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Fat Tire Fest 2020, October  16-18, 2020

Fat Tire Fest 2020, YES It Is Happening!!

What’s Different This Year?

READ THIS for all changes for Fat Tire Festival 2020, really, please read this!

First up, and most importantly, Fat Tire Fest is happening this year, noteworthy for sure!  We are making a number of changes to help us deal with our new friend Rona.  We have modified the activities to help us keep the group sizes small and make sure everyone is safe at the event, while doing everything possible to keep the FUN of the event too.

Where you stay is where it all happens this year.  The food, the drink, the socializing, the sleeping…everything. No large gatherings at the expo area, no normal Fat Tire Challenge, no big buffet meals at the dining hall. All a bit different, and still an awesomely FUN weekend outdoors with bikes, brews and friends.

This means you need to bring one extra piece of gear this year, a camp chair, for use at the unit for meals and chilling by your campfire.  Yes, each unit will have their own fire pit, and we will supply all the firewood needed, keeping you in fire-warmed comfort each evening.  Meals will be delivered to your unit, as will all the liquid refreshments to help you stay hydrated and sleep well.

To help us load the units most effectively we are changing the requested information from unit preference to the names of other attendees who you would like to be housed with at the unit level.  Each of the 12 units has at least four and as many as eight treehouses and each treehouse has at least 6 bunks. We will be loading the units to have only one family unit per treehouse.  If you have already registered, please email us (info@bikesurgeon.com) a list of other attendees that you are interested in being in the same unit with. We will try to accommodate all unit requests.

Covid Considerations

First and foremost, if you are sick or showing symptoms of Covid please stay home and help us all stay safe and healthy.  When at the event, social distance of 6’ plus and masks are your responsibility, please do your part to not make this an issue.  Please do not congregate in large groups; while large gatherings have been a key piece of the event in years past they are not this year. This will be significant change, and we are relying on everyone to be responsible and do their part to help us keep the group sizes small.

We also need everyone to wear their mask when 6’ of social distance is not possible. We ask that you always have a mask with you for the unforeseen times when you might not be in a place to keep social distance (i.e. mechanical, incident, a close talker).  There will be multiple hand wash stations, including one at each unit, along with hand sanitizer stations throughout camp. Finally, on the Covid front, if you are registered already, and would like to push your registration to next year, just let us know at info@bikesurgeon.com and we will get you all set for FTF 2021.

Expo Area (yeah…no) Fat Tire Fun and Evening Activities

For FTF 2020 there are unavoidable changes Rona has hit us with.  The expo area, gone, centralized events, gone, big buffet meals and kegs galore, all gone.  The demo fleets from our manufactures, also gone, so unlike year’s past, there will not be a large selection of demo bikes; please make sure to bring your bike for the weekend of riding.  Those are the un-fun things; now on to the ways we will still have a rocking good time with our weekend in the woods.

First up, you will be outside, enjoying the great outdoors on a beautiful weekend in the amazing Shawnee National Forest with some of your closest friends.  We will have tons of great riding for you all weekend long, with guided group rides on both Friday and Saturday.  We will still have awesome onsite mechanic support to keep your ride rolling all weekend long.

We are planning some fun, socially dispersed activities and entertainment for both Friday and Saturday evenings with music pouring from the Grotto throughout the camp valley for all to enjoy.  Drink deliveries happening to each unit all night long, along with a first-time-ever, FTF S’more fixings for your campfire.

Food and Drink

All of the quality and great taste you have come to expect at Fat Tire Fest!  Dinner Friday night, Breakfast and Lunch fixings Saturday morning, Dinner Saturday night and a great Sunday morning brunch, all delivered right to your unit, think concierge level service…in the woods!  Drink deliveries happening all night via the “Beverage Cart” to help keep the campfire at your unit FUN.

Other Fat Tire Fun, just a bit different due to the covid considerations. We know it’s not all about the riding, it’s also the other fun, so we have been working hard to make that happen in many ways some new and some the same.  There will be another super fun and slightly longer Saturday afternoon MTB race, an all new FTF Scavenger Extravaganza for the big FTF prize giveaways,  and a few more things to do that will be unveiled upon your arrival at the event.

The Riding

2020 brings another addition to the new mountain bike trails within Camp Ondessonk property providing Fat Tire Festival participants almost forty miles of trails right on site. The new addition includes a fun downhill run with a couple drops off the bluff-line, fun,fun, fun!     We also have access to the Lake Glendale Recreation Area, with it’s 20+ mile trail network that is a short drive away from Camp to the southeast.  If mountain biking isn’t for you, there are tons of gravel roads to explore and Southern Illinois’s only rail trail, Tunnel Hill Trail.

There will be guided group rides both Friday afternoon and Saturday morning/early afternoon with options for everyone, from mellow family paced low speed jaunts to full-gas intense rides.  All rides will have a specific meet up spot and departure time listed on the event schedule that you will receive as you check into the event.  Participants will also receive a hard copy of the trail maps at check in along with GPS files that will be emailed to all participants the week prior to the event.

Saturday we will also lead a ride on the scenic Tunnel Hill Trail for those looking for something very chill. This ride is an out and back so you can go as long or as short as you want and the trail is located just 10 minutes from Camp.

The Venue

Camp Ondessonk, located in the heart of the Shawnee National Forest, is an amazing destination that has served as the location for Fat Tire Fest for the last seven years.  They provide us with treehouse accommodations for all, have tent camping options if you would rather, and a number of spots for RV’s too (no hookups though), let us know when you sign up which you would rather do.

The treehouses give you the outdoor experience like no other, without the hassles of packing all your camping gear. Think open air sleeping with a roof over your head, no doors or screens to interrupt your enjoyment of all things outdoors while keeping you and your gear dry and off the dirt.  Each treehouse has a number of bunks, all with mattresses, and to keep it real none have power. So, you need a sleeping bag, a camp chair, some clothes, your bike, riding gear and a good flashlight. We will have a charging station at the Trading Post with more than enough room for all your devices to get a refresh.  There are flush toilets and warm showers conveniently located throughout camp to get you back to fresh after a long ride.  Each unit is equipped with handwash stations this year.

The Simple Schedule

Friday, October 16

  • 1PM Registration Opens:
    • Drive through luggage drop at your unit available thru 6PM,
    • 6PM-10PM Luggage drop service
  • 1PM The Trails are Open!
  • 2PM-4PM Guided MTB rides for every skill level
  • 2:30PM Group Hike
  • 6PM Dinner at your Unit
  • 6PM-11PM, The “Beverage Cart” will be delivering goodness right to your unit including S’More Fixin’s
  • 7PM Fat Tire Evening Fun TBA

 Saturday, October 17

  • 8AM Breakfast at your unit
    • Lunch fixin’s too
  • 9AM The Trails are OPEN!!
  • 10AM Guided MTB Group Rides
    • At the CampO trail network and Glendale trail network
    • Group ride options for all levels
  • 10:30AM Mellow Tunnel Hill Trail Ride
    • Departs CampO via car at 10:30AM
    • Super fun/super chill rail trail ride
  • 3PM “The Race” MTB race around Lake Echelon on the CampO network.
  • 6PM Dinner at the Unit
  • 6-11PM, The “Beverage Cart” is back! And they have S’More fixin’s too!
  • 7PM Fat Tire Evening Fun TBA

Sunday, October 18

  • 9AM Brunch in Bed….if you want, or you can eat in your camp chair, either way its at your unit, enjoy.
  • 10AM-12PM Ride your bike, pack your gear (you can drive to your unit), have some fun!
  • FTF 2020 is in the books, time to go home and post up all the fun to FaceBook!