Words by Matt Mason, Photos by Bailey Hednderson, Brian Keen, Matt Mason, and Jacob Kruse
The DangerBird is a community event open to all forms of human-powered travel. The only rules are be nice, be safe, and have fun. Instead of focusing on being self-supported, our goal is to create a welcoming and supportive atmosphere so people can create the journey that suits their needs. With that understanding, 18 cyclists and one trail runner set out from Mesilla Plaza this year.
Following a five-mile neutral start, those who planned on racing (mainly Ben Trocki & Dave Diaz) dropped the hammer. The rest of the riders settled in and Team Shortcut (a loosely organized bunch of cool kids set on maximizing fun) began discussing the best alternative routes to reach the burritos in Vinton, Texas, more quickly.
At the end of the 29-mile long Sierra Vista Trail the nerves were gone and Ben Trocki had established a 30-minute gap on the chase group. From there, Team Shortcut reunited with the main field east of Kilbourne Hole and were treated to an impromptu aid station hosted by Dan Carter of the Southern New Mexico Trail Alliance and Susan Singley from the Doña Ana SheWolves. Rejuvenated and well hydrated, the group set off into Cone Country, where the official aid station awaited.
Below the slopes of the West Potrillo Mountains, the well-stocked aid station had been erected, but only after Ben Trocki had already ridden past. It doesn’t always pay to be fast! Everyone else was treated to tacos, a warm fire, and hot cider after 90 miles of riding. Team Shortcut gave it no thought and quickly set up camp. Dave Diaz also gave in to the siren song of warm food and cheerful company. The MacDonalds, Hayley (SS) and Gordon, along with brothers Matt and Chad Mason, and Steven Haynes continued on into the night.
Morning of day two saw Ben Trocki extend his lead over the group of five bumbling along in second place. Team Shortcut wisely chose to climb Mt. Riley and continued focusing on maintaining an athleisurely pace. At the close of the Red Chile (southern) Loop, only five riders and Pete Livingstone, the runner, remained on route. More importantly, though, a handful of riders had completed the longest rides of their lives on the Red Chile Loop. We’re especially proud of Bailey Henderson and Ben Tester (SS). On the Green Chile (northern) Loop, Ben Trocki continued alone and used his experience on the route to set an unsupported FKT at 53 hours and 35 minutes, while the trio of Hayley, Matt, and Chad battled the increasingly strong winds before finishing in 83 hours.
Altogether, riders and runners logged more than 2,000 miles through Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and Prehistoric Trackways National Monuments, and did so without leaving a trace. For us, it’s all about getting people out on the land in a sustainable way. By that measure, this year was a huge success.
Special thanks to artist Collette Marie and Bike New Mexico for helping us provide some lovely bandannas to all participants. They’re rad and everyone loved them. We’d also like to thank Uncle Fishstick for keeping the mood light and our appetites strong.
See y’all in 2020!
Congrats to all of the participants of this year’s DangerBird 350. Make sure to check out last year’s recap, which includes Ella Raff’s reflection on running the event. You can learn more about the route the event follows by checking out the Monumental Loop route page. Next year’s event is already scheduled for October 24th. Check out the event listing for more details.
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