Already excitement is in the air because the Fire on the Rim mountain bike race will return on Sept. 15.
“Last year most of the registration happened the day of the race,” said Steve Morken, race organizer and owner of THAT Brewery & Pub in Pine. “This year we already have as many registrants as raced last year.”
The Pine-Strawberry Fuel Reduction Committee will again host the race, which has a unique purpose — all money raised goes toward protecting the communities of Pine and Strawberry from wildfires and upgrading the surrounding riding and hiking trails.
This year, organizers have planned an event-filled weekend starting with a Friday night spaghetti dinner, beer garden and concert by the popular Rim Country group Junction 87 with other events planned through Sunday.
A campground has been set up in the Pine rodeo grounds across from the starting point to make access to the race start easier.
On Saturday, mountain bikers will race on a single-track participants from last year deemed quite technical.
Even though registration numbers are good, there’s room for more.
“We’re trying to get more racers,” said promoter Ernie Borgoyne.
This year, the event has moved from starting at the Pine-Strawberry schoolyard to behind the THAT Brewery & Pub.
“We’re moving it away from town,” said Borgoyne. As a result, the race has more space to spread out, allowing for a campground, stage, and area for vendors.
Organizers hope to add a kids mountain biking race and a pump track to the activities of the day.
“The pump track is like an exercise routine — moguls, hills — you use your body movement to go around the course without stopping,” said Borgoyne.
After the race concludes, organizers have a sport masseur available to work out the kinks.
New Belgium Brewing Company has donated a bike to raffle off at the end of the weekend. Tickets are $5 each and organizers say, “Buy as many tickets as you can — this bike is so worth it!”
Borgoyne has also brought the race into the technology of the 21st century by not only creating a Web site (www.fireontherim.com), but a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/FireOnTheRimMountainBikeRace), and is currently working on creating an application to use on mobile devices.
“We’re taking that next step to move into more high tech,” said Borgoyne.
Pine and Strawberry hope this race catches on.
“We still want to be a permanent mountain biking destination,” said Borgoyne.