18 Hours of Fruita race kicks off Friday | PostIndependent.com

18 Hours of Fruita race kicks off Friday

Courtesy | Jeff Stoddart Photography
Jeff Stoddart |

Competitors, get ready for a long night of riding!

The ninth annual 18 Hours of Fruita mountain bike race will kick off tonight (Friday, May 3) from Highline Lake State Park at midnight, and the fastest group of mountain bikers with the most loops made takes the win.

Chip timing will be used, the event website said, and the all-night competition ends with a party featuring “New Belgium Brewing, a taco party and more.”

According to event organizer Mike Heaston, the race’s midnight start was an idea “hatched by Troy Rarick,” the founder of the popular Fruita Fat Tire Festival, which happened last week.

“He was traveling in Europe and saw a number of events that include bands and all-night parties,” he explained. “We tried that the first year, but discontinued (that) since the vast majority just wanted to race and sleep.”

As an extension of the Fruita Fat Tire Festival, Heaston added that the event’s venue originated through former Highline Lake State Park superintendant Chris Forman. And the park’s current superintendant, Alan Martinez, “enjoys the event so much, he named the loop that the race uses the ‘18 Hour Trail.’”

Highline Lake State Park also offers a grass campground and showers for its 18 Hours of Fruita competitors.

It’s “an oasis in the desert” and “a huge draw, as well the laid-back atmosphere,” Heaston said.

Currently, all spots for this race are filled and registration is closed, but spectators are welcome to hang with the competitors.

For more information, visit http://www.fruitamountainbike.com.

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