Chuska Challenge will push riders to Roof Butte

Hannah Grover
Mountain bikers ride in the 2014 Chuska Challenge in the Chuska Mountains.

FARMINGTON — For more than 20 years, the Chuska Challenge has drawn bicyclists from the Four Corners to a remote mountain range along the Arizona-New Mexico border.

And that's what will happen again later this month when the race returns on Oct. 10 and 11.

This year, organizers expect 100 to 150 riders to participate in the race in the northern Chuska Mountains between Tsaile and Red Water in Arizona.

“There’s just some spectacular high country up there,” said Tom Riggenbach, the executive director of Navajo Youth Empowerment Services, which encourages native youth to live active lifestyles.

The race is a fundraiser for the NavajoYES program.

This year’s race will take riders to the top of the highest point in the Chuska Mountains, Roof Butte. The volcano-formed butte is nearly 9,800 feet above sea level and offers views of the Four Corners region from Mesa Verde National Park to Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park.

The challenge will take bicyclists through ponderosa forests, and, at the summit, riders will be rewarded with a nearly 360-degree panoramic view.

Mountain bikers ride in the 2014 Chuska Challenge in the Chuska Mountains.

Riggenbach points out that the race also offers “incredible view points” along the way.

Races on Oct. 10 and 11 vary in length from 10 miles to 50 miles.

“They’re progressively more difficult,” Riggenbach said.

Riders can also participate in a five-mile timed challenge to the summit. And bicyclists of all ages can participate in the event.

“It’s a real fall tradition for a lot of families and community members,” Riggenbach said.

Hannah Grover covers Aztec and Bloomfield, as well as general news, for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.


What: 2015 Chuska Challenge

When: Races start at 9 a.m. Oct. 10 and continue Oct. 11.

Where: Race starts four miles east of Buffalo Pass, between Red Valley and Lukachukai in Arizona.

Cost: $50 for adults and $20 for youth.

More info: For details and to sign up for the race, go to navajoYES.org or call 928-429-0345.