Registration has opened for Washington County's newest bicycle event, which could put 5,000 riders on the roads in April.
The Minnesota Ironman Bicycle Ride moves to new routes along the St. Croix River after 13 years in Lakeville in Dakota County. Riders wanted a change of scenery, said organizer Jon Ridge.
Routes will stretch from Scandia in the north to Afton in the south and include Marine on St. Croix, Stillwater, Lake Elmo and Oak Park Heights. Beginning and ending at the Washington County Fairgrounds, less-challenging routes will be 15, 25 and 50 miles long. Skilled riders will follow a 100-mile route. The Ironman ride, while not a race, is structured to appeal to people of all ages and abilities.
Early rider registration at www.IronmanBikeRide.org will continue through Feb. 28 and offers a $10 discount on registration fees, organizers said. The ride will be held April 28.
Training packages are also available at registration for anyone seeking support from coach Bob McEnaney, the ride's official trainer.
The Ironman, which started 47 years ago, is the longest-running organized bicycle ride in Minnesota.
The early registration is the first of two timetables to enter the race. Regular registration, costing $40, will be held from March 1 to April 15. Group registration also will be held in that time period, with a $5 discount per rider for teams of eight or more. Youth registration, from now through April 15, will cost $15.
Lakeville city officials expressed disappointment that the Ironman was moved, but it had gotten too big for city streets and organizers began scanning the outer suburban horizon for a willing host. Money from the rides supports the nonprofit Hostelling InternationalUSA and its work in Minnesota. The mission operates the Mississippi Headwaters Hostel in Itasca State Park.
Kevin Giles 651-925-5037 Twitter: @stribgiles