Penn Cycle's Thursday Night at the Races Returns for 24th Year

Penn Cycle's long-standing tradition of mountain bike racing at Buck Hill returns in 2015 for the 24th season.  What started out with 45 riders the very first night a long time ago has grown and evolved into something truly special.  "Whether you’re a first-timer or local hero, these weeknight races continue to rank as the best bang for your entertainment Buck by every mountain biker in the world."  Thursday Night at the Races brings together beginner, intermediate and advanced mountain bikers for some great racing and good times.  This family friendly event is also a great opportunity to get the little ones into mountain biking with a free kid's race after the adult races.

"You won’t find a more family friendly, cycling event anywhere and I am really proud of what we have put together and continue to do so on Thursday Nights." - Pat Sorensen, Penn Cycle President.

Image Credit: Gal Alon

If you've never raced before, this is your chance to give it a try.  The Beginner class race starts at 7:15 pm and only costs $5.  For the intermediate and advanced racers, $10 will gain you entry into the Advanced, Recreational or Fat Bike class races that start at 6:30 pm.  Registration for the races runs from 5:00-6:15 pm.

Start of the Fat Bike Class Race
2015 Buck Hill Race Schedule

Series 1:  May 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th, June 4th and 11th
Series 2:  June 18th, 25th, (No race July 2nd), July 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th. Plus a potential make up race on Aug. 6th.

If you're still not convinced to join in on the fun this year, watch the video below for a week by week recap of the fun, thrills and competition of last year's races.

After the races, the adults take to the kid's course on kids bikes.  Watch the hilarity ensue as Pat shoots for the win.

This is a great opportunity to test yourself in a race setting on a challenging wooded course at Buck Hill.  For Minnesota High School Cycling League racers, here's a chance to get in some early practice for the upcoming season.

After the races there will be loads of door prizes and food and drink is available all evening long. For additional details you can visit the Penn Cycle Thursday Night at the Races page or call the Bloomington store at 952-888-1427. A little rain may not always cancel the races, so give them a call if weather becomes an issue. 

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Registration for the 2015 Filthy 50 is Now Open

The Filthy 50 is entering its third year and already it has become a tradition amongst gravel enthusiasts.  Cyclists come from all over Minnesota and neighboring states to the small town of Stewartville to race on the rolling gravel roads of Olmstead and Filmore Counties.  The scenery along the route is amazing and at the end of the race you will know why it was named The Filthy 50.  Below are the details and rules direct from race organizer Trenton Raygor.

Image Credit: Adam Morgan
Image Credit: Adam Morgan

The Details
  • The Filthy 50 will take place on Sunday, October 11th, 2015.
  • The event will start and end on the north end of Stewartville, MN. The start will take place at 10am and the riders will have until 4pm to officially finish. 
  • Registration will open on Friday, March 20th and can be completed quickly online. Visit http://the-filthy-50.com/registration and complete the form before the 600 rider cap is reached. We trust that you will register and make it a priority to show up and ride on October 11th. If you're not sure that you can make it, we kindly request that you hold off on registering until you are certain.
  • Thanks to our sponsors, registration for The Filthy 50 continues to be a FREE and first come will be first served.
  • This event is completely unsupported. You are responsible for you. Individuals should bring EVERYTHING that they need for the ride and expect absolutely NOTHING to be provided to them on the day of the event. 
  • GPX and TCX files, as well as cue sheets, will be made available for download to all riders who end up on our official roster. Navigating the course is critical, so we will do our best to prepare you for that. 
  • Elevation profiles of the course will be provided through Filthy 50 social media (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) prior to Sunday, October 11th. 
  • Days before the ride, those on the official roster will be sent event day logistics as well as some other crucial information about what to expect. 

 The Rules
It is of utmost importance to us that everyone stays safe and enjoys The Filthy 50. These are the rules. We think they are reasonable.
  1.  You are 100% on your own. Take care of yourself. 
  2.  We would appreciate it if you would REGISTER with us. 
  3.  This ride is unsupported. Bring EVERYTHING with you that you will need. 
  4.  Always wear your helmet. 
  5.  Respect the course and keep it clean. Please do not litter. 
  6.  Obey all TRAFFIC LAWS
  7.  If nature calls during your ride, please do not please do not answer it in front of others. 
  8.  Ride safely and use good judgement. 
  9.  You are responsible for you, so be responsible.
  10.  Have fun! 
A look back at the 2014 Filthy 50
"Race it and set a record. Ride it and take in the beauty. Either way, get filthy." - Unknown

The Filthy 50 is a free race made possible by generous support from the follow sponsors.

ADAM TURMAN - A professional illustrator & poster artist from the Twin Cities.

BANJO BROTHERS - Tough. Practical. Affordable. Bike Bags.

 BICYCLE SPORTS - A full service bike shop in Rochester, MN.

BUCKNELL CONSTRUCTION, INC. - Meeting your construction needs, located in Stewartville, MN.

FAREWAY - An economical food store located in Stewartville, MN.

 HED - The best wheels on the planet. Seriously.

KURT KINETIC - Making the BEST indoor trainers from Minneapolis, MN.

 PENN CYCLE - Your Twin Cities bike shop.

RIDING GRAVEL.COM - The gravel enthusiast’s resource

 ROCHESTER CYCLING - A Rochester, MN bike shop for all of your bike needs.

SUNSHINE SANITATION - Sanitation professionals from Stewartville, MN.

2 WHEEL WEATHER - Where cycling and weather come together.

WOLF TOOTH COMPONENTS - Bike components from Minneapolis, MN.

Despite this being a free event, it wouldn’t be able to happen as intend without the support of these amazing sponsors and incredible volunteers.  If you are interested in sponsoring this year, please send an email to thefilthy50@gmail.com.  You can also show your support by donating to The Filthy 50 here.  For those not racing that would like to volunteer you can do so by sending an email to the above address or by visiting the 2015 - Filthy 50 Volunteers page and filling out the form.

Trenton congratulates every racer as they cross the finish line

News Release From Trenton

We are very proud to announce that 2015 The Filthy 50 will be returning to Stewartville, Minnesota for a third year. For those of you who have committed to ride with us for the past two years, I cannot thank you enough. Your spirit and enthusiasm has continuously made The Filthy 50 a success and something that many of us hold dear to our hearts. You have made this ride yours. For those who have stepped up and sponsored, participated in our famed "meat raffle" or donated anonymously, thank you for helping us make The Filthy extra special for everyone. Lastly, to my family and friends who have volunteered their time and skill sets to helping us pull this thing off, we couldn't do it without you, nor would we want to, so thanks for coming back and giving a little more.

The Filthy 50 has grown into something that we never expected nor intended, but are overjoyed to embrace the excitement and continue giving the love back to the cycling community. With that, we have been exploring new roads and having new adventures that we plan on sharing with you in a special 2016 edition of The Filthy. Our discoveries will likely bring you a brand new Filthy 50 as well as a Filthy 100 zig-zagging through some the most beautiful country that we have ever laid eyes on. I dare say that we have outdone ourselves. The routes are already set, but we still have some ground work ahead of us. We will share more as milestones are met.

In addition to the aforementioned excitement, our crew will be scouting out something a little more epic that we like to call "The DAMn". [Day Across Minnesota] The DAMn is not for the faint of heart. It is a one day, point-to-point ride across the state of Minnesota to the tune of 240 miles of gravely goodness. It starts you out in the wee morning hours in South Dakota and spits you out before day's end in Wisconsin. We will be finalizing the route and the P2P logistics this summer and plan to officially drop The DAMn on you during the summer of 2016.

That's all we've got for now. After you register, we highly encourage you to go and ride your bike. I need to do a little more of that these days, so I am going to take my own advice and get on that right now.

Kind Regards, Trenton

Central Lakes Trail
Get out and enjoy the beautiful gem known as the 
Central Lakes Trail


MN Group Bike Rides Facebook Group Brings Minnesota Cyclists Together to Ride

With the success of the MN Fatbike Group Rides Facebook group connecting cyclists to ride fatbikes together this past Winter, I was asked by several members of the group if I would create another one for warm weather riding.  This new Facebook group encompasses all types of group rides including Road, Gravel and Off-Road/MTB.  The new group is MN Group Bike Rides.

This group is intended to bring cyclists in Minnesota together for group rides by providing a place to post them.  The rules to keep content on point are simple:
  • Posts should be about a group ride you are planning or soliciting interest for. These can be Road, Off-Road, Gravel or MTB. 
  • Be clear about the time, mileage drop/no-drop and pace of the ride.
  • Attending a group ride that is not mentioned in this group? Post it.
  • Please include links to more information about the group ride if available (MORC Forum, etc.)
  • Please put post-ride photos/video in the comment section of that listed ride, not as a new post. 
  • Please refer bike related questions/comments to Facebook groups dedicated to that kind of discussion.

Fatbikes are not just for Winter riding.  I would encourage fatbikers planning group rides to continue to post them on the MN Fatbike Group Rides Facebook group.  If gravel riding is your thing, the MN Gravel Enthusiasts Facebook group is a place for anyone looking to ride gravel, share gravel routes, post group rides or events (races, rides, etc.) and to discuss equipment or gravel Q&A. 

Join one of these groups today and get riding with old and new friends.


Creating/Sharing Routes & Cue Sheets and Navigating Off-Line Using RideWithGPS

http://ridewithgps.comPlanning a ride/group ride is very easy with RideWithGPS and is my go-to choice because of its many free standard features.  It's an easy to use online mapping tool that was designed with cyclists in mind.  Use it to plan out a ride or to share a route.  I can share my routes on my blog, social media, by creating a PDF map/cue sheet or with other RideWithGPS users by making my maps Public.  To see how easy it is to plan your next ride, watch the "Create a Route" video below for a quick tutorial.

One of the features I like about RideWithGPS when planning group rides is the ability to make a PDF file of the route complete with map, description and cue sheets to share with other riders.  There are many customizable options when creating this PDF file and the tutorials below will show you how it's done.

Another way to share a route is by creating a GPX Track (.gpx) file for use with Garmin units or to be loaded into other mapping sites like MapMyRide, Runtastic or Endomondo for use with a smartphone for navigation.  It is very easy to do, after the route is created and saved click on the "Export" tab and select "GPX Track (.gpx)" and a dialogue box will open and allow saving of the gpx file.

To make it easy for my friends or members of a group ride to download the PDF Map/Cue sheet or gpx file I use Dropbox to share a download link to those files.  This way, by posting the share link on social media or in an email, anyone can download these files for printing or loading into their favorite mapping site/software.  Below is an example of a PDF Map/Cue sheet I recently created for an upcoming Ride Like A Girl Cycling women's gravel ride.

For those using the RideWithGPS app for Android or IOS, voiced turn-by-turn navigation for any route planned on the website is now available.  To make this feature even better, RideWithGPS has released off-line maps for iPhone and Android for rides planned on the website to be navigated using the app without cell service or internet connection.

Sign up and start planning, sharing rides and generating cue sheets today.  For more information on RideWithGPS, visit the FAQ page.  More tutorial videos can be found on the RideWithGPS You Tube channel.


2015 Arrowhead 135 Stories

The Arrowhead 135 is a human powered ultra-endurance marathon that takes place every year during the coldest part of Winter.  Participants have 60 hours to complete the 135 mile trek from International Falls to Fortune Bay Casino in Tower on the Arrowhead State Trail.  Racers are required to stop at three checkpoints that are spaced about 35 miles apart, where race officials can pull a racer due to frostbite or other medical concerns. Participants must run, ski or bike the distance with their sub-zero survival gear,  no outside help except from other racers or race officials and they must follow a strict set of race rules out on the course.

This year's race was much warmer than sub-zero temperatures of previous years.  This had to be a welcome change to AH135 race veterans.  77 cyclists completed the race under the 60 hour cut-off and the top four riders crossed the finish line within seconds of each other in a sprint to the end.  I have compiled all of the stories, photos, video and news articles of  racers who chose bike propulsion pertaining to this year's epic race.  For full race results, click here.

Map of Arrowhead 135 course

Race Participants:  Bike Propulsion

Jordan Wakeley-1st
Jordan Wakeley - 2015 Arrowhead Ultra Winner - Bikepackers Magazine
Grayling cyclist wins 135-mile race in Minnesota - Crawford County Avalanche
Rookie claims Arrowhead 135 bike title by a second - Duluth News Tribune

Charly Tri-6th
Arrowhead 135 recap (and 2 others), 2015 - Jo Mama VS. The World
Arrowhead part 2. - Jo Mama VS. The World

Nick Armano-8th
Twenty2 Bully shows up for Arrowhead 135 - Twenty2 Cycles Blog

Mark Scotch-15th 
Arrowhead 135, 2015 - motoscotch
Joe Stiller-20th
Northern Currents: Ultra-Marathon Ministry - Northern Currents on Psalm FM

Christopher Tassava-26th
Arrowheadcase - Blowing & Drifting
Would you ride a bike for 15+ hours? - Minnesota Public Radio
Northfield bikers compete at Arrowhead 135 - Northfield News

David Gray-29th
2015 Arrowhead 135 - Surly Blog

Jerry Bilek-36th
Northfield bikers compete at Arrowhead 135 - Northfield News

Back of the Pack Racing (James Barnhouse, Steve McGuire, Judd Rohwer, Tedd Rohwer, David Sears)-40th, 45th, 60th (tie), 70th

Marc Brown-43rd
Fat Biking The Arrowhead 135 - Great Lakes Fatbikes
Jeff Eckert-43rd
Fat Biking The Arrowhead 135 - Great Lakes Fatbikes

Adam Harju-52nd
Cook County cyclists complete Arrowhead 135 ultra-marathon - WTIP North Shore Community Radio

John Twiest-52nd
Cook County cyclists complete Arrowhead 135 ultra-marathon - WTIP North Shore Community Radio

Jason Husveth-74th
May Township resident completes Arrowhead ultra, again - Country Messenger

2015 Arrowhead 135 Press

Temperatures, finishers up for 2015 Arrowhead 135 - International Falls Journal

Northfield bikers compete at Arrowhead 135 - Northfield News

2015 Arrowhead 135 ultramarathon with 80+ already finished - International Falls Journal 

Grayling cyclist wins 135-mile race in Minnesota - Crawford County Avalanche

Rookie claims Arrowhead 135 bike title by a second - Duluth News Tribune

124 finish Arrowhead 135 - International Falls Journal

Cold and exhausted: Race tests area residence endurance - SunThisweek

Mild, snowy conditions aid racers in Arrowhead 135 - Timberjay

Cook County cyclists complete Arrowhead 135 ultra-marathon - WTIP North Shore Community Radio

Would you ride a bike for 15+ hours? - Minnesota Public Radio

After day of racing across Minnesota wilderness, Arrowhead 135 title decided by one second - Duluth News Tribune


Arrowhead 135 Facebook page
AH135 Finish line 2015
Mobile Uploads
AH135 Finishers 2015
Photos of Arrowhead 135

C5 Adventure Photography - Chris Gibbs on Facebook
Timeline Photos

International Falls Journal Image Gallery
Arrowhead 135 Ultramarathon - Jan. 26, 2015

Dan Luebke on Facebook 
(must be logged into Facebook to view)
Arrowhead Ultra 2015

Scott Mark on Facebook
(must be logged into Facebook to view)
2015 Arrowhead 135 Ultramarathon


Arrowhead 135 2015 finish

Arrowhead 135 v2015


Postcard Registration for Almanzo Races Still Open

Almanzo lives!  Yes, you will be able to race any of the three courses (Almanzo 100, Royal 162 and Alexander) at this year's Almanzo.  Founder and race organizer Chris Skogen has handed over the reigns to the Spring Valley Tourism Committee and he will finally get a chance to ride Almanzo for the first time.

A lot of you may think that registration is now closed because during the history of the Almanzo races Chris had postcard registration run from January 1st through the 31st.  "We are still accepting postcards and will do so through April, although the “official end of registration” is January 31st. We are looking forward to continuing Chris’s vision of free bicycle racing on gravel roads!"  Kathryn Simpson, Spring Valley Tourism Chair recently told me. 

The 2015 Almanzo 100 and Royal 162 will be held on Saturday, May 16th.  The Royal 162 will start at 7:00 am and the Almanzo 100 at 9:00 am.  For those doing the Alexander, start will be at the Spring Valley Community Center on Friday, May 15th at 5:00 am.  All three races will start and finish in downtown Spring Valley.

Send in your postcards to get on the roster and have your finish times recorded.  Mail them to:

201 S. Broadway
Spring Valley, Mn 55975
Include your name, Race Declaration
and Contact Information

Image Credit: Spring Valley Tourism

For updates, visit the Spring Valley Tourism Facebook page and the Almanzo/Wilderfest Facebook Event page.  For questions about the Almanzo races, direct them to svalmanzo@gmail.com.


Riot GRRRaveL Retuns For Second Year

Riot GRRRaveL is back for its second year with 30 and 50 mile route options.  This is a free race/ride designed to introduce women and teens to riding gravel.  Last year's debut brought out 82 riders on a sunny Saturday afternoon in June.

Image Credit: Kate Lockhart

Riot GRRRaveL organizer Ellie Skelton tells how this event came to be.  "The idea for the Riotgrrravel ride came from attending several biking events where the field was predominantly male. After riding the Filthy 50 in 2013, I started thinking of ways to get women to try riding on gravel. The first Riotgrrravel was 30 miles because I wanted to make a low barrier to entry for women who may have heard about longer gravel races but were intimidated by the long distances. Having two teenage daughters, I wanted to expose them to gravel racing as well. That's really the goal: get more women & teens excited about gravel racing."

Image Credit: Kate Lockhart

Riot GRRRaveL 2015 will take place on Saturday, June 20th rain or shine just south of Hastings and will add a new longer course option of 50 miles.  "We wanted something close to the Twin Cities.  This year we will be doing two courses- a 30 and a 50 mile loop.  The 50 will start at 8:30 and the 30 at 9am.  We definitely want to develop a scenic route with a good climb or two--but not as intense as some of the climbs on the Almanzo 100 course.  The ride will be unsupported with the same, "you are responsible for you," philosophy that other free gravel races have."

Image Credit: Kate Lockhart

Is this a ride or is it a race?  The answer is both.  "We are open to however someone wants to ride this!  Riotgrravel will showcase the speed of  some of the area's amazing female gravel racers and offer an opportunity for new racers to experience an entry ride at their own pace."

Image Credit: Kate Lockhart
Registration is now open for Riot GRRRaveL 2015 and only takes a minute to sign up online.  It is capped at 200 riders and should fill up quickly, so make sure you register early.  Ellie would love to hear why you are riding Riot GRRRaveL in 2015, just visit the Riot GRRRaveL Facebook page and tell your story and post up your pictures from last year's race.

For rider racaps and more from last year's race, visit the Riotgrrravel 2014 post on Grease Rag, Ride and Wrench.  Kate Lockhart got a lot of great photos too and they can be seen on her Flickr album.

Image Credit: Kate Lockhart

Penn Cycle & Fitness will be sponsoring this year's race and providing pre-race mechanical support.  If you or your company would like to sponsor or volunteer for Riot GRRRaveL 2015 please send a message to Ellie on the Riot GRRRaveL Facebook page.  Riot GRRRaveL is also on Instagram.
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