There was so much going on at the Kenda Fest, it was tough to keep track: group rides for everyone from kids on up to hardcores (and even some for those roadie people), skills clinics, tech seminars, mud-slogging and wheelie contests, a scavenger hunt, and a lot more. But the best thing about the Fest was the laid-back, convivial atmosphere. It was an old-fashioned mountain biking hoedown.
The Mud Bog Contest has been a staple of the Fest for quite a few years now. “Cheating” by carrying your bike was allowed. That’s announcer extraordinaire Richard Fries in the background, still dressed in cycling gear from a ride but doing a kickass job on the microphone. (Don’t worryâ€”no trails were harmed in the making of the bog.)
FortunatelyÂ no children were lost in the bog.
Although there were no races at this event (which helped to keep that laid-back atmosphere), plenty of pros were on hand to share their skills. Eric Carter was spotted leading out the wheelie contest, Marla Streb gave a thorough five-hour downhill clinic, and various other way-too-fit-looking people in spotless team kit could be seen riding along on the trails with us mere mortals. It’s one thing to spectate at a race and spot your favorite pro on the other side of the tape; it’s quite another to get to ride along behind him or her and try to match moves.
We held tech seminars in our Dirt Rag Salon big tent, derailleur adjustment on Friday and suspension tuning on Saturday. We also had a special guest, Frank “The Welder” Wadelton, give a talk on frame materials and geometry to a rapt audience that included a few framebuilders, both novice and experienced, who were eager to learn from a master.
Here Justin and Karen go through the steps of setting up air pressure in shocks.
The EMS folks (well, one of them) also held a downhill bike tuning seminar that our own huckster, Andrew Crumpler, was very interested in.
The EMS folks also came with a giant truck that everyone watched roll into the still-muddy field, sure it would get stuck… but it didn’t. Good thing, as the truck contained a climbing wall that provided a fun bit of cross-training.
At night the Dirt Rag Salon added an “O” and became a Saloonâ€”our good buddy “Bourbon” Lee Hollenbeck held bourbon tastings for twenty-five lucky participants.
On Saturday night, Kenda put on a Night Ride Scavenger Hunt for which nearly a hundred riders rolled out in the dark to search for glow sticks that were cashed in for prizes. Princeton Tec graciously provided lights for scavengers that didn’t have any.
Our Friday showing of Klunkerz, Billy Savage’s documentary of the early days of Marin mountain biking, was such a hit that we showed it again on Saturday (with a few repeat audience members). After the movie, the two-wheeled tribal gathering went on late into the night at the Saloon.
Sunday came, along with some more rain, but it didn’t seem to slow down the Fest, particularly the young grommets who continued riding around even in a downpour. But soon it was time to pack up and head out. There’s no doubt that we’ll be back next year to be part of the best party on two wheels.
Next up: a report on the new and cool stuff that vendors brought to the Fest expo.
Also check out our Gallery for lots more great photos.