Bike race seeks host families, volunteers

NV Grand Prix 2011 logoOrganizers of the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival needs host families to house professional cyclists competing in the prestigious June 12-16 Nature Valley Grand Prix and volunteers to work at Grand Prix events.

Several families are needed to accommodate the expected 300 racers competing in the Grand Prix. In its 15th year, the five-day event has become the most prestigious race on the USA Cycling calendar and takes place in Saint Paul, Cannon Falls, Minneapolis and Menomonie, Wis., before concluding in Stillwater.

Many families find hosting a rewarding experience and look forward to welcoming cyclists each year. Housing coordinator Mike O’Day said once families decide to give hosting a try, they get hooked.

“We have many long-time hosts who have been hosting the same teams and riders for years, as they really enjoy the bonds they form,” he said. “Minimizing travel time by keeping all the team’s riders together in the same neighborhood is key to a successful housing experience for everyone. That’s why we encourage hosts to find neighbors and friends nearby that can share in the hosting experience. This also makes it easier to plan group activities such as backyard barbecues if the team has time.”

Families are asked to host two or more team members from June 11 through June 16. Host families need only provide a place to sleep, a bathroom with shower, laundry facilities and space in the refrigerator for cyclists’ meals and snacks. Cyclists are responsible for their own food, cooking, laundry and transportation during the festival.

For more information on serving as a host family visit Nature Valley Bicycle Festival and follow the host housing link or contact housing coordinator Mike O’Day at 612-309-7192 or host@naturevalleybicyclefestival.com.

Volunteers are also needed during the Grand Prix to staff areas such as the bike corrals for fans, course marshalling and helping coordinate some Grand Prix events. No experience is necessary for event-day volunteers. Brief training sessions will be held before each shift to teach volunteers everything they need to know. To learn more about hosting cyclists or other volunteer opportunities during the Nature Valley Grand Prix, please visit the website at www.naturevalleybicyclefestival.com.

The Nature Valley Bicycle Festival includes the Minnesota Fixed Gear Classic, an exciting, track run at the National Sports Center Velodrome June 6-8, as well as the Nature Valley Grand Prix pro stage bike race which will be held in Minnesota and Wisconsin June 12-16. Spectators can also enjoy free activities such as the Fan Zone, stunt riders, musical entertainment, bike and fitness expos and the free Tour de Kids Shimano Fun Race. Menomonie events will include Gran Fondo rides for experienced, recreational cyclists as well as spectator rides for all levels.

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