Bikes roll into Valley next year

Minnesota Ironman Bicycle Ride organizers bringing distance race to county in late April

Photo courtesy of Minnesota Ironman Bicycle RideMinnesota Ironman Bicycle Ride participants follow the route of a past race in the Lakeville area. Ride organizers announced last week tha thte event is coming to Washington County in late April with route information announced at a later date

Photo courtesy of Minnesota Ironman Bicycle Ride
Minnesota Ironman Bicycle Ride participants follow the route of a past race in the Lakeville area. Ride organizers announced last week that the event is coming to Washington County in late April with route information announced at a later date

Thirteen proved to be a very lucky number for Washington County.

Organizers of the Minnesota Ironman Bicycle Ride announced late last week that they are bringing the distance ride to Washington County after 13 years in Lakeville and surrounding communities.

The April 28 event is expected to ride through Scandia, Stillwater, Afton, Lake Elmo, Marine on St. Croix and Oak Park Heights, according to ride director Jon Ridge in a news release posted on the organization’s Facebook page.

Ridge said Minnesota Ironman riders would experience a retooled 2013 ride.

“Anyone who has cycled around the St. Croix Valley knows that it’s vastly different terrain from what we have been riding the past years,” he said.

Ridge said MIBR participants will continue to experience a quality ride, fast registration, ride support, attention to detail and safety and ride volunteers “that are totally stoked to help create a first class cycling event.”

The MIBR will be the Valley’s second cycling event, occurring about one month before the annual Nature Valley Grand Prix held during mid-June that concludes with races in Stillwater. Ridge said the Ironman’s move to Washington County should appeal to many cyclists.

“In our new location, we will continue to offer routes for all cyclists: beginners, families, middle-distance riders and 100-mile Ironmen and Ironwomen,” he said. “We remain committed to getting everyone out on their bike, and encouraging the next generation of riders.”

Ridge added that MIBR organizers are putting the Minnesota Gran Fondo timed race on hold next year to focus on the Minnesota Ironman.

The news of the Minnesota Ironman bike ride’s move to the Valley caught tourism and business officials by surprise.

“They just decided it was time for a new venue. They wanted to shake it up,” said Barb Trueman of the Stillwater-Oak Park Heights Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Trueman said CVB officials were not contacted by MIBR officials prior to the announcement of the race’s move.

“We don’t know what it’s going to look like,” she said.

“I have to learn more about it,” added Todd Streeter of the Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce. “It’s kind of an above average, elite kind of bicycle race.”

The Valley’s gain, however, is a loss for southern Dakota County. Ridge thanked the cities that had been host to the ride for more than a decade.

“Our special thanks to the communities our ride has passed through over the past 13 years: Lakeville, Jordan, LeSeuer, Montgomery, Lonsdale, Northfield, Prior Lake and Burnsville. They gave us the finest welcome and support any major bike event could have hoped for,” Ridge said.

Ridge said MIBR organizers plan to announce St. Croix Valley route details in the coming weeks on Facebook and Twitter.

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