Go Slow, Go Fast, Just Go

10/19/2022

Aztec Adventures, a start-up by Neil Hannum and Will Farmer, wants to help fill the gap with tourism cycling in San Juan County. With all the cycling trails in and around Aztec and Farmington, Hannum and Farmer hope to bring attention to some of the great and unique trails in San Juan County while promoting education and cultural awareness of the area. This story is sponsored by SunRay Park and Casino and Service Master Restore

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The Southwest is known for many outdoor activities, from skiing to hiking to river rafting to biking, while Durango boasts the Iron Horse Cycling Classic every year and has produced multiple bikers who have gone on to world championships and the Olympics, making the town a popular biking spot. The founders of Aztec Adventures are hoping to create a similar environment in San Juan County, New Mexico. From local tours in the Farmington area to longer rides, Neil Hannum and Will Farmer aim to put San Juan County on the map for cyclists. You're watching the Local News Network brought to you by SunRay Park & Casino and ServiceMaster Restore. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.

Aztec Adventures as a tour guiding service and event promoting company focused out of San Juan County. We produced four events so far, and although we want to do tourism also, it just quite hasn't hit yet in the San Juan County. So we hope to be on the front end of that. And when it does hit, hopefully, we'll be ready for it.

Aztec Adventures offers a variety of cycling events, everything from road to gravel to more trail riding in and around San Juan County, New Mexico and the Four Corners area. Tours are led by locals who grew up in and around Farmington and Aztec. And as the trails in San Juan County grow and expand, Farmer and Hannum are looking forward to incorporating more than just riding a bicycle through some unique scenery.

We're trying to add the cultural aspect to some of the tours that we can offer, and so some of the relationships that Will has with some of the Navajo families that he's connected with, we're hoping to reach out that way as well.

We're seeing these new types of riding emerge and, yeah, we threw two gravels and enduro. And then noncompetitive event, just a bicycle tour. So our goal is just to provide a bunch of different bicycle experiences and show people the fun you can have on bikes.

Last year, Aztec Adventures launched their inaugural Durango to Farmington Cycling Tour, beginning in Durango and traveling over road and gravel trails into New Mexico and then on down to Farmington. This year, the tour is back with a couple of changes.

For the past 30 years, I've kind of combined with friends a bicycle ride from Durango to Farmington. And so we would kind of set it up either the night before, put a vehicle down there and then take off the next day and spend all day kind of going through the desert landscape of San Juan County a lot. And so we decided let's join forces here, Will's from Farmington. And he knows a lot of those areas. Why don't we team up together and put this on as an actual event, get the insurance, get the permitting process, and all that stuff. And so that's what we did last year. And then coming now, it's our second annual official permitted, but it does have a long history.

And we have some exciting updates. We have a new route. So last year was like half pavement, half the route was, eh, you know, the highway part. And this year we figured out a new route. So it's 12 miles of pavement and then the rest is dirt. So we feel like from our point of view, it's a lot safer, a lot better experience. And I think from the participants' point of view, it'll be a much better experience.

In addition to the tour from Durango to Farmington, there will be two additional options. One that will be just on the dirt portion of the tour, 27 miles long, and one that starts about 13 miles from the finish line. That way, families and friends can all still cross the finish line together, even if they decide to do different tours. With participants as young as eight years old and some in their 70s, the tour is designed for all ages to participate.

Go slow, go fast, just go. And that is our tagline or our motto. So I think people kind of get caught up in the race element or, like, their ego on the bike of, like, "Oh, I have to be fast," or "I have to be this image." And I think, you know, it doesn't matter how fast you ride, how you like to ride, what you ride. I think it's just important about being outside, getting some exercise and connecting with other people.

The second annual Durango to Farmington Tour is October 22nd. For more information about Aztec Adventures and the tour, visit aztec-adventures.com. Thanks for watching this edition of the Local News Network. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.

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