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CRESTED BUTTE, CO – Since local diehards started modifying their old “paper boy” clunkers to ride the area’s rugged mountain trails, Crested Butte has played an integral role in the development of mountain biking. The passion that these fat-tire enthusiasts held for their sport and the mountains spread steadily throughout the nation. Soon, a premier mountain biking festival evolved and Crested Butte was heralded as one of the finest places on earth for cycling.
The festival’s roots, like most things in Crested Butte, are colorful — it started as a vendetta. Back in the 70’s, a group of Aspen high rollers rode their motorcycles over Pearl Pass to Crested Butte and parked them in front of the Grubstake Saloon, one of two taverns in town. They lined the curb of Crested Butte’s only paved street for half a block.To a small group of rowdy locals–a bicycle counter-assault seemed the only reasonable thing to do. So early one September morning, fifteen hardy souls took off on their one-speed clunkers over 12,700-foot Pearl Pass into Aspen. It took two days. When they got to Aspen, they parked their bicycles in front of the Hotel Jerome, had a raucous party and shuttled back. That was 1976. By the early 80s, the tour evolved into a week of activities and Fat Tire Bike Week was born. The Pearl Pass Tour, as it is now called, still takes place every September 8.
ANNUAL WILDFLOWER RUSH RACE
This summer Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) will kick off its bike season with the 8th Annual Wildflower Rush Cross Country, Downhill and Super-D races. CBMR will provide a marquee venue for the third stop in the 2008 NORBA Mountain States Cup regional series.
On Saturday, June 21, the race features a traditional 10-mile cross-country course on the Butte’s web of winding single track, climbing 1,800 feet per lap. On Sunday June 22, the Wildflower Rush will welcome back the Crested Butte Downhill and feature the Wildflower Super-D. The exciting downhill course will include steep single-track, fast roads, open ski runs and “techy” wooded sections, while the Super-D will use a variety of challenging terrain with a Lemans style start and finish through the Cross Country start.
For the sixth year, Shimano presents a Free Kids Race for those 12 and under at the cross-country start/finish area on Saturday, June 21 at 12p. Classes will be determined based on the number of participants. All kids will receive a medal and a t-shirt. Kids must be accompanied by a parent and can register upstairs at Butte 66 prior to the race. All participants must wear helmets. From 800 to 1,000 riders are expected to compete in this race.
To register online, visit ridecb.com/wfr . The online registration cut off is midnight, June 17. Mailed registrations also must be received by June 17. After June 17 cyclists must register at the event.On-site event registration for Wildflower Rush Race will take place at Butte 66, located at the base of the ski area starting Friday, June 20 from 9a to 8p and from 6 to 7a on Saturday June 21 for the Cross Country race. Registration for the Downhill and Super-D will take place on Friday and Saturday, from 10:30a until 3:00p. Entry fee includes racing, a post-race bar-b-que/awards party for the Cross-Country race, a pasta feed/awards party for the Downhill and Super-D racers, cold refreshments and a prize raffle. Discounted lift tickets are available at registration. Discounted lodging packages are available through Crested Butte Vacations at 800-544-8448. For more information about the race visit our website at ridecb.com/wfr .
The Wildflower Rush Race is a NORBA-sanctioned event and the forth in the 2008 NORBA Mountain States Cup regional series. Sponsors for the Mountain States Cup regional series and the Wildflower Rush Race include: Coca-Cola, Shimano, MSC, Yeti Cycles, Dale’s Pale Ale, Toyota FJ Cruiser, Santa Cruz, Powerade, CBMR Properties, Crested Butte Mountain Resort and GORE-TEX outerwear, Guaranteed to Keep You Dry, RIDE.
Two thousand bicyclists are expected to pedal through the Colorado Mountains in this year’s Denver Post Ride the Rockies presented by Wells Fargo. The route for the 23rd annual bike tour, which will cover 435 miles over seven days in June, begins in Durango and finishes in Breckenridge. “This year’s event features breathtaking views of southwestern Colorado and offers cyclists a well-deserved rest day in Crested Butte, a town we are visiting for only the second time,” said tour director Chandler Smith. The 2008 bike tour runs from June 15 to 21.
FAT TIRE BIKE WEEK
The 28th Annual Fat Tire Bike Week (FTBW), the traditional kick-off to summer, begins Wednesday morning June 18 through Sunday, June 22, 2008. For five days, local riders lead varied-level tours three times a day. Beginners might follow a mellow mining road while endorphin junkies power up technical single track to distant mountain passes. Local bike shops teach maintenance clinics, varying from basic tire changing to the fine art of frame building. A FTBW favorite is the Chainless Race, where competitors (often in costume) coast their chain-deprived bikes several miles down Kebler Pass road into downtown Crested Butte.
The Bridges of the Butte Tour, a 24-hour, townie bike ride for individuals and teams, benefits the Adaptive Sports Center. In traditional Crested Butte style, costumes bring out individual personalities for both events. Spectator favorites include the Mountain Bike Rodeo, complete with a log pull and mountain bike limbo; a trials competition in which riders maneuver their bikes over obstacles such as old cars. Other activities include bike movie nights, pig roast, guided tours and evening activities. For information about FTBW visit ftbw.com or phone (800) 545-4505 or (970) 349-6438.