Troy Rarick, Over The Edge Sports

5) BLISTER: How is it that you were allowed to start building trails, then were suddenly told to stop?

Troy: The land managers didn’t really pay attention when we started. The land we used was being so widely ignored that it was largely a redneck playground or a trash-dumping facility. It is amazing, especially now, to see how unwanted that land was. Locals would say it was “worthless waste land.” But we saw it differently, and we adopted it. We picked up the trash and we established a recreation theme out there, all without the help of the BLM.

6) BLISTER: And how did you deal with being told that you had to stop?

Troy: We had a business interest, and the interest of a whole town, and we believed—and still do—that what we were doing was honorable and that the “official response” was merely based on a hope that we would go away. But we had way too much passion and momentum and, with the backing of the whole sport and the local communities and the press, we kept onward. Luckily, by the time the BLM really tried to “dig in” and stop the Fruita mountain bike movement, it had a lot of support, and rightfully so.

7) BLISTER: Currently, there are also Over the Edge Sports shops in Hurricane, Utah; Sedona, Arizona; and, most recently, Melrose, Australia. What have you applied from your experience in Fruita to the “destination development” processes in those places?

Troy: Well, first there has to be a place and a group of people that want to do this kind of thing, and then we come in and help. But, really, it’s not something we do without people. And we’re usually building trails before it is even known, and then we think it’d be a shame if, when a shop does open, it wasn’t an Over the Edge.

8) BLISTER: And what have you applied from Fruita to those places in a land-use sense?

Troy: Most of all, I have the ability to bring perspective. I can understand what land managers are charged with doing, and I see it more now as: “I can help them accomplish that,” rather than fuel a fight like we had in Fruita. In Sedona, for example, before we opened there, every trail was being built without permission. The whole system was off the radar, and the forest service was trying to manage it. I helped get that conversation going: “Let’s all talk,” and we did, and we got all these trail builders out to create a legal trail. It’s just a great way to say that we can all work together and that we’ve got each others’ backs.

Troy Rarick, Blister Gear Review
Rarick speaks at the 2010 Australian Cycle Tourism Conference in Melrose.

9) BLISTER: How do you see the ideal relationship between land managers, trail builders, and mountain bikers?

Troy: First, mountain bikers build trails. It’s just a fact. So why not get them building authorized and well-planned trails with government agencies and not under the cloak of secrecy? It saves hours of meetings later, and prevents trail battles that suck. Agencies need to understand that most staffers do not know how to build amazing trails, but in mountain biking we have some of the most cutting-edge trail minds in the world today. Agencies should use this resource so they can stop mitigating a problem and start creating something awesome. The bottom line is: agencies need organization and mountain bikers just want to keep pushing the beauty and artistry of trails.

10) BLISTER: Before you’re coming in and helping to build trails in places like Hurricane, Sedona, and Melrose—and before they become known—how do you hear about these places?

Troy: I just keep my eyes open, and I get plenty of emails about it, but I’m patient about it. I don’t foresee places where I want to be. What I do want is to maintain the “integrity of awesomeness” that Over the Edge has in the sport and in the world. It is essential that we are only in the right places, and I don’t try to predict where those right places are. We are all having so much fun being “Over the Edge,” and my biggest responsibility is to protect that. I opened a shop once with the wrong people. Lesson learned, never again.

4 comments on “Troy Rarick, Over The Edge Sports”

  1. Great article. Mining waste turned into a “new” type of gold. Lots of land in the West and also places like Pennsylvania and West Virginia in the East that can benefit from this type of creative re-use.

    • It’s certainly true, and the Ghost Town Trail from Blacklick to Ebensburg in Pennsylvania is a good example of a trail having been built in one of these places. Although the GTT is relatively flat and follows the creek (i.e. it’s not as varied or technical as Troy describes Fruita to be), it definitely counts as “creative” re-use—you ride past abandoned mining towns and leftover train cars along its 36 miles. Very cool.

  2. Some tough questions were omitted/ignored here. Anyone who watched what Troy & Sarah did in Fruita knows about the many headaches surrounding over-use of trails that went from fun narrow singletrack to trampled crypto soils and 4 foot wide pathways, and how it became difficult to stop the trail dummying thanks to “promoting” the town as a MTB destination. Not everyone wants crowded trails, not everyone can manage trail over-use with constant maintenance/upkeep. Do the people of Fruita like what their town has become? Did any of them leave the town due to its shift in character?

    There’s an unquestioned assumption here: that building a MTB “destination” town is great for everyone.

    I’d be interested in alternate views on that subject. Who did NOT like it? Who thinks the town wasn’t improved by the changes? Who finds the trail maintenance a headache? Who prefers the old Fruita trails that were narrow and challenging due to narrowness?

    Go back in time to read Troy’s rants on the OTE website/blog. You’ll see what I’m talking about here.

    Congrats for sure to Troy & Sarah and the OTE crew for the trails they built and the FFTF they created, it is a fun place to ride MTBs.

    But there’s more to the story.

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