By Erin Crowell
Mountain biking and beer.
Together, they have become practically synonymous for a good time in Northern Michigan. Cross the finish line at a mountain bike race and chances are, youll see a beer tent near the timing clock. Its the reward for hard work: hammering up hills, fixing flat tires, avoiding flattening squirrels... its what mountain biking is about and its the idea behind Mud, Sweat & Beers Fat Tire Fest 2010.
On Saturday, May 1, Mt. Holiday in Traverse City will host a 20 mile and 10 mile mountain bike loop along the variable terrain of Traverse Citys east side ski hill. Mt. Holiday is the only non-profit 501c3 ski, mountain biking, and Frisbee golf area in the Midwest. All proceeds from the race will support Mt. Holiday Ski & Recreation Area.
This winter, sitting around the office, we thought about how theres no big mountain biking event in the spring, said race co-director Jim Kalajian of the Jenkins Group, whoalong with co-worker Andrew Parvelwanted a spring event that would reflect their small group Wednesday night rides on the VASA single track in Traverse City a day of recreational riding, followed up by a cold beer.
We figured we could do it as a component of Mt. Holiday, Kalajian continued, a place Ive always been involved in, in one capacity or another. It would be a great way to raise money and utilize the facilities for something outside of the busy ski season.
With help from Dan Stoudt managing the course route, the three have turned a small idea into an event that is quickly gathering steam in the mountain bike community.
MSB has a registration cap of 500 riders, so time may be running out. As of April 21, there were just 65 available spots.
It really has taken a life of its own, said Kalajian. We didnt know if wed even get 20 riders.
Weve got people coming from Indiana, Colorado a lot of people from the Grand Rapids and Detroit areas. Half the riders will be from out of town, said Kalajian.
As of press time, there were still a few race spots available, but if you miss your opportunity to ride, Kalajian said there are still plenty of opportunities to get involved with MSB.
We need about 100 people on Saturday. Right now, we have about 50 people signed up who are doing multiple tasks, but we need more, he said.
Kalajian points to their easy online volunteer sign up.
When you think about managing all those positions and responsibilities, it can be kind of overwhelming, said Kalajian. Weve volunteered at events before where you dont know how long youll be there or what youre doing sometimes you show up and told that youre no longer needed. Its very frustrating and disrespectful.
Volunteerspot.com provides a place for people to go and opens the door for communication. Its very slick. Were working smarter, not harder.
Right Brain Brewery will provide the suds. Located in Traverse City, the brewery has made frequent appearances at events across Northern Michigan since its beginnings in late 2007 which include regular pours at mountain biking events such as the Peak2Peak Challenge at Crystal Mountain and the 28-miler Iceman Cometh.
The mountain biking community drinks a lot of beer, said Right Brain owner Russell Springsteen. Theyre just an easy crowd to work with.
When approached by the MSB team to become one of the primary sponsors for the event, Springsteens answer was unconditioned.
Absolutely. Were all a bout supporting Mt. Holiday and the local community, said Springsteen.
Look for four original brews concocted by RBB brew master John Niedermaier: Ethel the Frog ESB, Scottish Moor Heather Ale, Will Power Pale Ale and Spiney Norman IPA.
A DAY FOR EVERYONE
Kids will be able to enjoy their own day of fun with Mud, Sweat & Root Beers, a one-mile bike loop, followed by root beer floats with Michigans Wild Bills Draft Root Beer on tap for all ages.
Things will wrap up with a pig roast at 3 p.m., but spectators are invited to watch the action during the race from multiple advantage points.
It really is a spectator-friendly event, said Kalajian. Its not just a bike race, but an all-day event where people can have fun while supporting a good cause.
The inaugural Mud, Sweat & Beers Fat Tire Fest is happening Saturday, May 1, at Mt. Holiday, located at 3100 Holiday Road on the east side of Traverse City. Racers, along with members of the community, are invited to carb up on Friday, April 30, for a pasta dinner at the ski resort, from 5-8 p.m. For a schedule of race times and information on volunteering, visit mudsweatandbeers.com.