Visit fat-tire heaven

Fruita, Colorado, is the nation's other mountain-biking epicenter. Its de facto ambassador gives us an insider's tour of the town he put on the map

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  • If a view of the Colorado River isn't enough to compel you to ride Mary's Loop the chance to get your adrenaline really pumping ought to do the trick.

    Mary's Loop in Fruita Colorado

    Anne Keller

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Fruita Colorado locator

  • Fruita Colorado locator

GETTING THERE 

The nearest airport is in Grand Junction, 5 miles east on I-70; you'll need a rental car to get to Fruita.

BIKE RENTALS

Visit Troy Rarick's downtown bike shop, Over the Edge Sports (rentals from $45, including helmet; 202 E. Aspen Ave.; 970/858-7220).

WHERE TO STAY

Stonehaven Inn (4 units from $85, including breakfast; 800/303-0898) features huge breakfasts, a hot tub, and bike storage.

IF YOU GO IN APRIL

The 13th Annual Fat Tire Festival is April 24-27, 2008 ( fruitamountainbike.com). Daily group rides plus an expo with bikes, food, and gear for sale. Some events require an advance festival pass ($25 before noon Apr 21, $30 after); most are free.

Or consider Fruita's other signature event, the Mike the Headless Chicken Festival (May 16-17, 2008; free; 970/858-0360), celebrating the life of a local chicken who, in 1945, survived for 18 months after being beheaded. Buy Chicken Noodle Soap, enter a Peep-eating contest, or join the Run Like a Headless Chicken 5K ($17 registration).

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