COPPER HARBOR - Hundreds of mountain bikers are rolling north for Sunday's 16th annual Fat Tire Festival.
More than 350 registrations are expected for the event, which features events for all ages, ranging from the 50-yard, 1-mile and 3-mile Jr. Fat Tire events, to the 14- and 24-mile main races.
The 24-mile riders will start at 2 p.m. with a parade rollout through town starting at Ninth Street, followed by the 14-milers five minutes later, starting from Tenth Street.
Todd McFadden of Duluth, Minn. crosses the finish line with the best time in the men’s 13-mile race at the Fat Tire Festival in Copper Harbor in 2008. The course is the same length for Sunday’s event, but a re-measurement found it to be closer to 14 miles. (DMG photo by K.D. Warvie)
The course includes difficult climbs and all sorts of terrain, including bedrock, cobbles, roots and bridges. Riders will head toward Lake Manganese, then follow trails around Copper Harbor. Spectators wanting to catch a glimpse of on-course action are encouraged to go to Keweenaw Mountain Lodge, where a variety of vantage points will be available.
All races will finish in Grant Township Park in Copper Harbor.
Last year's men's champion in the longest distance was Darrin Braun of Butler, Wis., finishing in 1 hour, 55 minutes and 3.9 seconds. The shorter men's race was won by Todd McFadden of Duluth, Minn., in 1:06:26.3. On the women's side, Diana McFadden of Duluth was fastest, in 2:29:45.9, and Kathy Abbott of Atlantic Mile was the shorter race winner in 1:28:42.6.
On-site registration will be 3-5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday at the Copper Harbor Welcome Center. The Jr. Fat Tire races start at 12:30 p.m. Sunday.
After the awards, the Squeaky Clean Cretins will play on the outdoor stage in the park, followed by a late-night performance of the Mojo Perry Band at Zik's Bar and Grill.