When bikes fly | Mountain bike festival includes endurance events, silliness | TahoeDailyTribune.com

When bikes fly | Mountain bike festival includes endurance events, silliness

Adam Jensen
Provided to the TribuneA mountain biker rides on the Upper Corral last spring. The trail will be used for several of the races during the Kirkwood Mountain Bike Festival, which continues until Aug. 28.

KIRKWOOD, Calif. – Amidst the carbon fiber-framed, full-suspension marvels certain to be on display at this week’s Kirkwood Mountain Bike Festival, one unfortunate department store brand bike is poised to take a beating.

The 10-day event began Friday and will continue through Aug. 29.

The festival includes cross country races, endurance events, group rides and clinics. The event expands on a well-received endurance ride at the ski resort last summer conducted by Arcata, Calif.-based race organizers Team Bigfoot.

“It went over really, really well, especially among the locals,” said Team Bigfoot Owner Vic Armijo during a phone interview on Wednesday.

Part of the event’s appeal is its nod to the informal events ingrained in the sport’s roots.

This year’s event will include a wheelie competition and a tradition that is nearly as old as mountain biking itself: a “Huffy Toss.”

The informal competition rewards participants for the distance they can throw a low-end bicycle, the flips the bike performs in the air, as well as the number of parts that fly off the bike during its tumble.

But the availability of bonus points is what will likely make the festival’s Huffy Toss a sight to behold.

Competitors are also rewarded for costumes worn, articles of clothing removed and songs sung prior to setting the bike airborne, according to official rules from an organization known as Union Huffy Toss Internationale.

The prize for winning the Huffy Toss or the wheelie contest is a fitting one.

“The wheelie contest is just for bragging rights and beer,” Armijo said. “You can’t get more down home mountain biking than that.”

Originally conceived as a way to kill time while race times were compiled and posted, the Huffy Toss became a fan favorite during the sport’s formative years, Armijo said.

The admittedly silly event endured even after technology allowed instantaneous posting of race times, Armijo said.

“I’m old school and I wanted to bring some of that here,” Armijo said.

The wheelie competition and the Huffy Toss are scheduled to start outside the resort’s bike shop after a short track cross country race Aug. 22. The short track race starts at noon.

For more information on the Huffy Toss and all of the festival’s events, visit: www.


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