I'll be heading up to Cable this afternoon with Tiffany, Christa, Jonathan and Bryan for the Chequamegon Fat Tire weekend. The 26th annual festival sponsored by Trek is set for Sept. 12-14. The field, capped at 2500 riders, has been filled since March.
The main event, the Chequamegon 40, rolls down Main Street in Hayward at 10 a.m. as it has since 1983, while the Short and Fat, the 16-milerace, starts in Cable at 10 a.m. Both races finish at event host Telemark Resort east of Cable.
In 1983 at the first Chequamegon Fat Tire Fest, 27 riders pedaled north from Hayward, finishing then at Lakewoods Resort. From that humble beginning, the race has grown into the largest mass start mountain bike in the country, with 2500 riders in both the short and long races.
Festival director Gary Crandall once again used a lottery in March to select the riders for the September races. Nearly 1000 riders got turned away as the Chequamegon Festival continues to hold its total registration to 2500 riders, making the race one of the most popular mountain bike events in the country.
Several special events are planned for the 26th running of the race. The Cable Hayward Area Arts Council (CHARAC) and the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival will co-sponsor the Bicycle as Art contest. Artists can enter either 2D or 3D bicycle art. On Sept. 12 from 5 to 8 p.m. a Meet the Artists reception will take place at Telemark Resort. The exhibit will be open to the public that Friday evening and all day Saturday.
At 1 p.m. Friday, CAMBA (Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association) will offer trail tours out of Telemark Resort, showcasing their singletrack trails in the area. Vendors will be on hand all weekend, starting on Friday with Trek displaying their new line of mountain bikes, including the new Top Fuels.
Saturday's races are preceded by Children's Bicycle Parades in both Cable and Hayward at 9 p.m.
The Chequamegon 40 will use the same course as last year. A dry summer has left the course in great shape, with a minimal number of mud holes. The 16-mile Short & Fat starts in Cable and will use the traditional course that leads the riders south on Randysek Road then onto logging roads south of Telemark Resort. Expect the first Short & Fat finisher just before 11 a.m., while the winner of the Chequamegon 40 should reach the Telemark Resort finish line sometime shortly after noon.