Team Santa Fe Brewing -- Pivot Cycles is a professional enduro mountain bike team, traveling to races all across the United States and the world. By the end of 2014, they will have raced in New Zealand, Chile, Peru, Canada, Italy and five US states. However, despite all their globe-trotting, the team has its roots in the Northern New Mexico mountain town of Taos. Whether they're smuggling green chile across international borders or cracking open a Santa Fe Brewing Happy Camper IPA after a long ride, their New Mexico pride is evident and they're always happy to share some beta on their favorite local trails.
Syd Schulz, age 23, Ohio Native -- Taos adoptee
Favorite Trail : Northside at Taos Ski Valley
"The climb up to Frazier peak is just so unbelievably epic-- it's true high alpine riding. It makes your lungs burn and your quads catch fire, but you won't even notice the pain because you'll be so stoked on the view, which is phenomenal. You can't help but feel like a badass, getting all the way up there on your own power. It's amazing, but what's even more amazing is the descent. It is an absolutely ripping fast descent -- high speed, loose, and slightly sketchy, everything mountain biking is supposed to be. And after your ride, you can stop in Arroyo Seco at the Taos Cow for some very well-deserved ice cream. Taos Cow has the best ice cream -- all sorts of wonky flavors like "lavender" and "pistachio white chocolate." To me, that's the perfect day. A long, backcountry ride and then ice cream. Seriously, what could be better?"
Macky Franklin, age 27, Taos Local
Favorite Trail : South Boundary
"South Boundary is the classic Taos ride. I grew up riding this trail; it's the place where I discovered my love of mountain biking. Back when I was racing pro cross-country, I would do intervals going up South Boundary -- and this was great because then I would turn around and rip the descent, so it definitely improved my technical skills. And I guess at some point I just realized how much more fun going down was, and this was what led me to start racing enduro. South Boundary has a little bit of everything -- it traverses at least three terrain types. You have the high alpine rocky bits, the tacky dirt through the aspen groves and then the dry, dusty, shaly technical sections at the end. It's a blast, and it's definitely real backcountry riding. This is where I learned about self-supported riding. I guess you could say I learned the hard way -- I think I've gotten more flats on South Boundary than probably anyone else! After riding South Boundary, you'll definitely be hungry, so I'd recommend getting a burrito at either the Guadalajara Grill or Toribio's. Whatever you get, get it smothered in green chile. That's the Taos way."
Sean Leader, age 25, Tennessee native, desert-newbie
Favorite trail : Angel Fire Bike Park
"Angel Fire has to be one of the most comprehensive mountain bike parks around. They have an incredible variety of terrain -- technical rocks to hand-crafted berms and jumps, ultra flow to ultra-gnar. I really do think it's one of the best parks in the US, if not the very best. There are just more trails than any of the Colorado mountains. And you can work on so many different styles of riding in one day. You can ride those flow lines that are SO well made and work on your cornering and jumping, or you can work on that slower, picky stuff, through these blown out rock gardens that are steep as hell. And then there are some great, more natural trails through the woods -- these less "built" trails are essential to enduro-training and are something that a lot of parks are missing. Yeah, Angel Fire has it all."
For more info on riding (and eating) in Taos, check out the complete RootsRated Taos guide.