Contributed Photo: Women racers will have equal payouts with men racers at the fifth annual Javelina Chase road race in Greenlee County.
DUNCAN – The Javelina Chase enters its fifth year the weekend of April 13-15 with a distinct edge over other cycling events: No longer will the winning women have to accept smaller cash rewards than their male counterparts.
Javelina Chase board chairman Douglas Barlow said he only wished that “The Chase” had embraced equal payouts sooner.
“Once the idea was brought to us — by one of our women riders — it caught fire. Our board approved it unanimously. We think we are one of only two events in the region that have crossed this threshold so far. We’d like to inspire others. And we hope women riders, in particular, will take note and come to our event,” Barlow said.
There is another new facet to this year’s Javelina Chase: the “criterium” on Sunday morning, April 15, will be hosted by the city of Lordsburg, N.M., 35 miles from Duncan. Lordsburg has actively supported past Javelina Chases with cash contributions and hotel discounts. The Lordsburg Hidalgo Chamber of Commerce is spearheading this expansion of The Chase into their streets.
The Javelina Chase continues its signature offering of multiple events, including Saturday road races, “Gran Fondo” fun rides, three different mountain-bike race courses on historic mining and ranching roads, a free bike rodeo for children 3 to 13, a 5K walk/run for all ages, and afternoon time trials in and around Duncan. The Sunday morning criterium in Lordsburg will be followed by an awards ceremony.
As in 2017, the Arizona State Championship Races in the Masters and Juniors categories will be part of the Saturday road races. This means that many of Arizona’s most elite cyclists will take off from the starting line with category 1- 5 racers and other entrants.
This year, riders in the Javelina Chase can also enjoy the annual “Spring Rampage” at the Greenlee County Fairgrounds. The Rampage is a classic Western festival with a junior rodeo, chili cook-off, costumes, booths, and two Western dances under the stars.
On Saturday, April 14, all the racers start from the Greenlee County Fairgrounds following safety meetings and the national anthem. Ghost Mine Rumble mountain bike racers, depart at 7:45 a.m. Road racers (including the Masters and Juniors), with courses of 75, 50 and 25 miles, start departing at 8 a.m., followed by the Gran Fondo fun riders at 8:30 a.m. with 60-, 40- and 20-mile courses.
The 5K runners and walkers will depart at 8:30 a.m. The bike rodeo, a free activity for children 3 to 13, begins at 9:30 a.m.
Awards for the Saturday races will take place at the fairgrounds, beginning at 11 a.m. Time trials, on nearby Virden Road, will start at 4:30 p.m.
The children’s bike rodeo, organized by the Duncan PTA, offers a safe, fun course on the fairgrounds for young riders, along with free bike repairs and helmet giveaways. Loaner bikes will be available.
On Sunday morning, April 15, the criterium brings competitive riders onto a closed course on the south side of Lordsburg. Spectators are encouraged to come to Dugan-Tarango Middle School to cheer for the riders as they pass. The first round of the criterium begins at 8:30 a.m. New Mexico time, which is one hour later than Arizona time. At 3:30 p.m. there will be an awards ceremony at Dugan-Tarango Middle School.
The all-volunteer committee overseeing the Javelina Chase is seeking more volunteers to assist with road preparation, parking, water hand-outs, and “spotting” at the criterium. To sign up e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sponsors from Duncan and the neighboring cities of Safford and Morenci, and Lordsburg and Silver City, N.M., have given generously to help make the Javelina Chase Omnium a success.
Each year, the Javelina Chase organizers approach property owners along the routes about dogs. If loose dogs chase bicycles traveling at high speeds, there can be devastating consequences, especially with groups of cyclists. The organizers ask for Duncan and Virden area property owners’ cooperation in keeping all dogs contained April 14 from at least from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., to ensure the safety of riders, spectators, and pets. The organizers of the criterium ask the same for residents of Lordsburg on Sunday, April 15, from7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
The area where the Saturday races and rides take place is one of the least populated and least known parts of the Southwest. Its bucolic appeal is drawing more visitors in recent years, thanks to articles in Arizona Highways, Sunset Magazine, and other journals, along with the growing notoriety of the Javelina Chase. For more information on Duncan see The Simpson Hotel website www.simpsonhotel.com/about-the-region-duncan.php. For information on Lordsburg see the Lordsburg Hidalgo County Chamber of Commerce websitehttp://lordsburghidalgocounty.net/index.html.