by John Brown, HaveFunBiking
It’s barely dawn, the weather is cool as he drags his unwilling body out into the world. The headlights of his car shine through the last remaining darkness as he pulls into the lot. His tired bones haven’t yet committed to the 51st Minnesota Ironman Bicycle Ride, but the energetic atmosphere drives him forward. He unshackles his bike, and after a few quick checks he heads toward the growing swarm of riders. The day may not be perfect, conditions could be troubling, but he knows completing the new course through Carver County holds coveted “bragging rights.”
What is the Minnesota Ironman?
The Minnesota Ironman Bicycle Ride is the longest-running century and variable mileage ride in Minnesota. For over 50 years, crowds have gathered to ride the course designed in its varying lengths. It’s also the first spring road bike event of the season, too, so weather conditions can be a mixed bag. Temperatures have fluctuated from the 30s through the 80s over the years with the chance of rain always a threat. So, why sign up for this event?
There’s Nothing Else Like It Drawing Thousands of Riders
In May of 1967, one month after the inaugural Minnesota Ironman, Ralph Baer played and lost the first two player video game ever. That means that before people challenged themselves with a controller and a screen they were enjoying the challenges of the Minnesota Ironman. The Minnesota Ironman is an event, not a race, where completion is as lofty a goal as most could achieve. Its rolling hills, scenic courses, and friendly atmosphere make this ride a premiere event each year. And this year, starting in Waconia, MN and touring Carver County will be no different.
Bragging Rights Guaranteed
Why not wait a few weeks for warm weather?
Well, the answer is in the name. To be an Ironman, you need to prove yourself. Completing this ride means you have done something special. Even though the route is challenging and the weather often adds its own obstacles, you will not be alone. More than 3,000 riders take advantage of this annual bike tour. And the Minnesota Ironman Bicycle team will be on hand for any needed technical, coaching, and safety support.
Plus, It’s for a Great Cause
Hostelling International USA (HI) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting healthy recreation, international travel, and cultural exchange. Proceeds from this ride go to HI’s Minnesota location, which is surrounded by the natural beauty of Itasca State Park, at the Headwaters of the Mississippi River.
Whatever your reason for entering the Minnesota Ironman, know that you will be greeted on April 30th by thousands of old and new friends with similar interests, hundreds of smiling volunteers, and one amazing event. I am looking forward to seeing you there!