“Following the long running race course (skipping the 'technical' parts).”
— Cate SF
An eight-mile loop that has a nice combination of ups and downs that's ideal for cardio training. This loop has also been featured many times in previous years as a race course. Almost all of the trails are singletrack to boot!
Need to Know
If you pedal to La Tierra, you can take the Camino de los Montoyas Connector
under the highway to start and end your ride just to the south of the La Cuchara Trailhead.
Some of the downhills are more technical than others, but there's no need to walk your bike on the looser rocks. The first half is more intense in terms of uphills, with the three distinct slopes from intersection #7 to #11. You'll gain speed in the downhill from #12 to #13, but this bit is followed by a sharp, sandy and steep left turn towards #14. From then on, it's all a smoother continuous uphill, with some nice downhills here and there.
It's not very panoramic compared to other trails (like the ones in Galisteo Basin for instance), but it's still great exercise on a fun lap.
In terms of navigating it, La Tierra isn't too confusing, there are numbered signs at each intersection and many maps on the main ones, so there is no need to get a paper map. The first time you ride it, you should go a bit slower to check where to turn with the signs, but the second time it will be much faster.
History & Background
This loop has been the frequent course for an annual race
that started in 2006.