FAIRFAX (KPIX) — COVID-19 didn’t stop an annual Marin County Thanksgiving Day tradition called the “Appetite Seminar,” said to be the longest-running mountain bike event in the country.
It’s arguably one of the best (as well as the oldest) mountain biking events in the Bay Area and features a 20-mile trail ride along fire roads that comprise the Pine Mountain Loop.
“It’s just a real special place out here, just quiet and serene,” said Larkspur resident Rich Gutierrez.
Some of the pioneers of mountain biking gathered at the Fairfax Theatre on Thanksgiving in 1975 and, 45 years later, hundreds of mountain bikers ride for hours — working up a big appetite.
“This is my first turkey ride and I’m really excited,” said San Rafael resident Anne Andree.
The start of the Pine Mountain Loop Trail is a 45-minute, uphill ride out of downtown Fairfax. The climb isn’t easy and the corners can be dangerous.
“It’s a black diamond run, good 24-mile loop. When you drop down there are no houses, there’s nothing, it’s really wild,” said San Rafael resident Ray Wilson.
Beginning on this trail, pioneers of mountain trail bicycling like Charlie Kelly and Gary Fisher promoted races like this. The idea behind the evemt is to burn a lot of calories and gobble up a little more come turkey time.
“It goes back to the history of the sport. The early pioneers of MTB grew up here and this is one of their organized rides,” said Mill Valley native Joe Lawwill.
“Going up and down the hill, views are amazing as are the colors of the fall,” Andree said.
In this pandemic-plagued year, turnout was noticeably diminished.
“It was really trimmed down this year,” said Fairfax resident Jean Deal. “Lot of people did alternate rides this year.”
“Normally there’s 500 to 900 hundred people, it depends on who you believe,” Wilson said.
“It’s just a shame … there aren’t so many people out here but this is something you have to do,” Lawwill said.