Wednesday July 25, 2012 | 10:22 AM

Unless you happen to live in Aroostook County, the Nordic Heritage Center in Presque Isle is a long haul. But driving to The County with a couple bikes on your bike rack may make it seem to go by a little more quickly.

The Nordic Fat Tire Festival takes place for the eighth time this weekend with some pretty cool events for both cyclists and spectators. Located at the Nordic Heritage Sports Center, the fest features a 12-hour race starting at 9 a.m. Saturday and a mountain bike biathlon and a downhill race on Sunday.

"Our festival is absolutely worth the trek," said Kate Goodwin, part of the organizing committee. "Our facility and trails are frequently referred to as some of the best in the state."

This year's festival tagline is "FATisfaction Guaranteed." According to Goodwin, that statement includes the events, the registration fees, camping facilities, family activities and more.

"We strive to have all our events be as family-friendly as possible," Goodwin said. "If you can turn a race into a mini-vacation for the family, then it's a win-win for everyone."

The youth race takes place at 11 a.m. Saturday. The youngest riders will take on a paved loop with older kids hitting the single track. There's also a terrain park and a dirt jump rally on Saturday night.

Lower registration fees have been extended through Friday at 8 p.m. and you can register (for a slightly higher price) on the day of the event. Or head north and watch the action. As this video shows - and is Goodwin said - it will be worth the drive:

About the Author

Karen Beaudoin lives in Portland and is the web editor for

Her Pedal On blog offers info, events and advice for people who love their bikes more than, well ... almost anything.

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