Best 18 Hours of Racing in Colorado
Race report and images by Eddie Clark
(May 8, 2010) FRUITA, Colo.—Perfect weather and a dry course were a welcomed change from the previous years’ mud for the Over The Edge Sports 18 Hours of Fruita race. Race veterans welcomed the clear skies and pleasant weather as a departure from the previous 2 years of muddy racing at Highline Lake State Park.
Born from the Fruita Fat Tire Festival cross country race, race organizer Troy Rarick and company decided to create the 18 Hours of Fruita race to provide more of a fun time at the festival. For the sake of being different, Rarick decided on an 18 hour race since Fruita is also a quite different place. “It’s basically a 24 hour race without the easy part”, says Rarick.
Starting at midnite, racers had a 200 yard sprint to their bikes before getting down to business on tight singletrack. The course was in gently rolling terrain, roughly six miles in length, and circumnavigated Highline Lake. With the lake just below the singletrack in many sections, racers had a big cold wet reason to keep it on the trail.
Racing history and logistics aside, the mostly all singletrack course at Highline State Park is just plain fun. This year, an extra mile of singletrack was added, and it turned out to be quite hard too. Two person coed winner Derek Strong commented, “The new singletrack was mentally and physically very demanding, it was bumpy and loose with a lot of turns.”
With a combined total of 31 laps, returning veterans Derek Strong and Lisa Strong claimed the coed 2 person team victory. Derek rode 17 laps, and Lisa rode 16 laps, and both were on their singlespeeds.
It turns out that the course was very singlespeed friendly, and the light weight bonus combined with low maintenance proved to be a winning formula. Men’s solo winner Darion Binion completed 28 laps on his super reliable singlespeed.
Once again 18 hours of Fruita did not disappoint with catered food, New Belgium brew, comfortable camping, and even hot showers. Not surprisingly all of the race brackets filled up within a month of the event registration opening. “We’re phsyched to have an event that fills up every year and is fun for all”, said Troy Rarick of Over The Edge Sports.
First time 18 Hours of Fruita racers Jen Pierce and Katie Nighorn came from Salt Lake City for the fun flowy singletrack of Fruita, and also try out some 18 hour racing. “It’s kind of awesome, we’re definitely coming back next year and racing on a 4 person team (instead of their 7 person team) so we can get to ride more laps”, noted Pierce.
For complete results, please visit 18 Hours of Fruita
For additional photos, please visit Photo Cycle