FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Gary Crandall
Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival
715-798-3594
cheqfat@cheqnet.net
September 2, 2004

Chequamegon 2004 Ready to Roll

CABLE, Wis. - The 22nd annual Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival sponsored by Trek and presented by Volkswagen takes place Sept. 17th-19th, with the main event, the Chequamegon 40, starting Saturday morning on Main Street in Hayward and finishing 40 miles later in Cable at Telemark Resort, the event host.

Doug Swanson will return to defend his title, after torching last year's field in record time. The Minnesota rider put nearly eight minutes on three-time Chequamegon champion Steve Tilford. Swanson will face a tough field, including former US Postal Service rider and Lance Armstrong teammate, Frankie Andreu. Andreu, now a commentator for the Outdoor Life Network, has ridden eight Tours de France. Former national champion Travis Brown also plans to compete.

Australian Mary Grigson, winner of the past two races, has retired, leaving the women's race wide open. Sue Haywood, 2003 national women's mountain biker of the year, should take over where Grigson left off. Sara Kylander-Johnson and former champions, Kyia Malenkovich and Catherine Walberg will also contend for the big prize.

This year's event filled once again in March, with record number of riders getting turned away from Saturday's races. Event director Gary Crandall admitted that turning away riders is one of the hardest parts about his job. A March lottery selected the 2500 rider field, and another 50 got in through the essay contest, a last ditch attempt to get entered in the race. Riders can still sign up the for the Sunday events.

Festival events start Friday, Sept. 17th at Telemark Resort, with the Trek Demo Team on hand from 4 to 8 p.m. for technical service, and the annual Pasta Feast runs from 4 to 9 p.m. for those who still want to carbo load. Saturday's races are preceded by Children's Bicycle Parades in both Cable and Hayward at 9 p.m.

Both the Chequamegon 40 and the Short & Fat start Saturday, Sept. 18th at 10 a.m. The 40-mile race starts on the west end of Main Street in Hayward, and the pack will roll down Main, up Railroad Street, then east on Highway 77. The race will remain neutral until the pack exits the highway and enters Rosie's Field near Fish Hatchery Road, where the field will get its first taste of dirt.

Meanwhile, the 16-mile Short & Fat starts in Cable, and the field will pedal south on Randysek Road and quickly encounter a long climb and numerous more hills of the shorter, but challenging course. Expect the first Short & Fat finisher just before 11 a.m., while the winner of the Chequamegon 40 should hit the Telemark Resort finish line sometime shortly after noon.

Both races will feature a new singlespeed class. Over 60 riders have signed up to ride the long course on a bike with one gear. The new class might be one of the most competitive of the race, as well as the most challenging, considering riders have to scale the Seeley Fire Tower Hill and roll down steep hills with the same gear.

Sunday features a full slate of fun events, for both competitors and spectators. The Rough Stuff Rendezvous kicks off at 9 a.m. Over 200 cyclists will wander around the woods of Telemark Resort with a compass and a topographical map in this orienteering race. The rider to find all seven checkpoints and return to the start/finish line in the shortest amount of time wins.

The Cable Criterium, the crowd's favorite event of the day, begins at 11 a.m. Mountain bikers will compete in this short, multi-lap event, hoping their legs still have some life after Saturday's taxing races. The short half-mile circuit will circle around the bowl at the base of Telemark ski hill. Competitors first race in their respective age classes, and the winners of each age group will compete in a six-lap Overall Criterium Championship between 12:30 and 1 p.m.

Other fun events Sunday include the Hammer Slammer Hill Climb, the Klunker Bike Toss, the Lumberjack and Jill Log Pull and a Children's Bicycle Rodeo, events that take place between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. These low-key events are free.

The Chequamegon 40 course will be the same as it has for the last several years. Spectators can easily catch the race where it intersects several main roads: the Birkebeiner trail where it crosses Mosquito Brook Road and County Highway OO. Main Street in Hayward and Rosie's Field off Fish Hatchery Road offer photo opportunities of the huge field as it rumbles north. The rocky descent from Telemark Road to Smith Lake and the Birkie chalet on County Highway OO are also popular cheering and spectating points.

The 22nd annual Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival, the nation's largest mass start off-road event, will once again be serving Fat Tire fun Sept. 17th-19th.


CHILDREN'S EVENTS

Once again the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival will host several events for the kids. Saturday, Sept. 18th kids can ride the free decorated bicycle parades in either Hayward or Cable. Children wanting to join the parade should meet on the 200 block of Main Street in Hayward or at the Fire Hall behind the Old School Mall in Cable. Bike decoration runs from 8 to 9 a.m. At 9 a.m., the parades begin in both Hayward and Cable.

The Chequamegon Festival will provide balloons and streamers for bike decorating, and children can decorate their bikes beforehand as well. Expect prizes, surprises and treats for everyone involved.
Sunday, Sept. 19th kids can participate in the Bicycle Rodeo at the base of the Telemark ski hill at Telemark Resort from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bicycle limbo, a bike relay, a log pull and an obstacle course are just some of the fun events await in this free rodeo.
These weekend events are free to enter and open to all children under 12. Remember to wear a helmet.

ROAD CLOSINGS

Several area roads will once again be closed for Saturday's Chequamegon 40 and the Short & Fat mountain bike races.

Main Street from Railroad Street to Wittwer Avenue in Hayward will be temporarily closed to parking and traffic from 6 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Saturday Sept. 18th.

In Cable, Randysek Road from Highway M south to First Avenue will be temporarily closed from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Chequamegon 40 riders will be escorted out of town by police east on Main Street, north on Railroad Street and again east on Highway 77 to the American Birkebeiner Trail, where the riders will turn north onto the trail. Riders will also be using portions of Phipps, Boedecker, Smith Lake, Lake Helaine and Telemark roads. While the town roads are not closed to traffic, drivers are asked to drive slowly, exercise caution and observe official course control monitors along the racecourse during the event.

ATV riders on northern Sawyer County trails should be aware of race day bicycle traffic and observe course control monitors and warning signs. Expect heavy bicycle traffic on Camp 38 Road ATV trail in northern Sawyer County on the morning and early afternoon of Sept 18th.


RIDERS TO WATCH

Chequamegon 40 Men

Frankie Andreu: Dearborn, Mich. - long-time US Postal Service veteran. Instrumental in helping Lance Armstrong win his first three Tours.

John Devine: Specialized, US national team - Now that he's 18, the two-time Short & Fat winner is finally old enough to ride the long race. He has the speed to win it.

Travis Brown: Trek/VW - former Olympic and US team member. 1999 national mountain bike champion. Currently second in the NCS series, the US pro mountain bike circuit.

Jeff Hall: Salsa Cycles, Apple Valley, Minn - 1995 winner; won the 2003 Ore-to-Shore race in Marquette, Mich. beating Steve Tilford by nearly two minutes. He's hungry for another win.

Brian Matter: PWC Cycling, Sheboygan, Wis - 2004 winner Ore-to-Shore, 3rd in 2003 Chequamegon 40.

Doug Swanson: Trek/VW, Minnetonka, Minn - 2003 champion in convincing fashion winning by nearly eight minutes. Third in 2001 and 2002.

Steve Tilford: Moots/Shimano, Topeka, Kan - He keeps ticking, even at 42. Three-time Chequamegon 40 champion. Second in 2003. Crafty, always in the thick of things.


Chequamegon 40 Women

Kerry Barnholt: Subaru/Gary Fisher, Los Altos, Calif. 12th in 2003 World Championships.

Anne Grabowski: Penn Cycles, St Anthony, Minn. Runner-up in 2001 Chequamegon 40, third in 2002 and 2003.

Sue Haywood: Trek/VW, Davis, West Vir. 2003 Velo News Mountain Biker of the Year. 2003 NORBA national short track champion.

Sara Kylander-Johnson: Trek/Ski Hut, Duluth, Minn. Second in both 2002 and 2003. 2003 NORBA expert champion and 2003 Wisconsin Off-Road Series (WORS) champion.

Kyia Malenkovich: St. Cloud, Minn. 1999 Chequamegon 40 champion.

Catherine Walberg: Kenda Tires, Topeka, Kan. 1997, 2000 and 2001 Chequamegon 40 champion, runner-up in 2002.


Short & Fat Men

Jimmy Feely: Penn Cycles, Eagan, Minn. Second in 2003 Short & Fat, Third in 2002.

Jesrin Gaier: Riverbrook, Seeley, Wis. Up and coming young local rider. 2004 winner of the Fantasy 50.

Short & Fat Women

Cindy Storm, Trek, Savage, Minn. Ten-time Short & Fat winner.

Diane Tremblay: Hayward, Wis. 2001 Short & Fat champion.

 

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