Sunday, June 14, 2009

Fat Tire 2009 Festival

Blue Mountain Park - Peekskill, NY

Fat Tire 2009 Festival - June 14th, 2009

We arrived at 10 AM and stayed until 4:45 PM.

It was raining and miserable in the morning but we jumped right in and wandered off to explore, taking the advice of which trails to visit from two friends we met who were veteran riders in this park.

Although we were equipped with a good map, once we started riding--without a compass and without ANY labeled trail signs--we were pretty much lost most of the time!

AM Riding
After riding a bit on the wider main trails, we shot off the main trail to try Baileys (a recommended trail) and ended up on a roller which was a dead end ! We saw some riders in the distance and bivouacked across the forest to find a well-tread path. Next we discovered Depew Park, full of rollers and quick twists and turns. It was fun and not too outrageous (i.e., scary and difficult for the old fart!).

Wandering through another part of the Blue Mountain Park, we climbed a huge rock face, rode a bunch of nice woodsy single-track and ended up on a fire road. Believing we were much farther south on the map and arguing, Greg rode out to the main entrance and confirmed my fear: We were only up at Maple Ave, not way down near the Shooting Range as Greg had thought (and I had hoped)! (see map)

Oh well, we jumped back in the woods and rode a lot more really nice woodsy single-track. Trying to head to Stinger (highly recommended by our friends) we ended up hiking our bikes up a section of really steep fire road. Once it leveled off a bit, we rode and I suddenly got a flat tire! Like a complete idiot I didn't have a spare tube or even a tire pump with me!

Fortunately, a few bikers rode by and offered to help with a spare tube. A good samaritan fixed up my back tire but as he remounted it on the bike, the input nozzle broke off the tube. I thanked them anyway and started a long slow trek down the hill walking my disabled bike, telling Greg to not wait for me but ride ahead and enjoy the downhill.

AM Wanderings AM explorations

PM Riding
I rendezvoused with Greg at the main festival site. He had been there for at least 20 minutes! Lunch was from a burger/hot dog BBQ booth and we caught the tail end of the Skinny Contest (We missed all the previous organized activities: Limbo Ride, Kids Race, etc.).

We ran into Ryan and Kyaiera again (our two veteran rider friends) and Ryan offered not only to replace my tire (he was prepared!) but also to lead us on a ride and show us his favorite trails on the east side. After "professionally" fixing my flat, Ryan took off, leading us uphill for the afternoon adventure. Parts of the ride/climb were fun, parts were pretty brutal. There were "hike-a-bike" only sections climbing the mountain and although the sun finally came out, the woods were still damp and steamy. The truth be told, I thought we ended doing most of the MX Monster trail but I don't remember exactly how we got there! (see map)

Anyway, once we got to the end of the endless climbing, the trail was intense. Twists and turns, rock jumps, rock obstacles and logs to navigate and stretches of smooth flowing singletrack. Part way down my pedal fell off and since I didn't have any front brakes*, the ride down was challenging. I got stuck being a group of 12 or so riders and Ryan, Kyaiera and Greg ended up far ahead, That's OK. Greg got to ride hard with Ryan so he was happy!
*the hydraulics blew out last week - I was scheduled for first available shop visit: only available on the following Monday!
Well, the three of them waited patiently for me at the bottom of the singletrack and we then tore off down a long downhill fireroad at top speed.

Afternoon Explorations

Back to the Festival Grounds
Finally ending up back at the Festival, we listened at the Raffle, hoping to win something! Alas, none of us were lucky although they gave away a bike, helmets, and plenty of stuff to quite a number of contestants!

Dirty, sweaty, caked in mud and oozing a bit of blood here and there (like the rest of the crowd!), we said our goodbyes. Greg and I tried to clean up a bit - our intention was to stop by at the choir picnic next. Unfortunately, we arrived in Stamford too late and ended up going to Hope Street Pizza and chowing down on some hearty Greek fare.

Ryan and Kyaiera

Fat Tire Festival 2009 Panorama

Below is a quickly-cobbled-together panorama of the Festival during the raffle at the close of the festival (use scroller to view full panorama)
Fat Tire Festival 2009 - Panorama