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  • Writer's pictureMo Awesome

The Sedona Mountain Bike Festival is the BEST Bike Festival, But Why?

The Sedona Mountain Bike Festival is the BEST mountain bike festival out there, period. Bold statement? Possibly, but I am standing by it. In a day and age where it feels like corporations are starting to suck the soul out of anything that once had a pulse, it's refreshing to have a festival as big and successful as the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival on the calendar. The actual festival itself still possesses that grassroots energy that goes hand in hand with the sport of mountain biking. There isn’t some motor oil company’s logo being shoved in your face or a cheesy auto tire brand company pulling up in an 18 wheeler marketing setup. Both of those categories clearly provide an insane support marketing dollars wise to whatever festival they attend, but that's not what the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival is about, and I appreciate that. We're cyclists, this isn't a car show, it’s a mountain bike festival. 

Also unlike most other major bike festivals throughout the year, there is not some gigantic mega corp financially backing the festival or putting it on. The Sedona Mountain Bike Festival actually started through a bike shop putting the festival together for the mountain bike community. That same owner that put on the first Sedona Bike Festival 10 years ago, Michael Raney, still puts it on today, and also still owns that bike shop. He is involved with all of the logistics, from coordinating with the town of Sedona to talking with sponsors. No corporate CEO from some unrelated industry was brought in to “sell” this festival to people or sell the “people” to that CEO. This is still a grassroots mountain bike festival filled with soul and passion, not greed and analytics.  

Now what makes this the best mountain bike festival out there besides passion and soul? Well for starters, the riding is off the charts. If you have ever been to Sedona you know that it is one of the most beautiful places in the world. So many amazing, world class level trails, with picture postcard views everywhere you look. Combine this with an endless amount of single tracks, this 3 day festival can easily turn into the best 3 days of mountain biking in your life. On top of this, the festival has a crazy amount of demo bikes so that you can test out whatever bike you want on some of the most natural mountain bike trails, giving you a very good sense of what a bike is capable of. There is also a shuttle provided to the trails as well, so just get to the festival and have a great time. A great time can also be found at the festival itself, with live music, food trucks, and lots of festival activities going on throughout the day.

Now why am I writing this article again? Well let's talk about the elephant in the room, the weather. It has been a running joke that the weather has been an issue the last 2 years, and that is a fair point. Some people argue that the festival should be moved date wise to something later in the season and others make a case that you shouldn’t buy a ticket until we get weather confirmation, both of these points I want to address. In terms of the dates, I don’t know too much about what goes on in the chamber of commerce in Sedona, but I can only imagine how interesting it would be dealing with a town that seems to sometimes emit the energy of the final destination boss in the game of HOA. Have you ever been to Sedona and seen the green McDonalds logo? That is actually the beauty of the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival. Somehow, Michael Rayney and team have been able to put on the biggest mountain bike festival in a town that doesn’t seem like it would want to be home to that. Now I can’t speak for the City of Sedona, even though I'm sure my mom would be happy if that was my job (sorry Mom), but I can’t help but feel one of the reasons this festival gets the green light is the soul it has. Sedona is one of the most energetically vibrant towns, filled with some very passionate, sometimes too passionate, people. And if you have ever met the founder of the  festival Michael, that passion and caring energy sums him up, and in my opinion is how he has been able to make this happen, year after year. 

In terms of holding out to buy tickets? Now, I don’t benefit whatsoever financially if you purchase a ticket, but I will say this. I do benefit from this festival. I feel like over the years I have gotten so exhausted by the soul of mountain biking seemingly being sucked out of our sport and sold to corporations. And each year after attending the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival I realize that there is still some hope out there for our sport and that there are still some rad events out there being put on by awesome people. Don’t get me wrong, things like the Hurricane Bike Festival are awesome and passion driven as well, but the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival has somehow managed to put itself up there with the other biggest attended bike festivals, while remaining for the people. This makes companies see that passion and soul is still worth investing money into. And even in years where the rain hasn’t helped and we might not have been able to ride as much as we wanted, Mike and his team have always gone above and beyond to make sure people are having an amazing weekend so that they leave feeling like they are more than just some analytic that will be presented to companies. 

So with all of that being said, I am excited to once again be going back to the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival. And if you want to support the biggest grassroot mountain bike festival in America and keep the soul of mountain biking alive, all while testing bikes in the most beautiful place in the US, you can buy your tickets here:

-Mo Awesome

1 Comment

Feb 26

SIGH, I wish I could support the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival. I tried last year, but my money does not grow on trees. I was able to plan one day, buy one event ticket, rent an Airbnb and drive 7 hours with my own bike to attend this event on a Saturday. My first time to Sedona, and I was really hyped up. I wanted to demo several bikes while attending this event. It was unfortunate that it rained so much that all the scheduled ride events were cancelled. I was not even allowed to demo bikes since it was too muddy. I did not plan for multiday stay so I could not stay another day for Sunday. T…


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