HUNDREDS OF BIKERS DESCEND ON CRESTED BUTTE, COLORADO
The Wildflower Rush Race, Ride the Rockies and Fat Tire Bike Week Kick Summer into High Gear
Since local diehards started modifying their old “paper boy” clunkers to ride the area’s rugged mountain trails, Crested Butte has played an integral role in the development of mountain biking. The passion that these fat-tire enthusiasts held for their sport and the mountains spread steadily throughout the nation. Soon, a premier mountain biking festival evolved and Crested Butte was heralded as one of the finest places on earth for cycling.
The festival’s roots, like most things in Crested Butte, are colorful — it started as a vendetta. Back in the 70’s, a group of Aspen high rollers rode their motorcycles over Pearl Pass to Cre sted Butte and parked them in front of the Grubstake Saloon, one of two taverns in town. They lined the curb of Crested Butte’s only paved street for half a block.
To a small group of rowdy locals a bicycle counter-assault seemed the only reasonable thing to do. So early one September morning, fifteen hardy souls took off on their one-speed clunkers over 12,700-foot Pearl Pass into Aspen. It took two days. When they got to Aspen, they parked their bicycles in front of the Hotel Jerome, had a raucous party and shuttled back. That was 1976. By the early 80s, the tour evolved into a week of activities and Fat Tire Bike Week was born. The Pearl Pass Tour, as it is now called, still takes place every September.