The 34th Annual Chequamegon MTB Festival, presented by Trek comes to northwestern Wisconsin once again the weekend of September 16-18. The main events, the Chequamegon 40 and the Short & Fat, start in Hayward and Cable, Wisconsin Saturday, September 17 at 10 a.m.
A total of 3,100 riders will participate in the festival, including a sold-out field of 2,100 riders in the Chequamegon 40, which starts on Main Street in Hayward and finishes at Mt. Telemark. Another 1,000 riders will start at the same time in downtown Cable and race 16 miles in the Short & Fat, which also finishes at Mt. Telemark.
The weekend kicks off with the sponsor and vendor Expo, as well as the pasta feast that runs from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday under the canvas. Bib pick-up runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. under the Big Top Chequamegon tent on the Mt. Telemark grounds in Cable on Friday, and both of Saturday’s races will finish in the Telemark stadium area just outside the big top tent.
The Chequamegon 40 will again use seven starting gates and the Short & Fat, six gates. The Elite Men’s and Women’s Gate 1 will feature the best riders in both events. Several top riders and former champions are returning for the main events – the Chequamegon 40 and the Short & Fat.
In the 40, six-time defending champion Brian Matter returns, hoping for an extraordinary seventh title, after being beat last year by Jeff Hall. Hall too will return this year. Keep your eye on David Flaten, who finished a convincing second last year. One of the races top contenders, T.J. Woodruff will not return for this year’s competition. Others to watch are Cole House (2004 Short & Fat champ), Jesse LaLonde (2007 champ), Tristan Schouten, Corey Stelljes, and Steve Tilford (2000, 2001 & 2002 champ).
Minnesota rider and five-time champion Jenna Rinehart, who came in third last year even after crashing earlier in the race, will not return this year, nor will last year’s Women’s 40 champ, Chloe Woodruff – but keep an eye out for riders Sara Kylander-Johnson (2006 champ), Corey Coogan Cisek, April Morgan and Jennifer Nowlin.
In the Short & Fat, both men’s and women’s races look to be wide open. In the men’s, last year’s winner, Samuel Elson isn’t returning this year, nor is second place-getter Caleb Swartz or third place-getter, Samuel Olsen. Among this year’s top contenders are Gavin Abric, Adam Altmann, John Lirette, Tom Meyer, and Calvin Sandberg. Short and Fat 2014 champ, Josey Weik has moved over to the 40.
In the women’s Short & Fat, keep an eye out for Sophie Farrow, who won last year’s event. Other strong contenders include Hayward’s hometown girls, Kaelin Jackson and Kyra Jackson, and Hanna Mork, of Wausau.
On the lighter side of things, the Friday Funday events for adults will take place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the finish line. Adult fun continues on Saturday afternoon from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. These festivities are held at the Telemark event site and will put some fun into the fat with complimentary events for those over age 12. Folks can enjoy Bicycle Bowling, Klunker Toss, Bicycle Limbo, Lumber Jack and Jill Log Pull.
The festival features several children’s events starting with decorated bicycle parades in Cable and Hayward on Saturday morning. Bike decoration starts at 8 a.m. and the parades begin at 9 a.m. In Hayward children should gather on the 200 block of Main Street, and in Cable at the fire hall behind the Old School Mall. On Saturday afternoon, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. the Children’s Bicycle Rodeo and Kids Criterium will be held at the Mt. Telemark finish line.
For all participants, there will be prizes, surprises and treats. The parade and rodeo are free and open to all kids under 12. Helmets required.
Forest roads along the race route will have limited access on the day of the race from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Only permitted race vehicles, local residents and hunters will have access during this time. Spectator traffic will not be allowed in the closed road area.
In the town of Spider Lake, Telemark Road/Spider Lake Fire Lane from Clear Lake Road north to the town line, Boedecker Road from the town line east to Spider Lake Fire Lane and Janet Road from the town line north to Boedecker Road will be closed.
In the town of Lenroot, Boedecker Road from Northern Lights Road east to the town line and Janet Road from Highway OO north to the town line will be closed.
The Spider Lake Fire Lane from Telemark Road south to the town line will be closed in the town of Cable.
Race support vehicles need a permit from race headquarters prior to race morning to use these closed roads. Contact the Chequamegon office before race morning at email@example.com with details of rider receiving support, the support vehicle driver’s name and vehicle type.
These road closures will increase rider safety during the event. Spectators using these roads need to be in place before 10:30 a.m.
“NO PARKING” RESTRICTIONS IN HAYWARD AND CABLE ON RACE MORNING
Hayward residents and visitors should take note the entire length of Main Street from Railroad Street to Wittwer Road will be a NO PARKING area from 6 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, for the start of the Chequamegon 40.
The city will barricade all intersecting side streets by 6 a.m. The Sawyer County Sheriff’s office will allow passage across Main Street on Highway 63 and at Fifth Street until just before the start of the race at 10 a.m.
In Cable, County Highway M near the Short & Fat start area, First Street east of First Avenue to Randysek Road and Randysek Road south of M will be posted no parking. Also, do not park in the United Church of Christ lot next to the Short & Fat start line or the Trinity Lutheran Church at Spruce Street and Randysek.
Do not leave vehicles in the local business lots during either race.
Best of luck to everyone competing in the 2016 Chequamegon MTB Festival! We’ll see you at the starting line!