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Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival(8 posts)

Chequamegon Fat Tire Festivalditchbanger
Apr 1, 2003 7:08 PM
Anybody here ever run the 40 mile MTB race? I just got my bank statement and the check has been cashed, so I am in. I have never run a any type of bicycle race before and that is the main reason I bought a roadbike, for training.

If anyone has any pointers or what to expect are greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Steve
Yep, done twoMel Erickson
Apr 2, 2003 7:07 AM
Lots of people but a wide trail. No singletrack. Some rocky climbs, one or two that almost everyone walks, probably because they're steep (but short), loose and in the last half of the race when everyone's getting tired. Mostly rolling terrain, some fire road. If it's wet you can count on some big mud holes and slow going. Usually a bottle neck near the start when the race transitions from pavement/open field to the actual trail. Lotsa fun. Anything else?
Ridden two... (and Ore to Shore question)Suddha
Apr 2, 2003 8:00 AM
OK, this is a MTB race discussion on a roadie board, but oh well... lots of roadies do the Fat Tire 40. It is a fun race - long and fast, grueling at the end. It is rolling hills (the famed Birkebeiner ski trail) most of the race and then all the big climbs (e.g., Fire Tower Hill) are at after mile 31. How cruel.

Last year was a muddy mess since it rained up till start time. It can be chilly up there in mid-Sept.. Arm warmers are nice since you can shed them when you warm up.

A tip: Sleep close to the start line (Cedar Inn motel is a good one - reserve early) and get up extra early (5am) to place your MTB at the start area, near the front, or you will be in a quagmire of riders for the first 30 minutes of the ride. You can place your bike, lock it with a cable and then go back to the motel to sleep. Bring a beater road bike and trainer to warm up at the motel and then ride to the start area, use the cable to lock your road bike there during the race.

As for training, long, fast road rides are good. There is minimal technical stuff in the race other than some wide, rocky descents and climbs and some sand.

It is a blast - good luck and have fun! I wish I could've done it this fall too, but have a conflict on that date. Instead, I am going to try the 45 mile Ore to Shore in UP Michigan. Anyone else done that one? Anyone done both (Chequamegon and Ore to Shore)? How do they compare?

Cheers.
After 6 in a row...Nater
Apr 2, 2003 9:54 AM
I'm taking this year off. More because that weekend is book-ended by weddings for me this year (neither of them mine).

The above poster has lots of good info about the course and about getting a good start position. My suggestion is to not worry about a good finishing place and go for a respectable time. This is the largest mass-start mtb race in the world with 1700 riders all going out in a single wave. The race starts at 10:00 AM...if you aren't there really early, you're already starting in 700-800th place! The course is the Birke Ski trail and gravel roads. You could drive a truck down the narrowest section of the course. It does get greuling at mile 31-33 with the Seely Fire Tower climb and the return the relentless rolling hills of the Birke trail. It's a roadie's course...in 1997 and 1998, Marty Jemisen, who I think was racing for USPS on the road at the time, won in a time of 2:10...pretty fast for a 40 mile mountian bike race! Greg LeMond has won it in the past too.

It's something that you should try at least once though! Good Luck!
5 times here.TWD
Apr 2, 2003 3:40 PM
I've done it 5 times. If you're racing it for fun and don't care where you finish, starting further back is fun. Nothing like passing hundreds and hundreds of people to boost your morale. If you are serious about your finishing spot, as mentioned, get there very early.

I used to get there at 6am to reserve my spot on the front row, although I acutally stayed with my bike the whole time. You can drop it and run, but it might be a few rows back by the time you get done sleeping in.

The start can be sketchy with 1700 mountainbikers on a motorpace rollout through downtown Hayward. Hard to avoid the squirrels. And people think Cat 5 crits are sketchy! Not to worry though, it's not really all that bad.

As for training, road riding is good but will only get you so far. When you hit the last section of the Birkie trail after the fire tower climb, your legs just lock up. It's hard to duplicate those repeated sloppy/soft roller coaster grinds by road riding.

I live in Oregon now, and we don't have any riding on or off-road that can duplicate it. I got shelled last year. It's just a completely different style of riding. I thought the firetower climb was a cakewalk compared to the climbs I ride almost every day in Oregon. It seemed a lot tougher when I lived in WI.

The organizers are cool too. They waived their no refunds for any reason policy and gave a full refund to my wife and I in 2001 since we couldn't make it to the race due to the 9/11 airport closures.

Pretty cool event.
Equipment?ditchbanger
Apr 2, 2003 4:41 PM
Any suggestions for tires? My favorite tire when the trails dry up are Michelin Jet S. I also like comps s but the like to wash out on me in gravel which is pretty prevalent around here. Also will I need something like a spin skin for thorns or needles?

I average between 14-15 miles per hour on about a 10 mile avg. afternoon ride. I bought a road bike to train for the obvious difference in miles I'm used to and the race. So far in 150 miles since I got the bike I have been between 18.5 and 19.5 on my rides. I am out of shape yet, winter and an airdyne just doesn't equal actual riding. Just want to finish top half of my age group, 33.

I am at work by 6am so getting up early shouldn't be a problem. Any campgrounds close by, I have a wife and 3 daughters and we plan on making a weekend out of it.

Thanks
TiresSuddha
Apr 3, 2003 8:43 AM
No thorns or needles... just rocks and sand and grass. I have used Michelin Wildgrabbers (the old green ones) and last year in the mud, WTB Motoraptors. No problems with either. Bring the usual kit and tools. There are plenty of water/food stops too, but some Gu packs are a good idea so you can avoid the donut holes they hand out.

I have never had any mechanicals in this race, but I've seen a lot of people stopped with broken chains, bents rims, etc. so be prepared for anything.

There is a KOA campground between Hayward and Cable, on the highway, near Phipps Rd. Big place, plenty of sites, lots of RV's and families. Even showers there.

Oh, and two cars help... one at the finish, one at the start. Or someone to drive you back. Otherwise you can leave your bike in a corral and bus it back to Hayward. But that sucks - a cramped school bus built for 5 year olds is rough with sore legs.
Tiresditchbanger
Apr 3, 2003 11:38 AM
I hope my wife will pick me up at the finish line... We actually have a travel trailer.

Again thanks for the help