The 2011 Tour de Rez is dedicated to the memory of the amazing life of Redmond J. Etsitty. Redmond packed the heart of a giant into his 11-year old body. His determination on the trail set him apart but his humility and humor in dealing with every challenge that came his way made him one of a kind. Redmond was killed in an accident at his home in Chichiltah, New Mexico on June 5, 2008 while taking some days out of the saddle. (He rode 29 days of the Tour in 2007 and had hoped to top that in '08.) His legacy and impact will linger long in all who knew him.
This year's ride commenced from Redmond's home in Chichiltah on the day on which he would have graduated. The first week enjoyed groups of 20-25 riders daily, with a route that featured Breadsprings, Church Rock, "Superman" Canyon, Twin Lakes and the southern Chuskas. A traditional sheep butchering, service work at Narbona Pass and stunning riding highlighted the ride through the Chuskas to Red Valley. Then the riders trekked across Mexican Cry Mesa to Immanuel Mission, over the Carrizos and down to T'iis Nazbas on the newly-evolving Carrizo Mountain Trail. Then it was on to the Four Corners and southern Utah, including a dip in the San Juan River and a stellar campsite above the Goosenecks. The grind up from Mexican Hat and past Forest Gump's turn-around to Monument Valley and on to Narrow Canyon for the 4th of July ended the stage. From MV, we sand-surfed our way through Copper Canyon and past No Man's Mesa (well-named!), en route to Navajo Mountain. After a summit trek to the top of the rez, we did trailwork with the Navajo Rangers on the Rainbow Bridge Trail before saddling up again for the ride to Shonto. From Shonto, all that remained was a 5-day diagonal across the rez and over Black Mesa - Hopi rez, Rocky Ridge, Pinon, Cottonwood and Ganado - then over the Defiance Plateau for the finish in Window Rock on July 17.
Riders from many communities took part in the Tour, including: Mexican Springs, Shonto, Ganado, Twin Lakes, Hardrocks, Kayenta, Montezuma Creek, Aneth, Window Rock, Tohatchi, Cove, Gallup, Rocky Ridge, Breadsprings, Sanostee, Black Mesa, Wingate, Houck, Red Valley, Navajo Mountain, T'iis Nazbas, Lupton and Tuba City.
The Tour is a journey of discovery, where students learn as much about themselves as the amazing Navajo Nation that we journey through. Throughout the trip, we will present such topics as Navajo Nation history & geography, health & nutrition, basic first aid, the Dine' forest, the human body & fitness, basic bike maintenance and environmental education, offering students practical knowledge in these areas. Nature journals, talking circles, writing activities, star-gazing with a Navajo twist and group activities are all a part of the Tour experience.
NavajoYES provides participants with everything they need on the Tour de Rez, including good Kona and Trek mountain bikes, tents, sleeping bags & camping gear, food, learning activities and more. If you have interest, get in touch with us now so we can begin planning for next year's Tour.
You can contact our Executive Director, Tom Riggenbach, with any questions or for more information about the Tour de Rez or other NavajoYES programs. You can reach Tom at email@example.com or call us at(928) 429-0345. Hope to see you on the trail with us in 2012.