18 Hour Ride starts off summer season

By: Alex Hambrick Email
By: Alex Hambrick Email

Mountain biking brought around 40 million dollars to the Grand Valley last year, and while Fruita has been on the map as a biking destination for years, some feel there is still work to be done to build a stronger local base and attract more people to the area.

For many mountain biking is more than just a hobby it's a way of life, and Friday bikers spent the day gearing up for the 18 hour ride at High Line Lake.

"It really is the kick off point for this area for the summer because the weather is so nice it's not hot here yet people can still come in here from the front range where right now there is still half a foot of snow on the ground," said Stephen Kurtenbach, Fat Tire Festival Coordinator.

Kurtenbach said mountain biking hit the ground rolling about 20 years ago and transformed the town.

"You know Fruita was a bankrupt sleepy little town 15-20 years ago and now its a Mecca and people really seek it out to come because people like the quintessential nature of what Fruita is, it's a small town yet its got all these cool restaurants," said Kurtenbach.

Brand owner of over the edge sports said he started the festival and the ride in hopes of flagging riders down headed to Moab.

"I want this to be a great place to live which is what we know, and a great place to come and ride; we are on the destination map and there's no changing that now," said Troy Ririck, Over the Edge brand owner.

The ride started at midnight on Friday and lasted until 6 p.m. Saturday. Each lap is about seven miles and riders went it alone or in teams.

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