PUEBLO, N.M. - Beneath blue skies in the rolling hills and mesas
of Acoma and Laguna pueblos, with the backdrop of the snow-capped
sacred Mount Taylor, more than 350 bicyclists spun along the 25-mile
and 50-mile routes on the Third Annual Tour de Acoma.
"It is wonderful.
The scenery is beautiful and everyone is so friendly. We want to
do it again," said Roland Curtis, who brought his 13-year-old
nephew Spencer Garcia.
it is perfect. Theres one big hill, but you can walk that
Garcia, just finishing
up his second year on the bike race, encouraged other Indian youths
to come out next year. "It was fun going down the hills."
Valerie and Floyd
Tortalita of Acoma Pueblo rested on the tailgate of their pickup
truck after the race.
"This is my
first time, she convinced me to come out with her," Floyd said
of his wife Valerie, a police dispatcher for Acoma Pueblo.
all my life and just flying by in the car, I had never taken the
time to just look at the rocks and trees," said Floyd, who
works as a development specialist at the Pueblo of Acoma Housing
competed as a runner in another competition, climbing 6,000 feet
up Mount Taylor near Grants, running five miles up the mountain
and five miles down.
At the Tour de Acoma,
Valerie said, "Its an easy ride. Its really nice
weather and we did it for fun." Floyd added, "I was just
trying to finish."
Brian Vallo, manager
of the Sky City Cultural Center and coordinator of the Tour de Acoma
presented traditional Acoma pottery to winners after they crossed
the finish line.
Vallo said the proceeds
would go to the new Sky City Cultural Center, now under construction,
and to the Acoma Pueblo Boys and Girls Club, which has been operating
for six years.
Navajo from Window Rock, Ariz., said it was a good race. After finishing
up his first year at the bike race, he joined other cyclists enjoying
apples, bananas and bottled water.
Rock music played
beneath an outdoor tent and runners received complimentary therapeutic
"We need more
Indians riding!" Gleason said.
The Third Annual
Tour de Acoma attracted a record number of cyclists this year.
350 men and women of all ages sported spandex and helmets as they
took to the pavement in true bicycling fashion," said Augusta
Meyers, public relations officer for the Pueblo.
tour took riders on the 25-mile and 50-mile races right through
some of the most breathtaking and normally restricted tribal lands
on the Acoma and Laguna Pueblo reservations.
course featured opportunities for high speed racing as well as defying
uphill endurance tests."
Meyers said it was
a real tribal approach, very community oriented with support from
"On the race
course, many of the younger children manned the water stops along
the way. There were also other people from the village who helped
out, young and old."
Vallo said, "We
were really pleased with the way this years Tour de Acoma
turned out. "We had expanded the race from 300 riders last
year to 350 this year, and I think when it was all said and done,
we ended up with 356 cyclists total. It was a tremendous success."
The winners of the
50-mile event in the womens race were Diane Rimple, 38, Albuquerque
in first place; Kathleen Colleran, 41, Albuquerque in second place
and Wendy Wiggins, 35, Albuquerque in third place.
In the mens
50-mile race the winners were Karl Babinski, 38, Albuquerque capturing
first place; Frank Pabian, 55, Los Alamos in second place and Keith
King, 35, Albuquerque in third place.
In the 25-mile event,
the winners in the womens event were Jennifer Collins, 39,
Albuquerque; Robyn Clark, 35, Tijeras and Caterina Vidoli, 30, Albuquerque.
In the mens
25-mile race, the winners were Nathan Romero, 15, Alamos; Graydon
Yatabe, 42, Chinle and Andy Ahr, 46, Albuquerque.
First, second, and
third place finishers in both the mens and womens categories
received authentic Acoma water jars for their efforts. Meyers said
all participants took home a tour T-shirt, race number, a Huwaka
Restaurant high-carb buffet coupon, and a tour pass to visit Acoma
Pueblo, the oldest continuously inhabited city in North America.