya and over Apache Canyon, making the connection between Arroyo Hondo and Apache Canyon to Atalya.

 

And here we are today with arguably the best urban-interface trail system in the country going from desert mesas to above tree line in the Sangre de Cristos. Thank you to the countless volunteers that have made this all possible.

Ahead in 2024

We’re not done! This coming year we need your help. Thanks to a significant donation by a SFFTS member, Rocket Ramps will be rehabbing and rebuilding two technical trails at La Tierra to help progress your skills. They’re toiling away this winter, molding and welding new jump and trail features. Look for a launch party later this spring!

 

If you would like to get involved, we need volunteers to help guide the future of Santa Fe mountain biking. We need committee chairs for our trails committee, events committee, rides committee, and others that thrive on passionate members looking to elevate our riding community. If you’re interested in getting more involved, please shoot us a message at media@sffts.org or reach out to any of our fantastic board members directly. 

 

We will need your voice heard when the Forest Service opens up for public comment on Phase II of the Arroyo Hondo trails. We will need even more people to show up when shovel meets the dirt to dig in and build those new trails. 

 

As for now, get those bikes tuned up, pour over maps and imagine your next big adventure, and stay in touch. We’ll see you on the trails in 2024. 

 

Kyle Klain
Outgoing SFFTS Club President

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