16) BLISTER: You said you don’t foresee where you want to be, but if the option is open, will there be an OTE Alps?
Troy: I want to see an Over the Edge somewhere over there. Worst case, it’d be me, and I’d go open up a shop in Italy. My long term goal is to have an Over the Edge Italy, with a villa and a coffee shop. Every cyclist should ride in the Italian countryside or the Alps, or both. I try to do it once a year at least.
17) BLISTER: What have you learned having opened OTE Fruita, Hurricane, Sedona, and Melrose that could then be applied there?
Troy: The desire for mountain biking destinations is well in place. There’s such a pool of people who can’t wait to hear about the next place that they haven’t ridden, and mountain bikers want to get people there. And in Fruita there were mountain bike trails everywhere but no place to get food or get a beer. People only ride bikes for a few hours a day, and they’ve got to find something to do for the rest of the time. We knew early on from Moab that we didn’t want fast food areas left and right. And then there are simple ideas like establishing directional trails, which is a must if we are to preserve singletrack in this growing sport.
18) BLISTER: About that—as mountain biking grows, do you worry that these places will become over-crowded?
Troy: All of these places are targeted at the enthusiast rider. There is no really intermediate market in mountain biking. You either start and become an enthusiast, or you try it once and do something else. We’ve definitely realized that it’s the enthusiast who will travel.
19) BLISTER: Looking back, would you have ever imagined Fruita to become what it is today, both as its own destination and as a catalyst for building up these other places as mountain bike destinations?
Troy: I think so much credit goes to the City of Fruita for being a partner from the beginning and not one trying to take over, but just watching, listening, and supporting when it was really needed. Fruita is now worth $30,000,000 a year for mountain biking, and there are trails in Fruita that I haven’t ridden yet. It is an awesome place to live and to visit and seems to have found a great balance of the two. I’m glad we didn’t stop back then, and I think lots of people are. I think now pretty much everyone loves the fact that Fruita is alive and well. And it turned out to be a really good thing—for me, for Fruita, and for the sport.
20) BLISTER: So in a sentence or two: Troy Rarick, Mountain Bike Tourism Consultant, explain.
Troy: “This guy in Fruita led a bankrupt town to be a top-10-in-the-world mountain bike destination; let’s see if he will help us.” And, if we make an awesome experience for these mountain bikers, then they make an experience for us. That’s my life ambition, to spread some awesome around the world. In Australia, I’ve been dubbed the Minister of Awesome. I like that title.