By: Kevin Rouse
Going into its 19th year, the Kernville Fat Tire Festival is a well-established late-season staple. One of the older mountain bike festivals in the country, this year's edition will take place October 22-24.
Presented by John Stallone of Mountain and River Adventures, the festival features three days of guided, shuttled rides on the beautiful singletrack of the Sequoia National Forest. Riders will also have the opportunity to test their mettle at several different bike rodeo events including bike limbo, wheel tossing, wheel bowling, and a bike skills challenge. Also on tap for the weekend, Giant and Specialized will be on hand; offering demo rides on their latest and greatest in addition to a New Belgium Brewing "tasting" on Saturday.
Stallone, who began riding in the early seventies with Gary Fisher and Tom Ritchey, started the festival in 1991 looking to provide a "good, old-school festival with good rides and good people." This proved to be a winning formula, as now he describes the festival as "a family reunion of riders" with a large contingent of festival goers having a nearly perfect attendance record. There's always room in the family however. "We love taking the new blood and showing 'em a good time," says Stallone.
Attempts to do just that will surely be aided by the current trail report no doubt. "We've just had a bit of rain so the trails are going to be phenomenal," says Stallone. Shuttled rides with a good mix of climbing and descending over an elevation range of 9000-2600 feet will be served up two to three times daily, with a first-come first-serve policy in effect. Featured trails include "Just Outstanding" (named by Stallone himself in 1986), "Cannell Plunge", and a relatively new offering, "Portuguese Pass". Interested in heading to Kernville? Check this out before you go. And this.