If dodging boulders and riding rough over bumpy terrain is not your cup of tea – yet you enjoy a good bike ride – the Skinny Tire Festival offers a fun weekend of road cycling from Saturday, March 10, through Tuesday, March 13.
Newly paved surfaces on the Colorado River Road and in Arches National Park, and Dead Horse Point State Park, will make the experience even more enjoyable, said event founder and director Mark Griffith.
Four spectacular routes have been planned, with aid stations and vehicle support along the way. Participants can ride all four days, or, they can sign up for just March 10 and March 11.
Day one takes riders through Dead Horse Point State Park, while on March 11, riders cruise along state Route 128 along the Colorado River. Monday’s route is in Arches National Park, then on Tuesday, riders follow the Colorado River along the River Portal, Potash Road.
With routes consisting of roughly 40 to 60 miles each day, the ride is not overly strenuous, Griffith said. And, because the rides are “in and out” there is always the option to turn around, although Griffith said he hopes people will take advantage of the support the event offers, and not miss anything they really want to experience. Participants can ask for a lift from a support vehicle if there’s a portion they’d rather skip.
“Ride the sections you want, then hail a support station for a ride,” if you don’t want to do the entire route, Griffith said.
The event is available to all levels of cyclists because of this capability to support people along the way, he said.
Mark and Denae Brodis plan to travel from their home in Castle Rock, Colorado, for the seventh consecutive year to attend the road cycling event. The couple always sign up for the entire event because they don’t want to miss the ride through Arches – Mark Brodis’ favorite due to the length, climbs involved, and the scenery, he said.
“To be able to ride at Arches this time of year, with less traffic,” is not to be missed if you can stay for Monday, Griffith said.
George Sears and his wife Nancy Plummer, also from Colorado, have attended the event for the past 12 years.
“For road cyclists, it’s an incredible opportunity,” Sears said. “The rides are the right length and difficulty for training for this time of year.”
Griffith founded the road cycling festival, in part, as a way to deal with his grief from losing his brother to cancer. The Skinny Tire Festival has raised between $5 to $6 million for cancer treatment and research since the event was founded in 2001.
A portion of the registration fees go to Moab Regional Hospital’s infusion services, where patients can be treated locally. Some out-of-town riders have used the event as a way to fundraise for their own nonprofits or causes back home, Griffith said.
Registration fees include a swag bag and lunch on March 10 through March 12. Plus, after the ride on March 10, there is a program at Aarchway Inn with live music, snacks and guest speakers.
Pedal on fresh-paved roads during Skinny Tire Festival
“For road cyclists, it’s an incredible opportunity … The rides are the right length and difficulty for training for this time of year.”
When: Saturday, March 10, through Tuesday, March 13
Where: Dead Horse Point State Park, Arches National Park and routes along the Colorado River
Cost: Fees vary depending on two or four days
Info: www.skinnytireevents.com/skinnytirefestival/ or 435-260-8889
For more information, go to: www.skinnytireevents.com/skinnytirefestival/, or call 435-260-8889.