A total of 3,100 riders are getting ready to race in the 32nd annual Chequamegon MTB Festival in northwestern Wisconsin next weekend. The Chequamegon 40 will collect 2,100 of those rides, while the other 1,000 athletes will be competing in the Short & Fat 16-mile ride.
The weekend will kick off at 1 p.m. on Friday, September 12 with the CAMBA (Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association) 10- to 12-mile guided trail tours at Camp 38 Trailhead off Telemark Road. Riders can sample the newly reconstructed Ojibwe Trail or the Flow Trail with options to return by gravel roads. After the guided tours, the sponsor and vendor expo as well as the pasta feast will take place from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
There will be several top riders and former champions appearing this year:
- Brian Matter: This Chequamegon five-time champion is coming back with the hopes of winning an extraordinary sixth title.
- T.J. Woodruff: Coming in second place last year, this Arizona rider will be vying for first in the year’s race.
- Michael Olheiser: As a 2013 Chequamegon third-place finisher, Olheiser is going to give the competition a run for their money come September 12.
- Cole House: Narrowly edging Matter in this year’s Ore to Shore event in Marquette, Michiagn, House would love to unseat Matter in the Chequamegon 40.
- Jeremiah Bishop: Holding spots on 14 national mountain bike teams throughout his career, Bishop is looking to add another gold medal to his belt.
- Jeff Hall: A one-time win isn’t enough for Hall who is coming back strong for another shot at the top spot.
- Jenna Rinehart: This Minnesota rider and four-time winner is looking to regain her title at this year’s race.
- Sara Kylander-Johnson: As last year’s third-place finisher and former champion, this rider is ready to make her way back to the top spot.
SHORT & FAT
The Short & Fat competition looks to be wide open this year in both the men’s and women’s divisions. The 2013 women’s champ, Jennifer Nowlin, has moved on to compete in the Chequamegon 40 this year, while Josey Wiek, third placer finisher in 2013, hopes to climb to the top spot this year. Local rider, Leroy Walters, who placed second in the Firehouse 50 is looking to make his way to the podium this year as well. In the women’s short race, sisters Keely and Kyra Jackson of Hayward know the course well and have been having a good year. Kyra was third last year as a 14-year-old rider and older sister Keeley placed 10th after a mechanical problem.
In the tandem race, Brian and Kim Eppen of Iowa City, Iowa return to defend their multi-year title. Last year, they faced some fierce competition from Kevin Ishaug and Adam Froemming, who finished within a minute of the Eppens. Abby Strigel and Dendel Cooper, top finishers in the Chequamegon 40, are teaming up on a mixed tandem this year.
After putting in work on the trails on Saturday, the fun continues on to Sunday. Sunday Funday events will wrap up the weekend at the Telemark Resort event site with complimentary events for those over twelve. Folks can try out Bicycle Bowling, Klunker Toss, Bicycle Limbo, Lumber Jack and Jill Log Pull and Flying Bunny Hop from 10:00 a.m.to 12:00 p.m.
Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about the little ones! The festival will feature several children’s events starting with bicycle parades in Cable and Hayward beginning at 9 a.m. and bike decoration starting before at 8 a.m. In Hayward, children should gather on the 200 block of Main Street, and in Cable, please meet at the fire hall behind the Old School Mall. There will be prizes, surprises and treats for all participants!
Best of luck to everyone competing in the 2014 Chequamegon MTB Festival, see you all soon!