POSTED: Thursday, September 19, 2013 - 8:24pm
UPDATED: Thursday, September 19, 2013 - 8:35pm
The 32nd annual Chile Pepper Challenge, El Paso area’s biggest cycling event, offers rides of 10, 22, 40, 62 and 100 miles, all beginning and ending at La Viña Winery in La Union, N.M. It will be held on Sunday, September 29.
This is the second year the challenge has been based at the winery, 4201 S. Hwy 28, La Union, N.M., which also will be the site of a post-ride Chile Pepper Fiesta from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday with live music, wine by La Viña and food and beverage concessions. Admission to the fiesta is free.
A record 930 riders participated in last year’s Chile Pepper Challenge. The annual event has raised thousands of dollars for local charities. This year’s participating charities are the Lee & Beulah Moor Children’s Home, Animal Rescue League of El Paso, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of El Paso and Roadrunner Food Bank of New Mexico.
All rides incorporate the region’s favorite cycling route, Highway 28, which runs through chili and cotton fields, pecan orchards and historic Mesilla Valley communities.
The rides begin with the 100-mile event at 7:30 a.m., which will go south to Santa Teresa, return north then climb over and back Anthony Gap before heading to Mesilla and ending at La Viña. The 62-mile event begins at 9 a.m., going north to Mesilla and back. The 40-mile ride begins at 9:30 a.m. and goes to Mesquite and back. The 22-mile ride begins at 10:30 a.m. and goes through Anthony and Berino. The 10-mile fun ride begins at 10:45 a.m. and goes to Canutillo and back. All route maps and other details are posted at www.chilepepperchallenge.com. 
The challenge is a fully supported ride, with support vehicles and rest stops, snacks and relief stations along the route. Entry fee includes a post-ride burrito and refreshments, plus a variety of door prizes.
The event is sponsored by El Paso Bicycle Club. The club is a volunteer-run recreational group that offers weekly rides and an annual rider development program.
Children 17 and under, ride free with paying adult. To register or to learn more, visit active.com or www.chilepepperchallenge.com . or call 494-1682.