Life Time, the parent company of the Leadville Race Series and Unbound Gravel, is putting a new off-road event on the calendar in 2021. The ‘Rad Dirt Fest will be held in Trinidad, Colorado October 2-3 with a gravel race across three distances on Saturday, and two trail running races on Sunday.
Trinidad, a small city at 6,000 feet of elevation with more than 1,500 miles of gravel roads spidering in every direction, was a perfect match for Life Time’s goals in developing a new event, said Kimo Seymour, Life Time’s president of events.
“We’re passionate about creating events that enrich the lives of our participants, and enrich the communities where we host them,” he said. “We believe the future of cycling and running is on dirt, where it is safer for the athlete and easier on the body. The launch of The ‘Rad allows us to create an endurance festival experience, catering to both the trail runner and gravel cyclist.”
In recent years, Trinidad, a city of about 9,000 residents on the banks of the Purgatoire River in southeastern Colorado, has been doing serious legwork to develop its recreation infrastructure. Notably, in 2019, a massive joint venture between The Nature Conservancy, the City of Trinidad, The Trust for Public Land, Great Outdoors Colorado, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife, resulted in the purchase of 19,200 acres of private land to become Colorado’s newest and second largest state park, Fishers Peak. Now owned and managed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, there are plans underway to build a network of trails for bikers, hikers, and equestrians.
The city has also prioritized the creative arts and individual entrepreneurship, attracting new residents with its Space to Create affordable housing and workspace program.
Seymour said that the opportunity to put down roots in Trinidad while the city itself was growing presented another exciting opportunity.
“While searching for a new host site, we were looking for a community that was equipped for a large-scale trail running and gravel cycling event, but also had a cool vibe,” he said. “We found that in Trinidad, whose local officials have welcomed us with open arms and an invitation to join them on their journey toward becoming the next big outdoor recreation location in Colorado. The gravel and trail running community is rooted in successful partnerships, and we are excited and confident about the potential of growing alongside Trinidad.”
During race weekend, The ‘Rad will offer three distance options for cyclists, all held on fast, fun and clean gravel: a short 38-mile loop with 2,720 feet of elevation gain, a 90-mile course with 5,000 feet of climbing, and a 162-mile grind with 10,800 feet of elevation gain. In its inaugural year, the trail run will offer two scenic routes on the outskirts of Trinidad: a half marathon with 1,000 feet of elevation gain and a 50k route with 3,200 feet of climbing. As the town evolves and grows their trail network, the trail running courses will also evolve, allowing The ’Rad to grow alongside the town of Trinidad.
This year, The ‘Rad will coincide with the Trinidad’s celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Santa Fe Trail. From September 27 to October 3, the communities of Trinidad, Colorado and Raton, New Mexico will offer historic tours of the trail and the Santa Fe Trail Museum, period reenactments including the Buffalo Soldiers, as well as theatre productions, art exhibits, and more.
Trinidad’s director of economic development Wally Wallace said that adding a new event to a celebration of history jives perfectly with Trinidad’s vision of celebrating its past while embracing the new.
“Trinidad as a town has reinvented itself time and time again throughout history, showing our strength as a community,” Wallace said. “We have been a community of miners, of natural gas, of the arts and most recently, shifted to focus on outdoor recreation. Today we’re looking at festivals, races and other destination attractions to bring a new economic boom to this community, and we as a city believe that working with Life Time to create this unique race weekend during the Santa Fe Trail Bicentennial celebration is the perfect opportunity to do just that.”
Registration for The ’Rad will open at 9am MDT on April 13. To learn more or to register, visit www.theraddirt.com.