October 11, 2023 700 PM
MARFA — FM 2810 will surge with hundreds of cyclists this Saturday as the 13th annual Marfa100 bike race commences.
By happenstance, this year the 60-mile trek will sync up with a celestial occurrence — an annular solar eclipse, which will be visible in the Marfa area from 9:20 a.m. to 12:20 p.m., peaking at 10:45 a.m. during the race.
“We paid a lot of money to get that eclipse lined up with the powers that be,” said Marfa100 organizer Zeke Raney.
Fellow organizer Elizabeth Farrell brushed up on the specifics of the eclipse by taking a free class with the McDonald Observatory. Marfa100 riders will receive a pair of eclipse-viewing sunglasses and be encouraged to take a break from cycling in order to safely experience the event.
Registrants total 400 individuals this year, up from 330 last year. Farrell and Raney said after considering plentiful road space they decided to increase the capacity this year. The duo, which took over race operations in 2020, said they are continuing to find ways for the event to evolve outside of higher participation.
Last year, they added a more accessible, shorter 50K ride, and this year planned an after party for both race attendees and locals at Planet Marfa featuring Micah Francis as DJ Dr. Melt and Colette Haines on guitar. A 10 a.m. Sunday morning “slow ride” is also open to the public.
“It’s about Marfa too. We’re trying to bring in aspects of the community into how the event feels,” said Farrell. “We want people to also be in the community and spend money in the community.”
Raney said the purpose of the Marfa100 is about supporting riders and promoting the beauty of remote Route 2810 at this time of year.
“At this time with the wildflowers, and the temperature finally drops off, [it’s about] just having a nice, big road to ride on where you’ve got food waiting for you, you’ve got water, you can race it if you want,” said Raney.
Farrell added gearing the race towards casual cyclists, as opposed to the elite cycling community that tends to dominate competition spaces, sets the race apart as well.
The U.S.O. building will serve as race HQ this year, with Convenience West providing food, Snow Marfa shaved ice, and Mallory Jones massages to worn-out riders. The Marfa100 will benefit the Marfa Public Library this year. Last year it raised $4,000 for the local volunteer fire department.
In tandem with the Marfa100, the Marfa Public Library will host an event for local and visiting families from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday at the U.S.O. outdoor pavilion. Attendees will be invited to participate in activities including face painting, wheel decorating — bikes, scooters, skateboards are all welcome — chalking the finish line, and making license plates. Snacks and eclipse kits will also be provided.
“We’re thrilled to be working with Marfa 100. We love everything they’re doing,” said Library Director Nicki Ittner. “Hopefully we can make this bike-themed celebration an annual tradition!”