RIDGWAY – The Bureau of Land Management has given its OK. New mountain bike trails are coming to Ridgway. And the 3rd annual RAT Festival (Ridgway Area Trails Group) is gearing up for the weekend of June 7 and 8, just in time to kick off the summer trail-building season.
Head RAT Fink Brian Scranton announced last week: “New logo, new trails, new energy!”
The new logo features a curling rat tail that becomes a knobby bike tire.
The new trails, after years of planning in concert with the BLM, will be sculpted out of the publically owned piñon-juniper hillsides north of town and east of the Ridgway Reservoir.
The new energy is, well, not really new. In its short existence, RAT has generated a lot of enthusiasm for trail building and maintenance, for skills development at all ages and levels, for promoting Ridgway as a biking destination, for community building and for . . . drinking beer.
This year’s fest will begin Friday night with an evening of short films, and beer drinking, at the Sherbino Theater, 7 p.m. New Belgium Brewing Company is bringing its “Clips Beer and Film Tour” to Ridgway for the fundraiser. All proceeds go directly to the trail-building effort.
Then on Saturday, a morning of trail work will be followed by the festival proper in Hartwell Park. Trail building commences at 9 a.m. Group rides follow at noon. From 1:30-3 p.m. there will be skills clinics led by pros Sara Ballantyne and Laurie Brandt. Ballantyne is a former world cross-country champion, and Brandt is a four-time winner of the Leadville Trail 100.
Music in the park will feature local jam band Joint Point inaugurating the new Town Park stage.
Silent and live auctions will offer gear and services from Mountain Hardwear, Zeal Optics, San Juan Huts, Ridgway Outdoor Experience, and a cruiser bike donated by Boot Doctors/Paragon.
Food is being provided by the True Grit Café. Adult malted beverages provided by Colorado Boy and New Belgium.
RAT is a member of COPMOBA, the Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Association, a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to the development and maintenance of regional mountain bike trails on the Colorado Plateau.
For more information on RAT Fest, find them on Facebook or ridgwaytrails.com.