For a third successive year thousands of mountain bike aficionados descended upon Sedona and its many trails for the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival.
The festival, held from Friday, March 3, to Sunday, March 5, at Posse Grounds Park, surrounded riders, vendors, live music, food trucks and breweries with the landscape of red rocks under a warm spring sun.
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“The recipe is pretty simple,” event organizer Michael Raney said. “You go out on rides, come back, listen to music, drink beer and have fun.”
With 75 vendors on hand, three food trucks and five breweries, there was not a shortage of things to do throughout the festival area, which stretched from the upper field down to the furthest edge of the parking lot that parallels the lower field.
Riders also took advantage of the newly-constructed Sedona Bike Skills Park, located right alongside the festival.
Without any organized races or competitions, the main attraction was the many trails that Sedona has to offer.
“The best mountain biking in the world is in Sedona,” Raney said. “So why not have the best event?”
There was live music throughout the weekend. Another feature important to riders are the bikes available to test, or demo.
“An attractive point is the pure number of riders coming to demo bikes,” said Kathy Pruitt of Evil Bicycles. “We have had our bikes brought out less than an hour after [the festival’s opening] and only one or two on the rack.”
With close to 3,000 participants, according to Raney, the quality of the trails could diminish due to high volumes of traffic. Phoenix resident Armando Almadova negated that notion.
“It’s still in good shape,” Almadova said on Saturday, March 4. “Everything is well-marked, the trails are well-groomed, there are good riding conditions.”
Raney, who also works at Over the Edge bike shop, said that the idea came about from brainstorming in the shop one day.
Raney along with Tanesha Milucky, Jason First and Matt McFee of Hermosa Tours are the main four responsible for putting on the event, which according to Raney is a 20-hour-per-week job that takes all year to organize.
Hermosa Tours provided shuttles to help riders back and forth from the festival and the Village of Oak Creek and Chuckwagon Trailhead. The event is organized in conjunction with the city of Sedona.
“We’re learning more and more ... the city is supportive, the vendors are supportive,” Raney said. “It’s the people, a strong community of volunteers who came to help.”