by Libby Hurley, MN High School Cycling League
Over 2,500+ people attended the MN High School Cycling Leagues annual Year-End Ceremony at Northrup Auditorium, on. Fri. Nov. 9, to celebrate and reflect on an amazing and historic season. Since 2012, when the MN League launched, each year, strategic changes or additions have been made to move the MN League forward to getting #morekidsonbikes.
Over the years, they have added races to the schedule, included middle school aged riders to the program, introduced a bye-week schedule and moved to ability-based racing. For 2018, they piloted the Giant Bicycles Dirt School Spring Riding Program, created divisions in middle school, added the Framed Bike Skills Challenge event and added an additional race date and bye-week to the schedule. As the MN League grows in size, schedule and program changes are done to accommodate and accelerate this growth.
In 2018, ending the season in Mankato with almost 1,600 riders, the MN Cycling League became the second largest mountain bike league in the nation. With over 25 NICA leagues across the nation, MN is part of a growing movement with the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA).
The MN League has become more than a racing program, it has become a youth development program. Each year the MN League adds hundreds of new student-athletes, coaches, volunteers, and spectators. Who’s ready for 2019?
Cycling League highlights and overall season results
To celebrate the accomplishments of all, each year, four students are selected to offer their thoughts and thanks to coaches, volunteers, parents, and their fellow teammates. This year, Jaden Neimeyer, from Hutchinson offered his thoughts on volunteers, Olivia Fox from Wayzata expounded on the impact of the coaches, Grant Hietpas from Stillwater thanked all of the parents, and Vladimir Lind from Burnsville shared his positive reactions from being part of the MN mountain bike community.
As the crowd clapped and cheered for these four amazing students, the lights dimmed in preparation for the season-ending video from Todd Bauer at tmbimages.com.
New race locations and program changes for 2019
The 2019 race schedule of the MN Cycling League was well received by the entire audience. As the dates and locations were announced, cheers erupted from the crowd.
The new race location, just south of Hayward, WI, brought on the largest reaction. In 2019, the MN League will hold their own race during the Fat Tire Festival Weekend. More details on this race are coming, but it will be separate from the Short and Fat race.
2019 Race Dates and Locations
* Aug. 24/25 – Schindler’s Way Trail, Austin, MN
* Sept. 7/8 – Lake Rebecca, Rockford, MN
* Sept. 14/15 – Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival, near Hayward, WI
* Sept. 28/29 – Whitetail Ridge, River Falls, WI
* Oct. 5/6 – Detroit Mountain, Detroit Lakes, MN
* Oct. 12/13 – Spirit Mt., Duluth, MN
* Oct. 26/27 – Mt. Kato, Mankato, MN
6th-graders added to the middle school program
Exciting changes to the program include the addition of 6th-grade riders to the middle school program and instead of having one day of racing, the MN League is moving to a two-day race weekend which will allow a pre-ride of the course on both Saturday and Sunday. Middle school races will be held on Saturdays and High school races will be held on Sundays.
Watch for more details on these exciting changes.
Special acknowledgment – Coach/Asst. Coach of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Racers with Heart and the Jeff Robertson Award
The MN League respects their student-athletes and acknowledges their efforts to achieve a podium spot, however, the MN League takes this evening to celebrate a number of people who might not achieve a podium spot and their actions have set examples for others through their courage, determination, leadership or sportsmanship.
“I always look forward to this event,” said Josh Kleve, Executive Director of the MN League. “This is the last opportunity of the year for our community to come together, share stories, give thanks and pay respects to a few key people whose contributions are significant to the success of our league. This is their time on the podium.”
▪ Coach of the Year: Mike Busch, Mankato
▪ Asst. Coach of the Year: Ryan Erspamer, Duluth
▪ Volunteer of the Year: Eric Larson, Duluth
▪ Male Racer with Heart – Ian Hase, White Bear Lake
▪ Female Racer with Heart – Zoey Sheedy, Rochester
▪ Jeff Robertson Award – Todd Bauer, MN League Core Staff
OVERALL SEASON RESULTS
Congratulations to all on a successful season!
Final overall individual results are now posted to the website.
Full Individual results for Varsity, JV2, JV3, Freshman and Middle School.
View Full Results
High School D1 Team Results:
3. Southwest Mpls
High School D2 Team Results:
2. Highland Park
Middle School D1 Team Results:
2. Prior Lake
Middle School D2 Team Results:
1. Rochester Composite
2. Alexandria Area
3. New Prague
Final overall team results are now posted to the website.
Full Team results for D1 and D2.
View Full Results
EVENT AND RACE PHOTOS
View Photos. Photo Credit: Todd Bauer and David Markman – MN League Official Photographers.
THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS
Please take a minute to review our list of local and national sponsors. With their support, we are able to offer our youth development programs. When considering a purchase, be sure to visit and thank our sponsors for their support. Please encourage them to continue supporting the MN League and our student-athletes.