Fat Tire Bike Fest

Crested Butte dedicates a whole week each June to mountain biking. This year, it includes the chainless world championships.

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Crested Butte calls itself the birthplace of mountain biking and it’s not bragging because it’s true. The town, which has serious singletrack history, had dubbed third week of June Fat Tire Bike Week, and this year is the 30th anniversary. Scott Still, the event’s director, filled us in about the planet’s oldest mountain bike festival.

What goes on at Fat Tire Bike Week?
Fat Tire Bike Week is really important to the town of Crested Butte. It’s the oldest mountain bike festival out there and it was the only one for a long time. The big event is the Wildflower Rush, a series of bike races that are part of the Mountain States Cup. There will also be clinics with riders like Gene Hamilton and Alison Gannet and a gear expo and a bunch of events in town.

Anything new this year?
Last October we sat down with several local people, including Dave Wiens, who beat Lance Armstrong in the Leadville 100, and decided that we needed to evolve and bring in some new elements. This year we’re offering new aided rides, with shuttles and support, which should be really fun. We’ve made the gear expo huge this year, and we’re highlighting small, Colorado-based frame builders. We’re also putting on a photography clinic with local photographer Xavi Fane.

What do you think are the coolest parts of the weekend?
My favorite event is the Fat Tire 40, which is part of the Wildflower Rush. A lot of mountain bike races are circuits, which are spectator friendly. This is a big loop, which is more fun to ride. It’s old school; I think you’d be hard pressed to find a better course anywhere else. And, of course, there’s the chainless race.

Yeah, it’s the chainless world championship. It’s a classic Crested Butte event and you usually see some pretty crazy costumes. Racers start on top of Kebler pass and coast dowhill. It finishes downtown, on Elk avenue, and there is always some good carnage at the end.

What about people who aren’t hardcore mountain bikers, or crazy enough to head downhill without a chain?
Music is a big part of the event. This year we’ve got Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, which I’m really excited about. That’s Saturday night at the base of the mountain. There is also Bridges of the Butte, a 24-hour tour of the town on cruiser bike, which raises money for the Adaptive Sports Center.

Fat Tire Bike Week
Crested Butte, CO
June 22-27