On Saturday, May 3rd, Northern Michigan’s favorite off road bike race begins near Traverse City: the aptly named Mud, Sweat & Beers Fat Tire Fest.  Combining Northern Michigan brews, biking and a charitable kick-back to its host, Mt. Holiday, this is a Northern Michigan outdoor event for mountain bikers of all ages.

With a variety of races to choose from—from the 22-mile ‘Stout’ race to the quarter-mile ‘Root-beer’ ride for the kids—and a post-race tent stocked with double-digit kegs of Right Brain Brewery beer, Mud, Sweat and Beers is an all day extravaganza for cycling and craft brew aficionados.

There are still open slots for racers in the quarter-mile and 2-mile (‘Ginger Ale’) races, yet the event is equally entertaining from the sideline as it is in the saddle: when the dirt-riddled racers near the finish line, the final stretch in front of the grandstand takes riders through a treacherous slalom course down Mt. Holiday’s face before navigating a rather ceremonious mud pit. It’s a messy bit of Northern Michigan fun, and a great way to welcome spring.

The first rendition of Mud, Sweat & Beers occurred 5 years ago, when a bunch of friends training for the Ice Man bike race realized they could host their own off-road competition and raise money for Mt. Holiday, whose trails the grouped biked.  As race coordinator Becky Kalajian recounts, that first race sold out within months of its being announced, and the group was able to hand $20,000 over to Mt. Holiday to keep the non-profit ski hill afloat despite their financial troubles.

Food and beverages will be available at the race for purchase, while racers will enjoy some light snacks and refreshments before the gun—and the opportunity for a pre-race massage from sponsor.  Test drive a Jeep from Bill Marsh, and the dealership will donate $10 to Mt Holiday; Mt. Holiday’s zip-line will also be open.

Visit MudSweatAndBeers.com for more information.

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Photo(s) by Mud, Sweat & Beers Fat Tire Fest