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Lake Macbride State Park trails open to bikers for first time in 30 years

Lake Macbride Fat Tire Classic is on Saturday

Jon Yetley, who owns Sugar Bottom Bikes, stands for a photo with his fat tire bicycle on the Lake Macbride spillway at Lake Macbride State Park in Solon on Friday, Feb. 23, 2018. The park will host a bike ride for the first time in three decades. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Jon Yetley, who owns Sugar Bottom Bikes, stands for a photo with his fat tire bicycle on the Lake Macbride spillway at Lake Macbride State Park in Solon on Friday, Feb. 23, 2018. The park will host a bike ride for the first time in three decades. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
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SOLON — Jon Yetley, Nate Kullbom, and Jay Proffitt scrambled down the muddy slope from a trail in Lake Macbride State Park down to a sandy beach on Friday.

They were trying to determine whether to include the beach section in a new bike event scheduled for this Saturday called the Lake Macbride Fat Tire Classic. They decided to raise the difficulty level and include the beach, they said.

The route will be a challenge, for sure, but the diverse scenery will be hard to beat, they said.

“There’s not going to be any boring parts,” said Kullbom, a staff member at Sugar Bottom Bikes in North Liberty.

As part of the event, cyclists will get a chance to ride the trails of Lake Macbride State Park possibly for the first time in 30 years, they said.

Sugar Bottom Bikes and the Solon Centennial Lions Club of Solon are putting on the first of what they hope to be an annual event. It will have an option of a 22-mile race or 14-mile ride. The event starts at 10 a.m.

Both options begin and end at 301 S. Iowa St. in Solon, which is the office for the Lions Clubs and the old Solon middle school. The route will include stretches of pea gravel, single track, rolling wooded hiking trails, snowmobile trails, beach, traversing the spillway between Lake Macbride and the Iowa River, and a little bit of road.

“We talked about coming up with an interesting race and ride in the area that hasn’t been done before,” said Yetley, owner of Sugar Bottom Bikes.

Proceeds will benefit Centennial Lions, which is a newly launched chapter. The organization supports numerous causes including cochlear implants, hearing aids, eye screening, Camp Courageous, the Iowa Lions Eye Bank and more.

Because of the wet conditions, only fat tire bikes will be allowed to participate. Thinner-tired bikes would potentially do more damage to the trails, they said.

“Fat tires minimize the damage,” Proffitt said. “We told Ron (Puettmann, park manager) we would have zero impact when we left.”

He said they plan to repair the trails if any damage is done, as well as clean up after themselves.

Among the features, cyclist can expect trail-side bacon strips — a growing tradition in fat tire races — and beer from ReUnion Brewery in Coralville.

Entree fees are $45 for racers and $35 for riders the day of the event, or a $10 discount if completed in advance at www.bikereg.com/lakemacbridefattireclassic.

l Comments: (319) 339-3177; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

Lake Macbride Fat Tire Classic

l When: 10 a.m., Saturday

l Events: 22-mile race costs $45 day of event; 14-mile ride costs $35 day of event.

l Where: Both rides begin at 301 S. Iowa St. in Solon

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