Eventually the sun will shine and spring will arrive. When it does, it will be welcomed by area bike enthusiasts who are ready to hit the roads and trails across the state.
One event that is sure to kick off the biking season is the annual Minnesota Ironman Bicycle Ride, which takes place Sunday, April 28. For the past 46 years more than 100,000 riders have make the ride the start of the spring riding season. For the first time in the ride’s history, the Minnesota Ironman is moving to the scenic St. Croix River Valley of Washington County. The various routes will start and finish at the Washington County fairgrounds in Stillwater.
For those unfamiliar with the Minnesota Ironman Bicycle Ride, it isn’t as daunting as it sounds. It is the longest running bicycle ride in the state of Minnesota. And don’t let the word Ironman scare you. It’s not an endurance test for only the most seasoned athletes—the ride is open to riders of all ages and abilities. Routes have been designed for the novice and expert athlete alike, in 15-, 25-, 50- and 100-mile increments to accommodate all riders as they look to begin their 2013 cycling season. And there is still time to sign up: Registration will remain open until next week, April 15. Each year the ride attracts between 4,000 and 6,000 riders. Who knows, maybe more riders will hit the road with the event’s new location.
“Our riders deserve to explore new and fabulous cycling routes,” said Jon Ridge, ride director, in a press release. “When we began looking, we could think of no finer location than the Scenic St. Croix River Valley.” The mapped routes will take riders through winding hills and scenic river views and the communities of Stillwater, Afton, Lake Elmo, Scandia, Marine on the St. Croix, and Oak Park Heights. Short routes are available for new riders and families, along with the challenging 100-mile option for true Ironmen and Ironwomen. Training packages are also available for anyone seeking additional support from a trainer.
If you like a scenic view from atop your bike, get your spring started right. For more information about biking and Minnesota’s immense network of trails, check out our Biking Guide, produced in partnership with Explore Minnesota and Pedal Minnesota.
Minnesota Ironman Bicycle Ride
Sunday, April 28, 2013
Washington County Fairgrounds Base Camp