2021 marks the inaugural Rad Dirt Fest produced by Life Time Fitness, owners of the Leadville Race Series and Unbound Gravel (formerly Dirty Kanza). The event spans the weekend of October 2-3 and comprises a Gravel race with three distances on Saturday and Trail race with two distances on Sunday. The gravel routes, all held on fast and clean gravel, span 165, 90 38 miles with elevation gains of 10,800 ft, 5,000 ft, and 2,700 ft respectively. The routes each offer breathtaking terrain and scenery in this southern Colorado region bordering the San Isabel National Forest and Spanish Peaks Wilderness Area.
The event takes place in and around Trinidad Colorado, a small city that sits at 6,000 feet elevation in the Purgatoire River valley of Southern Colorado, close to the New Mexico border. Trinidad is a classic old west town with a strong mountain vibe and vibrant outdoor culture including 1,500 miles of gravel roads spidering in every direction!
Life Time’s inspiration for Rad Dirt Fest starts with their passion for creating events that enrich the lives of participants and the community event hosts. They believe the future of cycling and running is on direct, where it is safer for the athletes and easier on the body. In Trinidad they found a community well equipped to host a large scale event and a desire to develop the town and surrounding area as the next big outdoor recreation locations. In recent years the town has made sizable investments to develop its recreation infrastructure. In 2019, the city of Trinidad, in partnership with the The Nature Conservancy, The Trust for Public Land, Great Outdoors Colorado, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife, purchased 19,200 acres of private land to become Colorado’s newest and second largest state park, Fishers Peak. Now managed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, plans are underway to build a network of trails for bikers, hikers, and equestrians.
The inaugural running of the Rad Dirt fest coincides with the Trinidad’s celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Sante 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.