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Celebrated 30 Years in 2015

In 2015, the Santa Fe Century celebrated its 30th year (1985 - 2015)!
As part of the celebration, each rider was given a commemorative print.


Commemorative 2015 Santa Fe Century Print

Santa Fe Century Day

It is with great honor and pride that Sunday, May 17, 2015 was proclaimed Santa Fe Century Day by both Mayor Javier Gonzales of the City of Santa Fe and Governor Susana Martinez of the State of New Mexico.

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The First 30 Years

The Santa Fe Century was started in 1985 by the Sangre de Cristo Bicycle Club as a way to raise money for racer uniforms and entry fees. After a few years, Willard Chilcott took over the leadership of the Santa Fe Century, splitting off from the Sangre de Cristo Bicycle Club, and funds raised from the event went back into growing the ride.

The ride has always been held on the third Sunday in May because the weather is starting to warm up but is not yet too hot. It is one of the first century cycling events of the spring and attracts many riders from the North, such as Colorado, where the season has not yet started. Sunday was chosen with an aim to have the least amount of traffic on the route. In the early years, the ride started from the parking lot of what was then called Villa Linda Mall (now known as Santa Fe Place). The mall served as a great starting point with little traffic on Sundays as the stores were closed. In those days 50 - 70 riders participated and rode the 100 mile route.

At the beginning, cell service was unavailable on the route and communication with the food stops was difficult. The Century partnered with Richard St. John and the New Mexico Ham Operator Association. The Ham operators use the Century as a Ham exercise and add tremendous value for the Century. There is a Ham operator at every food stop to communicate with the venue and between food stops. Even now that cell service covers most of the route, the Ham operators continue to be a part of the Century and facilitate communication on the route.

Around the 2nd or 3rd year, the ride then moved to Capshaw Middle School because it offered parking as well as a kitchen and use of the facilities. As the ride grew to around 1,000 riders, it also outgrew the parking offered by Capshaw and began to spill over into the Albertson's parking lot which was already full of Sunday shoppers.

Brenda Whyman, who is part of the St. Vincent Hospital Foundation and an avid bicyclist, suggested that the ride move to hospital parking lot which is virtually empty on Sundays. So approximately 15 years from when the ride started, the partnership with CHRISTUS St. Vincent Hospital was begun. The Century pays a per rider fee to the hospital and collects additional optional donations from riders when they register. The St. Vincent Hospital Foundation continues to support and partner with the Century and helps to promote and provide services for the ride.

About 20 years into the ride, the 50 mile ride was added as an option. Initially the 50 mile ride required ATBs (all terrain bikes) because 6 miles of the route was not paved. About 5-6 years ago that final stretch of road on CR 42 between Highway 14 and Galisteo was paved; it is now a fabulous beautiful ride.

Santa Fe Century Committee became a non-profit formal non-profit organization around 2005.

In 2013 the Century almost was cancelled when Willard became ill. At that time Charles Loesch stepped in to ensure the ride would continue and has carried on as the Director for the Century since then. Charles was elected president by the board of Santa Fe Century Committee in 2014.

In 2013 the Gran Fondo was created by Michael McCalla in partnership with the Santa Fe Century. The Gran Fondo was initially run separately from the Century, but utilized the same route and food stops. In 2015 the Gran Fondo become fully incorporated into the Santa Fe Century. 2015 was also the first year to offer the Medio Fondo.

The Santa Fe Century is thankful for the 130 volunteers that have continuously supported the ride over many years. These long-standing volunteers return year after year and make the ride possible. The Century also partners with many local organizations to deliver the ride services, including the New Mexico Ham Association, the National Guard, local car dealerships, Albertsons, bicycle shops, massage therapists, and the Santa Fe Concert Band.

In 2012 the Century saw its highest number of riders - about 2,900. Riders typically come from New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Arizona and California. Each year a number of riders also come across the US and abroad.

The focus of the Century has always been to provide a low cost ride with beautiful scenery and as many services as possible, especially excellent food stops. It has not been an intention of the Century to be a fundraiser. That said, over the years the Century has donated funds and bicycles to local bike programs and organizations. The mission of the Santa Fe Century continues to be to promote cycling in New Mexico.