Moab Thaw

The 11th annual Moab Thaw mountain bike festival will take place on March 8-10. [Photo courtesy of Anna Sprout]

Jessica Jaramillo looks forward to celebrating her birthday at the Moab Thaw Mountain Bike Festival each March.

“It’s a birthday present from my mom,” Jaramillo said, who will turn 38 on March 9.

For the past six years, Jaramillo and her mother Debra Fulton, of Denver, Colorado, have both participated in the bike demo event. Approximately 20 bicycle vendors will be present all weekend offering brand new bikes for people to try in the backcountry.

That’s how Fulton, 60, settled on the Pivot Mach 4 bike she purchased at Poison Spider Bicycles.

“I got to try it out and fell in love with it,” she said. “I got it because of Thaw.”

The weekend kicks off on Friday, March 8, with a pre-festival women’s-only event, in which the Colorado mother and daughter will participate.

The Women’s Ride/Skills Clinic taught by Moab mountain bike instructors is divided into beginner, intermediate and expert groups for lessons held at Moab Brand Trails. Starting at 11 a.m. participants can begin selecting a bike they choose to ride for the class that starts at approximately noon.

The Shimano Ladies Tech Clinic will also take place on Friday, from 4 to 5 p.m. Attendees will learn pointers on basic trail maintenance.

“I love everything about Thaw,” Fulton said, adding that she looks forward to Friday happy hour, the great music, good food and being able to “come and go with bikes.”

There are no other events like this where there are more bikes than people, Thaw promoter and Poison Spider Bicycles sales manager Billy Snyder said.

“Most demo events would have multiple people per bike,” Snyder said. “It’s cool because (here) there’s great availability.”

Pre-registration begins on Friday, March 8 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. A meet and greet event with Orbea Cycles will take place that evening from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Atomic Grill and Lounge, 1393 U.S. Highway 191.

Registration continues on Saturday, March 9, with coffee and donuts offered at Moab Brand Trails from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Moab Brand Trails are a network of trails a few miles north of Moab that includes the Bar M trail. Demo rides from the trailhead will occur all day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pivot Cycles is providing lunch and snacks at the Moab Brand Trails from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The company is also donating a bike frame for the silent auction. The auction is a fundraiser for the Grand County High School mountain bike team. The silent auction, which is open to the public, will be held at the high school team’s pop-up tent at the entrance of Moab Brand Trails.

After sampling bikes on Saturday, participants can go for a longer ride on Sunday, March 10, following a biscuits and gravy breakfast at 10 a.m. at the Moab Brand Trailhead. Shuttles will be provided to the Magnificent 7 trailhead where participants can choose a bike to ride for the 14 miles back to the Moab Brand trailhead. This demo ride is geared toward intermediate or advanced riders, and is estimated to take one- to two-and-a-half hours to complete. There will be multiple rounds so riders can try more than one bike for this demo.

The weekend also includes a pool party from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Portal RV, followed by a party at Club Rio where Moab’s Steelbender 191 band will perform rock and roll music.