teamEMS and Zia Rides in the Wild West
teamEMS tells you what it's like to race with Zia Rides
Last month teamEMS riders Edwin (EMT-I) and Petey (Paramedic) made up a Duo team that took on the Zia Rides, 12 Hours in the Wild West. While a 12 hour race may sound intimidating to some, these two athletes took on the challenge with smiles and grit! With that said, read what Edwin has to say about the race and you'll see it's something you can't afford to miss! This event frequently sells out so mark your calendars for next year and #doitagaintomorrow.
By Edwin Fairfield, EMT-I
The 12 Hours of the Wild West is more than the sum of its parts. As operated, it’s a by-the- book 12 hour race, however, I’d say it’s all the little things that really make this event so enjoyable. To begin with, online registration was simple and straightforward, which is actually kind of big deal and one really nice aspect of all the Zia rides; if you’ve ever spent time trying to figure out the USA Cycling registration process, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Additionally, packet pickup, this year held at Sacred Grounds Coffee and Tea House, was not only a breeze, but the food was crazy good, and it was a nice departure from last year, which took place at a different restaurant down the street. After packet pickup, we found our way to the event venue where we were directed to the camping area and had no trouble finding a great spot to park our RV, complete with ideal trees for hammock set up (essential needs). The base village was simple, consisting of a few ez-up tents, a homemade podium, pretty sweet lighting effects, and a free keg hanging out in it’s own dedicated tent which was a particularly nice touch. Maybe my only gripe of the whole event was that the propane powered fire pit, though super cool, was in fact, super cool. It put out hardly any heat, which, on a night that saw lows in the mid 30’s, was noticed. Having said that, to be fair, the city of Ruidoso had pretty tight fire restrictions at the time of the event and a proper bonfire wasn’t an option.
[caption id="attachment_2627" align="alignright" width="300"] Sick photo of #teamEMS athlete Edwin courtesy of the experts at https://www.southmtnphoto.com/[/caption]
The course itself is set within the beautiful ponderosa forests in Ruidoso, NM, and is almost entirely single track with only a brief (seriously, only like 100ft) section of parking lot to navigate. The nice thing about knocking out most of the climbing in the first four miles is that the remaining ~7 were fast, flowy and fun. The downside is that you’re climbing for the first four miles, though it never really seems that terrible, even after a few laps, which highlights how well the trails are built. They’re the kind of trails that lend themselves to almost any skill level: both beginner friendly and noticeably more challenging as speeds increase with plenty of opportunities for both wheels to leave the ground. Of note, the rock garden at the top of the course seems to have tamed down quite a bit from last year; faster, but not as interesting. The day ended with mass applause as the last few racers crossed the line prior to the 7pm cutoff. I have only praise for this year’s 12 Hours of the Wild West. From registration to packet pickup, pre-race meeting to post race “refreshments” the event was well-organized, professional, interesting for beginners and pros alike, and offered a course that, over the last couple years, has become one of my favorite loops in NM. It was easy to tell that the organizers take pride in their event and no detail is too small to overlook.
Perhaps the best way to sum up the event is to paraphrase race director Seth’s final message during the pre-race meeting, “Just remember, for a lot of people here, this is their first race…Don’t be a jerk.” It underscored the supportive nature of the event and that it’s an environment where, as long as you’re there to have fun and ride bikes, you’re in the right place. Almost twenty years later, I still remember my first race and I still remember what it feels like to have no idea what’s going on. The folks at Zia rides do a great job to make sure that everyone feels welcome and that any answer to any question you might have is only one friendly race volunteer away.
Check out the teamEMS times and race results!
About teamEMS: The team is designed to achieve one goal; Support the physical and emotional well-being of professionals in the emergency response industry by promoting a healthy work-life balance. We aim to help get as many of our peers outside as possible. teamEMS is reserved solely for dedicated professionals in the emergency medical field who are also Mountain bikers, runners and cyclists. These athletes come from Ski Patrol, Search and Rescue, 911 Dispatchers, Fireman, EMT’s, Paramedics and ER staff. EMS Unlimited provides our team athletes with access to free race entries and discounted gear so they can “…do it again tomorrow.” For more information visit them at http://www.ems-unlimited.com/teamems or contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org