Fruita Your Labors

The 14th annual Fruita Fat Tire Festival kicks off mountain-bike season.

Troy Rarick was on his way to Moab to manage the Poison Spider bike shop when he passed through the town of Fruita, just outside Grand Junction. There he saw a 100-year-old building for sale that had been a honey house, and a furniture store/mortuary before that. “And being the guy that he is, he decided he was going to buy this run-down building in this podunk little town and try to start a mountain-bike shop,” says Timoni Slusher.

That was fourteen years ago. Today Slusher is the manager of Rarick’s shop, Over the Edge Sports, which is about to host its 14th Annual Fruita Fat Tire Festival.

Although the festival began as a way for Rarick to promote the tiny town, it’s now “a monster,” according to Slusher, and the official start to the mountain-bike season. Vendors line the street, and there’s a ride board posted so that anybody can organize a ride. Afternoons and evenings are highlighted by live music, food and a New Belgium beer garden.

“You see the latest and greatest from the bike industry, then go out for awesome single-track riding and come back and drink beer and listen to music,” Slusher says. “A lot of trails are built off of old logging roads or jeep roads or mining roads, but ours were built for mountain biking.” The festival, which begins April 23 with a VIP party, continues through April 26. For details, go to www.fruitamountainbike.com or call 1-970-858-7220.
April 23-26, 2009

 
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