Dan Fargen

Motorcycle rider Dan Fargen takes his dirt bike through a body of water during one of the trail rides he organized. The Ashton resident has been coordinating such rides since 2009.

ATV and dirt-bike riders might want to prepare for the annual trail ride taking place in Ashton this weekend. The 25-mile course could present more of a challenge than anticipated.

Organizer Dan Fargen said riders will encounter some rough terrain at the beginning.

“On a scale of 1 to 10,” Fargen said, “the level of difficulty is about a six. It’s really interesting, yet still very safe…The big thing with trail riding is to go through wooded sections. This year’s course does that. It goes through a lot of the wooded areas around here.”

The first trail ride has been scheduled for this coming Saturday, Oct. 5, at 10 a.m. Fargen said anyone with an ATV, UTV or dirt bike is welcome to participate – as long as they use caution.

“It’s not a free-for-all,” Fargen said. “It’s a non-alcoholic event. Helmets are required, and you have to sign a release form to participate. There are three different speed groups – fast, medium and slow. And usually, we have three guides in each one of them.”

As a former dirt-bike racer, Fargen said he will be leading the fastest group of riders.

Those with less riding experience should sign up for one of the slower groups, Fargen said, seeing that the course contains sections which can prove difficult for beginners to navigate.

“It can be dangerous,” Fargen said. “That’s why we keep everyone on the trail – to make sure that everybody gets around alright, and that they can feel it out at a comfortable pace. But after lunch, people who are more serious about riding can do more challenging stuff.”

Fargen said the cost to participate is $45 for adults, $30 for kids, and $10 for passengers over the age of 12. Any passenger younger than 12 would be able to ride along for free, he said.

The event’s organizer added that riders can do the course as many times as they wish.

“The cost is for the day,” Fargen said, “not the lap. I’ve had guys ride over 100 miles — four laps. For other people, one lap is enough. And that’s their choice. They’re going to pay the same amount, to do one lap or five laps.”

Fargen said participation will be limited to 100 riders, and that the only way to secure a spot in this weekend’s event is by preregistering ahead of time.

“That’s just the way it works,” Fargen said. “We could’ve done it differently. We could have just gotten 10 to 20 people together, and done a trail ride on someone’s farm. But it wouldn’t be this big. It would be pretty low-key, whereas I wanted to include more people.”

A ride for non-motorized vehicles has been scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 20, as well.

Fargen said that event will cost $35 for adults, $20 for kids, and will be open to all bicyclists – whether they ride a mountain bike, a fat-tire bike or a cyclocross bike.

Anyone interested should contact Fargen by phone at (608) 445-8228.

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