Fat Tire Festival more extreme than ever | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Fat Tire Festival more extreme than ever

Column by Sam Bauman

Yes, they’re still skiing at Alpine Meadows and Mammoth Mountain,

but if you’re into biking you might want to join the bunch that

starts on Tuesday nights at 5:30 at the Sierra Ski and Cycle Works

at 3430 Lake Tahoe Blvd.

Pat Medau, noted for his ski boot customizing, is the leader and

tour organizer here, although fellow shop biker Gary Bell pitches

in to help. You can call the shop for the week’s ride location

at (530) 541-7505 Tuesday afternoon.

This is a free program and attracts 15 to 20 riders weekly. You

don’t need to have legs of steel, but you do have to have a bike

helmet. And, says Gary, “Bring a friend.”

Guides for both fast and slow riders are provided and after the

ride many of the group retire to the Tudor Inn for discounted

pizza and the like. It’s a great time and place to swap disaster

stories or to get help on technical matters.

If you really think you’re hot on the wheel, you might want to

try riding with the fast group. You may wind up with the Ramos

kids. Have fun.


This year it’s not a world championship. but that doesn’t mean

that the action won’t be as exciting as last year’s Fat Tire Festival

at Squaw Valley. If you’re interested in seeing just how extreme

bike riders can go, this is the event for you.

Last year, the TFTF was staged at Squaw Valley with world titles

involved. This year, it’s going to be strictly USA, but the line

up of events is simply fantastic.

The FTFT rolls off July 8 and winds up July 12. Between those

days, an anticipated 2,000 riders will attempt the near impossible

in such events as the Dual Trials. This new event pits two riders

head-to-head running an obstacle course over half-buried junk

cars, up 4- and 5-foot-high stumps, up towering boulders and generally

defying gravity as Newton never dreamed.

Point of the Trials is for the rider to accomplish the course

with as little body contact as possible. Each time the foot or

other bodily parts touches ground or obstacle, a point is added

to the score. The lowest points win. And if that sounds easy to

you, just wait until you see those obstacle courses!

One of the nice things about the FTFT is that it caters to all

levels of riders, from the world pros to the family out for a

tour of Tahoe bike trails. There’ll be day tours, a full-moon

tour, overnight tour and even an eco tour, whatever that may be.

There will even be a Dealers /Bike Magazine Demo Day and Bike

Expo with the latest frames, pedals and bike shocks on display.

This will be Northstar’s first chance to play host to the 18,000

noncompeting expected visitors. Those of us who have enjoyed Northstar’s

chairlifts up and trails all around the mountain can attest to

the challenge some of those trails offer.

Northstar is promising a bevy of new venues for the competition,

including BMX racing at its hottest. In case you’re not familiar

with the BMX bike, it’s smaller and single speed and is perfect

for the rolling ups and downs of dirt tracks.

The “Fox-Five” event is new and combines downhill mountain riding,

BMX and motocross. There has to be a limit to what organizers

can ask of bikers and this may be it.

Oh, yeah, why “Fox-Five?”

Simple. The Fox TV network is a sponsor and will air a series

of programs from the event.

Naturally, since this is Tahoe and this is bike racing as practiced

by the younger riders, there will be a Fat and Tired Mountain

Bike Micro-Brew Festival as well as a film festival.

We’ll carry a complete schedule a little closer to the event,

but right now you might want to block out July 8-12 for fun on


The base for the whole event will be the mid-station.

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