Hammer Tunes and Tires Festival in Friant
Sep 27, 2018 11:00AM
● By Jordan Venema
Story by Jordan Venema
Photos courtesy of Hammer Tunes and Tires Festival
IN 2015, Fresno State University instructor and avid bicyclist Edward Lund died doing what he loved: racing. The accident left ripples in the tight-knit cycling community, which responded within the year by creating a race in his honor.
“His family wanted to embrace and honor him by creating a ride that really spoke to the style of riding that he liked to do, and the to the places that he appreciated,” says Carlos Perez, the organizer for Hammer Tunes and Tires Festival.
The family and organizers decided to hold the Hammer in what Perez describes as a frontier, on the outskirts of the Sierra National Forest around Millerton Lake, not far from his Fresno home.
“The race takes place in an area that many would consider to be an unlikely destination,” continues Perez. “The whole region is an undiscovered gem, and it’s hard to find places with that caliber of riding with such little traffic and such beauty.”
The race was first held in 2016, and Perez admits the then 95-mile ascent with gravel pitches was a challenging ride for many.
“So in the second year, we made some changes, adjusting and altering the route for a broader audience,” he says. “Now we’re trying to focus more on the family and community aspect, so that Hammer Road Rally is evolving into an experience that’s a lot broader than just a bike ride.”
With three different routes, the Hammer still attracts bicyclists interested in diverse races. From the 26-mile moderate to the 102-mile strenuous route, the three courses range from elevation climb to flat surface, each providing a different experience. The hope, says Perez, is to encourage camaraderie among racers, from the competitive to the casual.
And compared to most organized rides, he says, the approximately $50 to $80 registration fee is a bargain. Registration will remain open until the day of the race.
The Hammers Tunes and Tires Festival has broadened more than its routes, and beginning this year will include a cultural component of food, art and especially music.
Five bands, including X-Factor semi-finalist Jeff Brinkman and Liverpool-based Banners, will take the main stage, adding a new element to the Hammer race. Bicyclist registration includes entry to the music festival, otherwise tickets are $20 for adults and free for children under 13.
Even beyond the music, event organizers are making sure the race commemorates the memory of Edward Lund.
“The idea of Hammer was to commemorate his life and give back to the community there, and raise money for causes he was passionate about. So it’s not a memorial ride, but a celebration.”
Because Lund was an artist and art instructor at Fresno State University, the Hammer Tunes and Tire Festival has a charitable component, raising money toward grants for aspiring art students at Fresno State. The proceeds will be distributed through the Edward O. Lund foundation.
Since the race is entering its third year, and still growing, Perez says the festival is still determining how much will be given to the foundation.
But with the help of the underwriting of sponsors like Mad Duck Brewing Company, Coca-Cola and Carl’s Junior, the Hammer Tunes and Tire Festival is in a good position to capitalize on an even larger event, which means a larger audience.
“The biking community is super tight knit,” adds Perez. “What happened was a good reminder of how fleeting things can be.” •
Hammer Tunes and Tires Festival • Millerton Lake, Friant
Oct. 20, 11 am – 5 pm • www.thehammerTT.com
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