47th Minnesota Ironman Ride to roll through Washington County communities
“We’ve been on pins and needles this year, since the weather’s been crazy” said ride spokesman Ryan McEnaney. “The last few years have been windy and cold and rainy, so it’s good fresh start in Washington County.”
The Minnesota Ironman Bicycle Ride moves to Washington County this year after a 13-year run in the Lakeville area, and pre-registration numbers are topping last year’s turnout. Current registration stands at a lslightly more than 3,600 participants and ride organizers expect good weather will add an additional 1,000 riders during same-day registration Sunday at the Washington County Fairgrounds in Baytown Township.
“The county itself is so conducive to cycling, and everyone that bikes in the cities knows that the Stillwater, Oak Park Heights, Afton and Scandia area are incredibly beautiful places to bike, so I think it helped, McEnaney said.”
The ride offers a variety of routes that go through Stillwater, Afton, Lake Elmo, Scandia, Marine on St. Croix and Oak Park Heights, according to McEnaney. Above all, he wants riders and participants to have a great experience whether they are first-timers or veteran riders.
“Just expect to have fun. That’s why it’s a ride and not a race. We have a lot of options for people. If you want to do the real Ironman we have a route that covers that, but if you want to have your family and kids come along there’s a 14-mile route, and a 25-mile route in Afton. It’s going to be great especially with the beautiful weather.” McEnaney said.
The routes for the Ironman Bike Ride include a 14-mile Afton cut-off loop, a 27-mile Afton loop, a 29-mile Gateway Loop and a 53-mile Scandia loop. McEnaney said ride organizers are excited and ready to get rolling.
“We’re very prepared, and with this being the first year in Washington County, a lot of changes have been made. But we’re more prepared this year I think,” he said.
“There’s a lot of details and a lot of manpower that goes into these events especially for riders. We’re working on getting everything organized for the vendors at the fairgrounds right now and everyone has just done an incredible job.”
The route begins and ends at the fairgrounds Sunday. Registration opens at 6:30 a.m. and since it’s not a race riders are welcome to begin their ride as soon as they register. Riders must finish their routes by 5:30 p.m. Same-day registration costs $50 for adults and $15 for youth under 17.
“It’s going to be a great time with 4,500 to 5,000 people and will be a great kick-off to outdoor cycling, especially this year with the crazy weather,” McEnaney said. “It’s just really great energy out there and we’re excited that the weather is going to be great.”