It’s called the Fire on the Rim, but the proceeds from it will be used to insure there never is a fire on the rim.
The benefit is an inaugural mountain bike race to be held Aug. 6 on trails around the tiny mountain hamlets of Pine and Strawberry. The Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction Committee is sponsoring the race, and a portion of the proceeds will be used to maintain and improve a fuel break around the two towns that was originally put in by the Tonto National Forest.
PSFR Committee members, including Ernie Borgoyne, are lauding the event highly beneficial to all in the area because “our area is very volatile in regards to possible wildfire, and excessive woodland fuels must be removed.”
His warning is certainly timely based on what is occurring in Eastern Arizona with the Wallow Fire.
The Mountain Bike Association of Arizona is helping the committee host the first-ever bike race that is expected to attract biking enthusiasts from around Arizona.
“We are expecting a large field,” said Borgoyne.
Committee members anticipate the race will draw cyclists from the Valley area eager to escape the searing heat.
In addition to visitors enjoying the racing challenge, Borgoyne says they will have the opportunity to also take in some of the Rim Country’s most majestic sites, including Tonto Natural Bridge, Fossil Creek and a drive along the Rim Road or FR300.
For the MBAA’s help with the race, the organization will receive 35 percent of the proceeds to be used for new trail construction around the state.
Fire on the Rim entrants have the opportunity to choose from three race lengths — 15 miles, 30 miles and 45 miles.
On race day, the 45-mile race begins at 7:30 a.m., the 30-mile at 7:45 and the 15 at 8 a.m.
Borgoyne believes the course is certain to test the riding abilities of even the finest of mountain cyclists, “it’s over very rugged terrain” but he adds, cyclists “will enjoy beautiful scenery.”
The course is a 15-mile loop with single track, plenty of climbs, speed portions and downhill.
While there were rumors the course would be the firebreak itself, Borgoyne says that’s not true, “An environmental study must be performed before the firebreak can be used as part of the bike race in future years.”
The race begins and finishes at Pine Elementary School where a post-race awards ceremony will be held.
To enhance the event, the fuel reduction committee is in the process of attracting vendors that will be popular among mountain cyclists.
At the school for the race, entrants will have options for RV parking and vehicle and tent camps. Shower and toilet facilities will be available.
The two towns offer a limited number of motel rooms.
For Fire on the Rim, racers will compete in one of 11 age/experience divisions and 36 medals will be awarded in each division for first, second and third place.
Racers will also receive “Goodie Bags” and raffle prizes will be awarded.
Borgoyne says the committee has worked diligently for months to insure the race is a top-notch event in which visitors feel welcome.
“We want it to be a yearly race that people look forward to,” he said.
The entry fee for the under-18-years age division is $25 if preregistered and $35 on race day. Fee for the seven adult categories is $50, but increases to $60 on race days. There will also be a three-member team competition with fees of $150 and $180 on the day of the event.
For more information or to register for the race, go to: fireontherim.com/default .aspx.