It’s mountain biking, and it’s a party |

It’s mountain biking, and it’s a party

Sharon Sullivan
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyThe fun at last year's Fruita Fat Tire Festival is likely to be repeated when the annual mountain biking festival returns April 26-29.

FRUITA, Colo. ” There’s a mountain biking party in Fruita this month and everyone’s invited.

Expect in-town and backcountry rides on April 26-29, plus live music when the sun goes down. Check the town’s bulletin board to find out about different levels and lengths of rides going on, and join other riders for any or all four days of riding.

“We always have people from many places far and wide,” said Troy Rarick, owner of Over the Edge Sports in Fruita, and founder of the Fruita Fat Tire Festival. “It’s largely just a big party centered around mountain bike riding.”

Riders from a British television adventure show, as well as a rider from Austria, are among those signed up to participate in this year’s event, drawn to the small, western Colorado town that has earned a reputation as a mountain biking Mecca.

Registration is not required to come take part in the festivities, but the $25 registration fee will get you socks, an invitation to the VIP party Thursday, a gift bag from Over the Edge Sports, free beer and eligibility to win prizes.

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“Lots of prizes will be given away ” $10,000 to $20,000 worth of stuff,” Rarick said. “Numerous bicycles, bike parts, stuff thrown to the crowd ” it’s fun.”

Many of the activities for the 12th annual mountain biking festival will take place on the Fruita Civic Center lawn, where live music will entertain the crowds Friday and Saturday nights.

“Anytime people aren’t riding, there is plenty of activity going on,” Rarick said. Several different bike companies will be on hand to show off their products outside the civic center starting at 10 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Saturday’s hijinks includes the 2 p.m. “clunker criterium” ” a race around the civic center on old or custom bikes, with riders dressed in costume. Also on Saturday, attendees can get breakfast on the civic center lawn starting at 8 a.m. U.S. Bank is hosting the breakfast, and accepting donations to benefit the Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association.

The all-women rock band Riveter will perform on the lawn Friday night, and Charles King takes the stage Saturday night.

Oddly, more out-of-towners than locals seem to know about Fruita’s Fat Tire Festival, Rarick said.

“It’s a party. I encourage the locals to come out. Enjoy camaraderie in your sport with people from all over the world,” he said.

For those who don’t get their fill of mountain biking the following weekend, there will be an 18-hour endurance ride the following weekend, May 4-5, starting at midnight at Highline Lake State Park.

Sharon Sullivan writes for the Grand Junction Free Press.

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