Rattler geared to improving hiking, biking opportunities

HUBBLE RAY SMITH/Miner<BR>
Kyle Burchard works on a bicycle tire at Bicycle Outfitters Kingman while shop owner Adolfo Rodriguez watches. They both competed in the Kingman Rattler mountain bike race Sunday at Monolith Gardens. The race was sponsored by the Colorado River Area Trail Alliance.

HUBBLE RAY SMITH/Miner<BR> Kyle Burchard works on a bicycle tire at Bicycle Outfitters Kingman while shop owner Adolfo Rodriguez watches. They both competed in the Kingman Rattler mountain bike race Sunday at Monolith Gardens. The race was sponsored by the Colorado River Area Trail Alliance.

KINGMAN - About 60 mountain bikers tore up the trails of Monolith Gardens starting at the top of Coyote Pass Sunday in the Kingman Rattler, a race sponsored by the Colorado River Area Trail Alliance.

Riders from under 10 years old to over 50 came from Lake Havasu City, Bullhead City, Flagstaff, Phoenix, Tucson, Las Vegas and as far away as Utah to compete in a number of categories, for a one-mile race for children to a 28-mile run for advanced adult cyclists.

All proceeds that were raised from the $35 registration fee and sale of raffle tickets will go to CRATA, established a year ago as a local chapter of the International Mountain Biking Association. The nonprofit group is dedicated to developing and maintaining hiking and biking trails in Mohave County.

"It's the reason we have beautiful trails in town," said Adolfo Rodriguez, owner of Bicycle Outfitters Kingman. "This could be the mecca of Arizona for mountain biking if we work on it. I'm passionate about cycling and that's the reason I moved here."

Originally from Venezuela, Rodriguez lived in New Jersey and Florida before moving to Kingman about a year and a half ago to open his bicycle shop. He's donating sunglasses, clothing and other biking accessories to the raffle.

Rodriquez has pedaled all forms of cycling, including velodromes, triathlons and road racing. He said mountain biking is very unique.

"You're riding off-road and you feel like you're in the middle of nowhere," the 37-year-old cyclist said. "It's a unique sensation when you're out there in the middle of nature. Not only that, you can see your improvement day to day."

The trails at Monolith Park are "very friendly" with beautiful views, Rodriquez said. There are some technical sections with rocky areas and large boulders where riders have to be a little more advanced.

Mountain biking is growing in popularity, especially with activities such as weekly rides organized by Bicycle Outfitters Kingman. Go to www.bicycleoutfitterskingman.com to find out more about the CRATA race and local biking events.

"It's a very good way to stay healthy and meet good people," Rodriquez said. "Mountain bikers are awesome, really chillin', friendly and fun people."