MARQUETTE - John Becker says it's no mystery why the Marquette Bike Jam draws so many participants.
"It's a great opportunity for anyone who loves biking (to participate)," the event organizer said. "There's something for everyone, whether it be a racer who is pushed to the limit or a recreational biker who just wants to have fun with friends."
The second annual event begins Friday in Marquette and runs through Sunday. Various races are scheduled for all age groups and both male and female riders, including the Trail Jam, Gravity Jam and Traffic Jam.
Phil Ott is shown riding down the rock garden during the Marquette Bike Jam Gravity Jam downhill race at Marquette Mountain on June 30, 2012. Bike Jam returns for its second year this weekend, running Friday through Sunday in downtown Marquette and at Marquette Mountain. (Journal file photos)
Ryan Grim heads north on Washington Street during the fat tire race on June 29, 2012 at Marquette Bike Jam Speed Jam events. Bike Jam returns for its second year this weekend, running Friday through Sunday in downtown Marquette and at Marquette Mountain. (Journal file photos)
Various race distances, from the shorter criterium events in downtown Marquette on Friday to the 50- and 100-kilometer races starting at Marquette Mountain on Sunday, are included.
Becker said each race has its devoted racers and followers.
"But the mountain bike events, in terms of the number of riders entered, are probably the most popular," he said. "The gravity events draw racers from all over the Midwest, like Chicago, Wisconsin and downstate. Even from New Jersey.
Marquette Bike Jam schedule of events
4-7 p.m., final registration and packet pickup; 6:20 p.m., Mountain Bikes; 7 p.m., Chicks; 7:45 p.m., Dudes; 8:30 p.m., Serious - all timed races from 30-45 minutes each event. Clunker: one lap interspersed between the other races.
10 a.m., Trail Jam (cross country and mountain bikes), 12 and 25-mile events, South Marquette Trailhead. Also, Gravity Jam, practice, Marquette Mountain.
Noon: Trail Jam (kids).
1 p.m., Gravity Jam, downhill start, Marquette Mountain
4 p.m., Gravity Jam, downhill and dual slalom start
10 a.m., Traffic Jam, 50- and 100-kilometer Grand Fondo, Marquette Mountain.
1 p.m., Family Fondo, 25-k, Marquette YMCA
For more information on Bike Jam,
"The riders love the downhill (Marquette Mountain) course."
He added the criterium events in downtown Marquette are both competitive and spectator friendly.
Becker said there are good vantage points to view the races along a basic route from the post office to Getz's, to the Marq-Tran building and back to the post office.
Becker said as of Monday afternoon, about 150-160 people had registered for the weekend.
"We'll more than double that number by Friday night," he said. "Last year, we had about 400 register, and I imagine we'll get there again."
Registration will be taken online through midnight tonight on the event's website at mqtbikejam.com, from 4-7 p.m. Friday at the Marquette Commons and for a limited time Saturday morning at Marquette Mountain.
Entry fees are based on ages and the races entered.
Proceeds from the weekend will go to the YMCA of Marquette County, the Noquemanon Trail Network and the KMK Cycling Club of Marquette.
The Marquette Country Visitors Bureau and the Marquette Downtown Development Authority have been instrumental in the development of the Bike Jam, Becker said.
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251.