Registration for the 2013 Minnesota Ironman Bicycle Ride opens at midnight Friday, Feb. 1.
The annual rite of spring for Minnesota bicyclists will take place in the St. Croix Valley this year after spending 13 years in the south metro.
“We’re really excited,” Ride Director Jon Ridge said. “We really like the ride we produce, period; but this year’s change in venue and location is truly exciting.”
The ride started in Minneapolis 1967 and then moved to Buffalo, .
This year’s tour will take place April 28 on a new course winding through the river valley’s communities of Scandia, Stillwater, Afton, Lake Elmo, Marine on the St Croix and Oak Park Heights.
“The Washington County Fairgrounds will be a beehive of activity for cyclists,” Ridge said. “Everything comes back to the fairgrounds and that will add a really great social aspect to this year’s event.”
Race officials have devised four different routes for this year’s bike ride. Riders may choose an individual route or combine routes to reach their desired distance.
Official route distances vary somewhat, Ridge said, and exact routes may change minimally before ride day, but for now the routes distances are: 100, 75, 50, 25, 15 miles.
Route Proposals (Click here for PDF)
The 50 Mile Scandia Loop runs north from the fairgrounds in Lake Elmo, up to Scandia and back down the river valley through Stillwater. Beautiful ride. Few good hills. Horse farm country and river towns. It’s a classic. Two reststops along the way. Ride this route first if you are doing 100 miles.
The 27 Mile Afton Loop heads south to the beautiful town of Afton then loops north back to the fairgrounds. This is another classic run in the river country.
The 27 Mile Gateway Loop jogs west from Lake Elmo to the Gateway Bicycle Trail, and then heads northeast along the trail up to where it runs into and joins the 50 mile route on its way back to headquarters at the Washington Co. Fairgrounds. Mellow, scenic ride. Great for advanced families and folks seeking photo ops and lots of places to stop and stretch the legs.
The 14 Mile Short Route heads out along the 27 Mile Afton Loop but stops short, takes a shortcut, and catches the tail end of the Afton Loop on its way back to Lake Elmo. Nice little route for families and folks just wanting a quick route, or a little addition to their other route.
The 100-mile century route combines the 50 and both the 27-mile routes. The 75-mile route combines the 50 and one of the 27s. Or riders could choose to ride both the 27s and do one of them twice. You could even do roughly 40 mile route by taking a 27 and a 14.
“There are options galore,” Ridge said. “From a spectator’s perspective it is important to note the difference between this ride and the Nature Valley Grand Prix. This is not a bike race, it’s a tour.”
Some details on these routes are still pending approval from city administrators and police/sheriff, Ridge said.
All of the routes share the roads with motor vehicles on a quiet, Sunday morning. There will be police support at major intersections.
“We are very appreciative of the local communities to share the roads with us for one Sunday in April,” Ridge said. “We’re really excited to bring a quality event like this to an area that is conducive to such great cycling.”