Fat Tire riders have a blast | SierraSun.com

Fat Tire riders have a blast

The Tahoe Fat-Tire Festival rolled through Northstar-at-Tahoe over the weekend, challenging world class riders to one of the tougher downhill courses in the country.

To make the course even more difficult for those who qualified, the downhill, termed the Fox Five Gravity Downhill, had a new format with five riders racing head to head through terrain which would make even the most seasoned rider grab for the brakes.

“I think it’s going to be hard unless you’re in front,” Michael Ronning of Australia said before racing. “And then it’s still going to be hard.”

One of the top women’s professional riders in attendance was Kim Sonier of Flagstaff, Ariz. Sonier, who placed second in the dual slalom, sixth in the criterium and second in the downhill, enjoyed the low-key atmosphere of the festival.

“I’ve had a relaxing weekend. We get to come and ride and there’s not so much pressure so it’s fun,” Sonier said.

Dust kicked up on the dry course proved to be one of the larger obstacles for those unlucky enough to fall behind. Almost blinding at times, it forced riders to either slow down or barrel ahead with little or no vision; a dangerous prospect on such a tight and technical course where a mistake could throw you headfirst into rocks or trees.

“I started with 32 spokes,” said “Pistol” Pete Loncarevich, after a tangle in the first straight away with Kirt Voreis. “I probably ended with 15.”

Loncarevich went on to place 4th in the series which included a dirt criterium, dual slalom and the downhill.

“I rode like a bike thief trying to get down,” said Dave Cullinan, after winning the men’s downhill. Cullinan was followed closely by Rockwell, Phillip Tinstman, Joe Lawwill and Peter Berridge.

Sierra Sun E-mail: sun@tahoe.com

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