The Fire on the Rim Mountain Bike Race promises riders will never be bored — the terrain, weather, and the course can kick butt, but mountain bikers love to play hard.
Plus, organizers of the third annual Fire on the Rim Mountain Bike Race have stuffed the schedule for the weekend of Sept. 13-15 with music, food and chances to experience the quaint town of Pine.
Starting with a spaghetti dinner on Friday night and ending with a ride on the new Bearfoot Trail, no one will have time to twiddle his or her thumbs.
“Meet some of the riders, carbing up for the Fire on the Rim Mountain Bike Race (Friday night), early the next morning, connect with friends and neighbors or make new friends at this fun, scrumptious community event for a great cause,” say event organizers.
This year, the race will have an old-fashioned hayride to transport diners to and from the parking area to the barn where Chef Gerardo Moceri, of Gerardo’s Firewood Café in Payson, will serve the spaghetti.
Three bands will serenade participants over two days: the J.D. Madrid band, the Trouble in Paradise band and the John Scott Band offering a wide array of music.
The trail race has doubled in attendance every year.
The trail snakes through areas of Pine and Strawberry that show off some of the best scenery in the area. Steep drops and technical single track designed by mountain bikers have some racers praying they finish the race.
Other areas of the trail are former Jeep trails that have plenty of room for speedsters to pass the slowpokes.
But organizers say what really captures racers’ hearts and keeps them returning year after year is the small-town, community touches — such as the Kids Only Mountain Bike Race at 9 a.m. on Saturday. Kids will feel like the grown-ups when winners of the race receive Mountain Bike Association of Arizona medals. The race is free and registration is on Saturday before the start time.
Racers appreciate the locals who come out to cheer them on at various spots along the course. Many pop out of their cabins, coffee in hand, to see the bikers do their stuff.
The weekend culminates with a trail ride on the beautiful new Bearfoot Trail. The trail shows off the investment race fees make to improve the recreation and fire prevention for the area.
Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction, Inc. (PSFR) created the race to supplement government funding that has dried up due to the economic difficulties for the past few years.
The communities of Pine and Strawberry nestle in a breathtakingly beautiful valley amidst the largest ponderosa pine forest in the world.
However, for the last 100 years, mismanagement of the forest has resulted in an overgrowth of trees and an exponential increase in fire risk. Between 1900 and now, tree density has increased from three to 10 trees per acre, to more than 1,000 per acre. When a fire does hit the area, it will quickly escalate into a lethal crown fire, as the Dude Fire more than two decades ago.
Rather than wait for governments to take the lead, the residents of Pine and Strawberry banded together to create Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction, Inc. The race is a critical component of its fund-raising to continue maintaining firebreaks and building new trails for visitors and fuel reduction workers to access the forest.
On its Web site, www.fireontherim.com, PSFR writes that it has received national attention for its work to provide wildfire protection to the two mountain hamlets.
“Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction, Inc. is a completely volunteer 501(c)3 nonprofit community organization and is dependent entirely upon private donations and grants for its operation. The relative cost of funding fire prevention programs and activities is certainly small in comparison with all that we stand to lose here in the Rim Country,” write committee members.
Come out and experience the fun!
Friday, Sept. 13
Noon – campsite opens
4 p.m. – beer garden opens
5 p.m. – spaghetti dinner by Chef Gerardo Moceri, cost for racers, $5; cost for non-racers, $10 – silent auction start.
6 p.m. – late registration – J.D. Madrid Band
8 p.m. – registration closes
Saturday, Sept. 14
6 a.m. – late registration – food wagons open
7 a.m. – registration closes
7:30 a.m. – 45-mile race start
7:45 a.m. – 30-miles race start
8 a.m. – 15-mile race starts
9 a.m. – Kids Race starts
11 a.m. – beer garden opens
1 p.m. – Bucket List Band
2 p.m. – awards ceremony – bike raffle drawing – silent auction end
4 p.m. – Trouble in Paradise Band
6 p.m. – John Scott Band
Sunday, Sept. 15
10 a.m. – ride the new bike trail in Pine
3 p.m. – Campsite closes
Camping is available at the Mary Ellen Randall Arena. This is also the site for the start/finish of the race, 6000 Bradshaw Drive in Pine.
There is no cost for camping as it is private land donated for use at this event, but organizers ask for additional care in its use to respect the owners.
RV parking is available, but no hookups or dumping is available.
The event will have restrooms available, but if race goers need more clean up; free showers are a short bike ride away at the Pine Elementary School.
24-hour security is available for the event.
The surrounding Tonto National Forest also offers camping.
Food: Along with the local Pine restaurants, food vendors will set up shop near the campsite and race start.
JB’s Smokehouse BBQ has sandwiches, burgers, wings, tacos and breakfast burritos all day.
Raimondo’s Italian Food will have Italian and American food.
Scoops Ice Cream and Oscar’s Coffee Bar will offer hot coffee and cold ice cream, plus other delectable treats.
Pine’s own brewery, THAT Brewery, will host the beer garden. They have a special brew to support the Arizona Trail — the Arizona Trail Ale. Proceeds go toward maintaining the trail that runs near Pine.
Bike raffle — for $5 per ticket, attendees have a chance to win one of two Raleigh Mountain Bikes valued at $1,099 each.