Photos by John Watson
In a time when gravel racing is all the rage, it's so easy to focus on an event's beautifully rugged terrain, the gearing that will cover it best, and the bags that will carry the most snacks for the journey. Many of us have hot takes on tire choices and spend hours scouring the internet for course intel. But what if we put all that time and energy into learning the history of the land we ride, what makes it special, what's threatening it, and how we can positively impact it? That's exactly what Ruta del Jefe does. You learn, you ride, and you leave wanting every event to encompass the same priorities.
We were along for the ride this year and experienced the full weekend of education, adventure, fundraising, and community on Tohono O’odham, Yoeme, Opata and Chiricahua Apache lands in the Sky Islands region of the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. Here are our six key takeaways from the trip: