You don’t need us to tell you Minnesota is a state that cycles. When it comes to rolling the chunky, mountain bike variety, there are plenty of competitive and more laid-back opportunities:
• Among other places, there are weeknight races at Afton Alps and Buck Hill (in Burnsville).
• There also are programs to get newbies rolling confidently. Three Rivers Parks has introductory sessions July 25 at Elm Creek Park Reserve. The DNR also has I Can Mountain Bike! on Aug. 12 on the popular trails at Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area.
• Get the full glory of the Minnesota mountain bike racing scene — the kits, the bikes, the music, the beer — without, well, riding. Lutsen Mountains is the epicenter for the Lutsen 99er, a rugged and popular race. Even better, it’s on the North Shore. The Lutsen 99er is in its seventh year, and more than 1,800 riders will roll in the main race and the sister races (69, 39 and 16 miles). The races are full, but there will be cycling vendors, live music and more June 23, before cyclists roll into the wilderness June 24. Then, of course, there is the after-party. “The race isn’t exclusive to racers. Just be part of that energy that we’re trying to create,” said race director Peter Spencer. More details on the races and volunteer opportunities at lutsen99er.com. Registration for 2018 opens in the fall.
Blogger Chris Chavie has must-reading on the Minnesota cycling scene at mnbiketrailnavigator.blogspot.com. Find a comprehensive list of races and events, too.