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Fat-biking event to celebrate Ground Hog Day

WINTER SPORTS — The region's first bicycling event of the year will bring out fat bikes to celebrate Groundhog Day at St. Maries, Idaho.

The Groundhog Day Fat Bike Festival is technically called Murmelteirtagfettfahrradsfest, which the organizers enjoy pointing out is a German-named ride on an American holiday at a Mexican restaurant.

Here are the details:

What: A Fat Bike Cross Country Ride at the Christmas Hills Recreation Area trail system. 

When: Starting at noon on Sunday, Feb. 2.

Distance: Around 15 miles of snow-groomed trails with optional technical adventures.

Why: To celebrate the time-honored tradition of using an over-sized rodent to predict the coming of Spring.  Also, to throw a party after being cold and wet for four months.

Where:  Start and finish at St. Maries Golf Course/Casa de Oro parking lot, 900 Golf Course Rd. in St. Maries.

Cost:   $5 donation requested for mid-ride snacks and gas for the groomer. Sign up day of event. Any extra cash will be donated to the St. Maries Masonic Lodge Restoration Fund.

Says organizer Tom Miller: “The Christmas Hill trail system is multi-use and is open year-round for everyone to enjoy.  Come to St. Maries and give it a spin before the ride.” 

For current trail information or questions, contact Tom Miller at The Bike Shop at Hughes Ace,  (208) 245-6544 email tommillermn@hotmail.com.

Cyclists revive criterium race in downtown; set for Sept. 8

CYCLING — The Lilac City Twilight Criterium will debut on Sept. 8 to take over a few downtown streets with exciting tight-group racing — and six tight corners — from 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.   The event, which tests riders skills at high-speed cornering in a fun spectator sport, will be followed by a toned-down kids event and a chance for citizens to ride the course to 11 p.m. while it's still blocked to traffic.

The criterium is the just announced extended finale of the 2012 Inland Road Race Series presented by Larry H. Miller Downtown Dealerships and Spokane Rocket Velo.

The downtown criterium had a previous short run of popularity peaking with the nation's best cyclists flying the streets during the U.S. Olympic Cycling Trials in 1984 and 1988.

The event kicks off a weekend of bike-centric events with bike education activities and bike tuneups at REI followed the next day, Sept. 9, by  Spokefest—Spokane’s largest bike-related event.

Lilac City Crit Expo is being organized for the sidelines of the course. 

To reserve a space at the expo, contact Aaron Edwards

Jederman Gran Fondo debuts Saturday on open rural roads

CYCLING — Local cycling guru  Michael Emde has an enticing tidbit for participants in Saturday's Jederman Gran Fondo:

There are no traffic lights and there are only 20 over the length of the 112 mile course… The forecast is for 84F and very little wind!

The Jedermann Gran Fondo is a timed 112 mile cycling ride and cycling festival that will start and finish in Cheney, says Emde, event organizer.

The course in this inaugural event will visit the back roads and farming communities of Sprague, Tokio, Harrington, Edwall and back to Cheney.

In Europe, timed recreational events have been around for decades and each country has a different name for them. In Germany they’re called “Jedermann Rennen's” which translates to “Everyone’s Race”. In Italy they call it a “Gran Fondo” which translates to “Great Ride”. Combine the two and “Jedermann Gran Fondo”  translates to “Everyone’s Great Ride.”

Custom medals will be awarded Saturday for times under 6 hours, under 8 hours and under 10 hours.

Cyclists can enter as an individual OR as a 2-person relay team.

This ride includes mechanical support, food stops, a post race meal, dessert, libations, music, raffles and more.

Register here.

Mount Rainier ultra bike ride registration deadline looms

CYCLING — RAMROD, the grueling Ride Around Mount Rainier in One Day, isn't until July 26, but Saturday (March 31) is the deadline to register for the lottery drawing to get in to one of the region's premier thigh-busting bicycling events.

Sponsored by the Redmond Cycling Club, RAMROD is a challenging ultra-ride of 152 miles and 10,000 feet of climbing.  The nature of the ride, with three major climbs and a route through Mount Rainier National Park, requires the club to limit the event to 800 cyclists.

Applications are accepted through March 31 for the lottery to determine participants.

Cost: $105.

Drawing is April 12.