Your Tire's So Fat...(insert joke here) : 1st Annual Fat Tire Festival Coming To Rossland

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
August 6th, 2009

“Yo tire’s so fat, when it walks on the beach, the whales come up and start singing “We are family,””

Get your best fat jokes warmed up, preferably of the rubber and knobby variety, because this Labour Day long weekend the 1st Annual Rossland Fat Tire Festival rolls into town, rubber side down.

Like many great local initiatives, the Rossland Fat Tire festival will be the offspring of folks passionate about their hobby.

“We had the 7 Summits poker ride, but there was no other real bike racing events for a while. It kind of fell out of favour, but people are really getting back into it.” explained Rory Belter of the event’s genesis. “We thought, ‘if everyone else can have something, why can’t we?’ We’ve got lots of good terrain. It’d be fun to bring a lot of people to Rossland, ride our trails, jump their bikes and have Rossland’s first slope-style contest.”

Given that Rossland’s second greatest summer passion after biking may just be picking huckleberries, Belter’s baby, the “Huck N’ Berries Slopestyle Event”, will open the weekend with a homemade mini Crankworx-style course set up beside the Silverlode Chair at the base of Red.

“We’ve got some ideas on course design, but nothing set in stone yet,” explained Belter.” There will be some scaffolding drops, some wall rides, and maybe some stunts like Clawworks where they have logs set into the dirt and we’re going to be jumping them. If we can get an old truck, we’d like to have a jump into the back of the pickup over the cab and onto the hood. We’re trying to get creative with the things that we have and have some fun.”

Bringing back some of Red Mountain’s classic mountain biking history with a new simplifying element disguised as a clever addition, the Dreadhead race goes down (or is that up and down?) on the same weekend. Combining the old-but-newly-refurbished downhill competition course on Red Mountain with the new uphill Redhead trail to Red’s summit, the course will pit cross country riders directly against their downhill brethren.

“We tried to make something that would appeal to a lot of different people,” added Stu Spooner. “Running a pure downhill race is hard because the logistics of running the chairlift are just too complicated. By having an uphill/downhill style race you instantly make the organization simpler. Plus it’s an interesting format that appeals to a lot of people. Each leg is rated the same so it puts the downhillers and cross country riders on the same level.”

Shuttles will take riders’ armour and full face helmets to the top of the downhill course, but all other gear needs to be up for the challenge of the big uphill climb and steep and fast downhill course. Bike choice will be crucial.

In what may amount to an underground king of the dirt competition, inevitably there will be a few riders who will compete in every event. Winding up the weekend will be the epic Seven Summits poker ride which finishes in the Lion’s Campground.

Spectator or rider, downhiller or beer garden occupant, the weekend is all about celebrating good times on two wheels. Sticking to its grassroots beginnings, the festival hopes to run a smooth small scale event that is all about the bike riding, pull it off successfully.

“It’s a volunteer effort and given the way thing usually work around here it’ll be pretty last minute,” noted Spooner. “If we can get it all off and run smoothly and people have a good time maybe it will become a regular thing and we can put more effort into promoting it widely and grow it a bit. We’re not trying to set the world on fire in our first year though.”

The “unofficial” official summertime sport of Rossland has evolved to become a religion to many and will finally get a two day service to celebrate our faith in fat tires. Bowing to the dirt gods and or taking a header off a skinny, the followers of the mountain biking theology here in the Alpine City wear their faith on their sleeves along with muddy smiles, bloody shins and post-ride helmet hair.

“It’s going to be fun times on your bicycle,” closed Belter. “Bring your lungs and bring the fun.”

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