Mountain bikers head to Blue Diamond trails for Fat Tire Festival

Mountain biker Mark Duncan pulled into the staging area at the park in Blue Diamond, hopped off his fat tire bicycle and snapped open a Red Bull, polishing off the energy drink in two gulps.

Then he pedaled back to the Cottonwood Valley mountain bike trails outside the small community, finishing the final loop of a 100K mountain bike race — or 62 miles — on Saturday afternoon.

Duncan was among 143 mountain bikers who bathed in the sunshine on the single-track trails 25 miles west of the Strip in the inaugural Red Rock Fat Tire Festival put on by Las Vegas Cyclery and Escape Adventures.

The Summerlin bicycle store and its sister bicycle touring business wanted to highlight outdoor life off the Strip to show both locals and visitors that the Red Rock Canyon area offers world-class natural resources.

“It showcases a side of Las Vegas you don’t see,” said Heather Fisher, who owns Las Vegas Cyclery with her husband, Jared, an accomplished biker racing in the 50K event. They live in Blue Diamond.

Les Sigal from British Columbia attended a two-way radio convention on the Strip during the week, but relished the chance to pedal a mountain bike on trails called Land Mine, Viagra, Badger Pass and Mustang Trail.

“I’m so happy to get off the Strip, to get away from the smog,” said Sigal, 58, who paid $350 to rent a mountain bike for two days, race the course, get meals for the entire weekend and enjoy the four bands that played in the park. “It was worth it.”

The mountain bikers were part of a crowd of about 500 outdoor enthusiasts — outnumbering the 300 or so residents who live in Blue Diamond.

There were courses of 25K, 50K and 100K, with the longest race requiring the racers leave at 9 a.m. Bikers came from such states as Maine, California and Arizona.

The fat tire festival continues today with a pancake breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and a mountain bike ride at 9 a.m.

Contact Alan Snel at asnel@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5273. Find him on Twitter: @BicycleManSnel

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