RAT Fest Coming Again to Build Bike Trails in Ridgway
by Watch Staff
Jun 03, 2012 | 1846 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
<b>LISTEN TO SENSEI</b> – Imagine getting a bike clinic from two-time world mountain bike champion Sara Ballantyne. These kids did, at last year’s RAT Fest in Ridgway. The second annual is coming up June 8-10, and Ballantyne will once again share her wisdom. (Courtesy photo)
LISTEN TO SENSEI – Imagine getting a bike clinic from two-time world mountain bike champion Sara Ballantyne. These kids did, at last year’s RAT Fest in Ridgway. The second annual is coming up June 8-10, and Ballantyne will once again share her wisdom. (Courtesy photo)
RIDGWAY – The Second Annual RAT Fest (not rats, really, but Ridgway Area Trails), rolls into Town Park next weekend, June 8-10.

From bike demos to trail building to group rides to a clinic taught by two-time World Mountain Bike Champion Sara Ballantyne to a full-on music-and-beer bash in the park, the weekend is sure to get your summer tuned up for riding.

On Saturday afternoon, from 4-8 p.m., Tony Rosario and The Hillbilly Healers will take the gazebo – side-by-side with local food vendors and beers from New Belgium Brewing, Colorado Boy and Ouray Brewery. There will also be silent and live auctions. All proceeds go to the Ridgway chapter of the Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association and will be used to build miles and miles of single track in Ridgway.

“It’s going to be really, really awesome,” said RAT impresario Brian Scranton. “The Weaver family has been so generous, giving 80 acres to the town, on which we built [at last year’s RAT fest] the ‘McCloud 9’ trail last year. This year during the festival, we’re going to build a new perimeter trail around the whole River Sage property. It’s going to be 100 percent single track. Totally gorgeous. Three hundred-sixty degree views of the mountains. It’ll add another two miles to the trail system. [Photographer and councilman] Rich Durnan’s out there right now flagging it.”

Trail building will take place Friday evening and Saturday morning of RAT Fest, with trail builders meeting at the Weaver Eagle. See the schedule below.

The RAT group is also very much involved with new trails on Bureau of Land Management and State Park lands north of Ridgway, Scranton said. Public comment on new bike trails, and a new proposed trail map, on BLM property east of Highway 550 is now in the hands of BLM staff in Montrose. “Public comment ended May 19,” Scranton said. “They’re reviewing it. It’s just a matter of time. They’re all about it. Maybe next year we can start building there.

“The State Park is the same way. They’re currently doing an Environmental Assessment. There will be miles and miles of trails there.”

“Last year was a success, and this year we hope will be even better,” commented COPMOBA’s Ridgway board member, Rodney Fitzhugh. “We’re committed to

creating great trails in Ridgway because we know how important they are and how much they can impact a local economy.”

World and national mountain biking champion, and Ridgway resident, Sara Ballantyne said, “Ridgway has such amazing terrain – I hear it time and time again from people who ride here for the first time. And although we’re small... and although every agency (local, state, federal) seems to have a hand in its development, we’re making it happen. It’s a huge effort and we need as much support as possible – not just from bikers but from the community!”

The live auction will have items from a number of great sponsors such as New Belgium, Strider Running Bikes, Loki Outerwear, and more.

For more information, check out the RAT Facebook page or visit ridgwaytrails.com.

The RAT Fest Schedule:

Friday, June 8:

5-7 p.m., Trail building. Meet at the Weaver Eagle.

7-9 p.m., Movie and Beer in the Park.

Saturday, June 9:

10 a.m.-4 p.m., Demos from Bootdoctors/Paragon Sports in Town Park.

10 a.m.-12 noon, Trail building. Meet at the Weaver Eagle.

1-3 p.m., Group Ride on the RAT.

1-3 p.m., Bike Clinic with Sara Ballantyne.

4-9 p.m., Music, Beer, Food, Auction, Bike Games in Town Park.

Sunday, June 10:

11 a.m.-2 p.m., Group Ride.

2-4 p.m., Beers at Ouray Brewery’s new tap room.

About the RAT. Ridgway Area Trails was conceived in 2004, when local residents approached the Ridgway State Park and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) with a proposal to develop a multi-use trail system on the adjoining parcels of land these agencies manage. Identifying this land, on the outskirts of the Town of Ridgway, as having ideal terrain, trail connectivity, and access, the process of obtaining permission for this project began. For more info, contact Brian Scranton 970/201-8570.

About COPMOBA. COPMOBA is a group of mountain bikers dedicated to the development and maintenance of regional mountain bike trails on the Colorado Plateau. Their main trails include Kokopelli's, Tabequache, and Paradox, and the group also works on all mountain bike trails in the area and is always working to get new trails built. For more information, please visit www.copmoba.org .

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