Minnesota High School MTB races challenged by Mother Nature

After a successful MN MTB League Race #1 in Austin, MN, the last week of August. Races #2 and #3 of the Minnesota High School Cycling League were challenged by Mother Nature with wet weather, cancellations and a shorter race track. As racers and spectators arrived at Lake Rebecca, near Rockford, MN for Race Weekend #2 on September 7th the rain arrived soon after. But, even with damp and soggy race conditions, the racing excitement stayed strong for the day. With strong rains pounding the area through the evening, Sunday races had to be canceled. The following weekend rainy weather returned to haunt Race #3. But the community had a couple of tricks to keep the race running and stay-off another cancellation.

Race #2 photos by Todd Bauer and David Markman

MN MTB races, weekend #2

On Sat. Sept. 7, in-between light rain showers, 42 teams prepped their middle school racers for racing at Lake Rebecca. For some of these teams, this was their first race, due to a 2019 bye week system designed to manage field sizes.

Race #2 photos by Todd Bauer and David Markman

In between raindrops, the 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade racers were able to test their skills on the fast and flowing tracks at Lake Rebecca. But, the weather was not as kind for the high school racers.

Racing Sunday was canceled due to heavy rain

Due to continual heavy rain in the early morning on Sunday, Sept. 8, concerns of rider safety and trail damage were evaluated. A joint decision between Three Rivers Park District and Minnesota High School Cycling League was made to cancel the high school races.

“Everyone did an amazing job helping to tear down the venue, racecourse, and team tents after the cancellation,” said Josh Kleve, Executive Director for the MN High School Cycling League. “Granted no one wanted to cancel the races, but everyone knew, in the interest of safety, it was the right decision to cancel the high school races.” Click here for more Race #2 results.

Racers avoided another cancellation on Sunday of Race #3 by using a short crit course. photos Todd Bauer and David Markman

Race #3 highlights

A couple of weeks ago, starting on Saturday, September 14th, half of the 63 MN League teams (due to the bye-weeks) headed to Western WI for a full weekend of mountain bike racing at Summit Lake Farms in Stone Lake, WI. In addition to the races on Saturday and Sunday, some of the racers also took part in the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival, held in the Cable/Hayward area on Sat., Sept. 14.

At the Chequamegon Short and Fat event

The podium was filled with Minnesota League racers. Braeden Anderson, Crosby-Ironton, took overall first place and Zoe Camp, Southwest Mpls., was the first female across the line! Team jerseys from Prior Lake, Highland Park, Hopkins, Washburn, New Prague, Edina, and Blake/Breck were just a few of the teams which had racers competing at the event. Even the race announcers commented on the number of high school racers at the event and thanked the efforts of National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) to help get young kids involved in the sport.

Middle school racers got underway at Summit Lake Farm

Race #,3, photos Todd Bauer and David Markman

As the racing excitement wrapped up at Fat Tire race in Cable, middle school racers got underway at Summit Lake Farm. However, only the 6th – 8th-grade girls and 6th-grade boys were able to get their races in before the weather turned. After consulting with the team coaches, and evaluating the larger storm moving in, it was decided that out of the safety of the student-athletes, volunteers, coaches and spectators and to not damage the trail, the remaining races would be postponed until Sunday.

Sun. Sept. 15 – Heavy rain and wet trails led to a race format change

After a torrential rainstorm that evening, a review of the racecourse the following morning left race officials and coaches with a choice, cancel the high school races or shorten the course and run a crit race with marathon timing. It was decided to try the new race format and let the racers compete. So, instead of a cross-country race, racers were challenged to see how many laps, on a shortened course, they could complete in 30 minutes.

The high school races were on! With not a drop of rain in the sky and the sun shining, all of the high school racing categories were run in the new race format. Coaches, racers and spectators were supportive of the efforts to ensure the kids were able to race. Click here for more Race #3 results.

Tipping the race helmets to salute the community

“Big thank you again to our community for their support and help to avoid canceling the race completely,” said Josh Kleve, Executive Director for the MN High School Cycling League. “We are grateful to all the coaches and volunteers that stepped up today and helped us to continue the race day with a modified program. It was great to see people camping all weekend and enjoying the new venue despite the damp weather.”

A crit course was a success. Photo Credit: tmbimages.com

The MN League is the sanctioned NICA organization of mountain bike racing for middle school and high school-aged student-athletes, since 2012. View the full schedule of racing for the 2019 season.

About the Minnesota High School Cycling League

The Minnesota High School Cycling League is a state-wide independent activity provider for student-athletes in 6th to 12th grade. Their mission is to build strong minds, bodies, character, and communities through cycling, regardless of ability level. Each MN League season includes summer programs, a seven-race series, wilderness first aid certification courses and a Spring Leaders’ Summit for training and certification of coaches. The MN League exists by virtue of a range of fundraising activities, as well as generous donors, and MN League sponsors. For more information on the MN League, visit minnesotamtb.org.