Welch Village Mountain Bike Park Season Opener This Weekend

Welch Village's season opener weekend has been postponed due to rain and wet conditions on the trails. "Opening weekend delayed until next weekend...June 23-24. CLOSED Sunday, 6/17. Unfortunately, trails still soft & wet from yesterday’s storms and they are not drying because of the 70 degree dew points & humidity. Plus, more storms in the forecast for this afternoon. We are bummed too but there is a whole lot of summer ahead."   Visit them on Saturday & Sunday, June 23 & 24 for lift served access to their downhill trails.  They'll be open at 10am on Saturday and 11am on Sunday with chairlifts operating until 5pm both days.

Three trails that opened last year, Air Bear (Advanced Riders ONLY, Trail has high risk features, Mandatory jumps, Steep drops with no ride arounds, Your wheels may leave ground, downhill traffic only), Joy Ride (Gentle to moderate climbs and decent, with obstacles such as rock, gravel, berms, bridges, and pot holes. Previous mountain biking experience highly recommended) and Aquaman (Intermediate riders ONLY, Large berms, Large Rollers, optional jumps on trail, downhill traffic only) will be open this weekend, weather dependant.

New this year is their Green Trail, "Squirrel Catcher" (Gentle to moderate climbs and decent, with obstacles such as rock, gravel, berms, bridges, and pot holes. Previous mountain biking experience highly recommended) including a new re-route for all of their trails and the new Blue trail, "Eagle Eye" (Intermediate riders ONLY, Large berms, Large Rollers, optional jumps on trail, downhill traffic only).  According to Welch Village on the status of  of Eagle Eye, "TBD..stay tuned...depends on rain!"

Purchase an all day lift and trail ticket for $25 (13 and older) or $20 (ages 8-12).  New this year is their Sunset Special (last 2 hours of any MTB operations day)  $20 (13 and older) or $15 (ages 8-12).  Season passes are also available for those age 8 and up for the 2018 season for $149.

Hours of operation for the upcoming Summer Season are Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 5pm through September 2nd, including Labor Day, September 3rd and ONLY SATURDAYS September 8th - 29th from 11am-5pm.

After a day of riding make sure to visit the chalet for a cold beer or two and maybe a bite to eat.

Note from Welch Village about the season opener weekend, "All, please check our website and Facebook page approaching this weekend for updates in case the weather doesn't cooperate. Weather folks are predicting chances for storms Friday - Sunday. Thanks!"

For more information about the Welch Village MTB Rules, what to wear and what to ride, visit the Welch Village MTB Orienteering Guide page.  More information about opening weekend can be found by visiting the Welch Village website or their Facebook Event Page.  Updates on the trails are posted at their Facebook page and on their Trail Report page.


Penn Cycle Offers Nine Group Rides for the Summer

Penn Cycle has put together nine group rides for the Summer of 2018 and they include road and women/trans/femme mountain biking.  I have listed all of them with a brief description and link to more information.  Rides run Monday through Saturday, so there is sure to be one to fit your schedule and ability.


Woodbury Monday Night Ride
Penn Cycle Woodbury

Show up early for announcements and bikes roll out at stated ride times. For the 2018 Lakes ride, we are asking everyone to be ready no later than 5:20 as we have lots of things to share this year. MONDAY - 5:30 Penn Cycle in Woodbury - Chris's Ride Mondays - 5:30 pm from the Woodbury Penn Cycle store. The ride will be for anyone who wants to have a good time. Pace will be about 15-17 mph with a focus on keeping all riders together so that new riders can get comfortable on the road, within a group, and also to build those base miles. Route will go towards Afton and be roughly 30 miles. This is a no drop ride. 

Route - https://www.strava.com/routes/8124068
Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/groups/1459333934117201/
E-mail - cyclingwithchris@gmail.com

Penn Cycle Minneapolis

Join us Mondays for the Solidarity Cycling WTF* MTB Ride Series. Meet at Penn Cycle Minneapolis for a 6pm roll out to Theodore Wirth Park singletrack.  *women/trans/femme


Penn Cycle Bloomington

Ride distances ranging from 15 to 20 miles. -Skill level: Ideally, I’d like to have routes that cater to both an average rider to advanced. The overall goal being to appeal to new riders who may feel a bit intimidated doing group rides. Ability to maintain an average speed of 12 to 15 miles per hour and ride comfortably in a group. *** Depending on the size of the group, we may break into faster and slower groups; no rider will be left behind. -Rides start at 6:00 PM from the Penn Cycle Bloomington Store. -Rides may be canceled due to bad weather; decisions made no later than 5:00 PM before ride – see contact information below.

Planned Rides:
  • Downtown Shakopee via Bloomington Ferry Bridge 
  • Eden Prairie via Bloomington Ferry Rd/Pioneer Trail
  • TBD, most likely utilizing the Hyland Trail system through West Bloomington 
  • TBD, Edina via Nine Mile Creek trail system 
Rides to occur every other Tuesday starting May 1st thru September 11th. For more information, contact Chris Goldschrafe, Store Manager at Penn Cycle at 952-888-1427 or email at chrisg@penncycle.com or Andrea Wetteland at 952-465-8589; aelgethun@gmail.com.

Penn Cycle Woodbury

All rides leave at time stated. Show up early for announcements and bikes roll out at stated ride times. For the 2018 Lakes ride, we are asking everyone to be ready no later than 5:20 as we have lots of things to share this year. TUESDAY - 5:30 Penn Cycle in Woodbury - Brant's Ride Tuesdays - 5:30 pm from Penn Cycle in Woodbury. For those that have ridden this ride, we will keep a similar route and speed. The speed typically increases as the season goes on. Last year some of the rides reached 19+ mph as a group. The rides usually start out at 16-17 mph so give it a shot! This is typically a no drop ride, within reason. 
Penn Page - https://www.penncycle.com/about/penn-cycle-events-calendar-pg1874.htm
Typical Route - https://www.strava.com/activities/639108163


Image Credit: Penn Cycle
Wednesday Night Tours
Penn Cycle Bloomington

  • Promote cycling fitness 
  • Practice and improve safe group road bike riding skills 
  • Establish and enhance our local cycling community and build relationships 
  1. Ride distances ranging from 30 to 40 miles. 
  2. Skill level: Ability to maintain an average speed of 15 to 18 miles per hour and ride comfortably in a group including pace-line riding. 
  3. Depending on the size of the group, we may break into faster and slower groups; no rider will be left behind. 
  4. We will stop mid-way during our rides to refill water bottles. 
  1. Rides start at 5:30 PM from the Penn Cycle Bloomington Store. 
  2. Helmets are required. 
  3. A release form must be signed before each ride. 
  4. Rides may be canceled due to bad weather; decisions made no later than 5:00 PM before ride – see contact information below. 
Planned Rides:
  • Chaska via Bloomington Ferry Bridge 
  • Harriet Island, St. Paul via I-494 bikeway 
  • Minnehaha Falls via Fort Snelling State Park 
  • Downtown Wayzata thru Edina / Hopkins / Minnetonka 
  • Cleary Lake Regional Park, Prior Lake via Bloomington Ferry Bridge 
Rides to occur every Wednesday night starting from May 2nd thru September 12th – no ride on July 4th. For more information contact Chris Goldschrafe, Store Manager at Penn Cycle at 952-888-1427 or email at chrisg@penncycle.com or Don Duffy at 612-991-1403; donduffy1953@gmail.com.

Image Credit: Justin Williams Photos
Wednesday Night Worlds
Penn Cycle Eagan

Join us for a fast-paced road ride. We will leave at 5:30 sharp. Distance is 40-60 depending on daylight. Pace is 20-22 mph. Please follow this link for a more detailed description of each week's ride! https://wnweagan.wordpress.com/

The Lakes Tavern and Grill

The Lakes Tavern ride will have a new focus on teaching proper group riding techniques as well as breaking into an A and B pace group after leaving Woodbury. Take a look and if you want feel free to share with your cycling friends. All rides leave at time stated. Show up early for announcements and bikes roll out at stated ride times. 

For the 2018 Lakes ride, we are asking everyone to be ready no later than 5:20 as we have lots of things to share this year. WEDNESDAY - 5:30 Lakes Tavern and Grill in Woodbury - Jody/Brant Ride Wednesdays - 5:30 pm from Lakes Tavern and Grill, Woodbury. Please park in the back of the restaurant and you can use the bathroom inside if needed. There were some big groups last year and we hope to see those faces again. Pace last year was about 15-19 mph depending on which group you rode with. This is a no drop ride so pick the A or B pace depending on how you feel. This year's ride will have a strong emphasis on group etiquette, proper riding techniques and continual education as well as keeping things safe and fun. We have not had any major incidents and I want to continue with that streak. You are invited to stay post ride for refreshments and food. Remember the staff work off of tips and they treat us very well, so don't forget to leave a tip even if you grab a glass of water!

Route - https://www.strava.com/activities/712610897


Image Credit: Justin Williams Photos
Lebanon Hills/Murphy-Hanrehan

Join us Thursdays for the Solidarity Cycling WTF* MTB Ride Series. Locations include Lebanon Hills and Murphy-Hanrehan. Check poster for ride date/locations. All rides start at 6pm. *women/trans/femme


Penn Cycle Blaine

Get out of bed and join us for a fun ride! We will meet at the Blaine Penn Cycle, roll out and then gather afterwards for some social time. All ages and genders are welcome! Pace and distance varies based on riders show up. We try to have a 100% no drop ride. If everyone is a A rider we will do 40 or 50 miles at 20 mph. If we have some B riders we will do 30 to 40 miles at 17 to 14 mph. I always try to be back to the shop by noon. The goal is to get more riders interested in riding groups and to help riders learn how to ride safely on the road. If you have any questions please call Ron Moore at (612)558-3839.  Ron also has a Facebook page People ride with the old roadie

When: Saturdays at 8:00 am
Ride Type: Road
Ride Size: 10 cyclists
Distance: 35 miles
Drop: No
Frequency: Weekly Season: April - September

Image Credit: Mel Cherry
Penn Cycle Minneapolis

Lazy Lake Loops are here! Join your friendly Penn Minneapolis squad for a Saturday morning loop around one of our city lakes. Destinations will rotate between Lake Bde Maka Ska, Lake of the Isles, and Cedar Lake. Meet at the shop by 10:30am to roll out, plan on 45min to an hour of riding 5-9 miles. Bring your friends, kids, and dogs - our focus is on community and FUN. Ice cream stop optional.


2018 Almanzo Stories

The 2018 Almanzo Gravel Races took place May 18-19 in the small town of Spring Valley, Minnesota just south of Rochester.  What was started by Chris Skogen with a small group of friends back in 2007 has grown over the years into something truly special.  The gravel community has embraced the Almanzo 100 as the "Granddaddy" of all gravel races.  Spring Valley Tourism with the assistance of Penn Cycle made sure that one of the largest free gravel races in the country continued with the traditions that founder Chris Skogen set forth for this yearly event.

The weather for the 2018 Almanzo gravel races was the best it's been in years bringing out a combined total of 1014 riders to the start line for the Royal 162 and Almanzo 100.  Seven brave souls were on the start line at 5am on Friday morning for the start of the Alexander 380. After last year's dismal rain, cold temperatures and wind, this was a welcome change for cyclist that came to Spring Valley from all over the US, Japan and the Netherlands.  I have compiled a list of racer accounts from blogs, local & national press as well as links to photo galleries and videos.

Almanzo 100

Race Report: 2018 Almanzo 100 – Spring Valley, Minnesota
Nicholas Garbis

It’s the Saturday after Mother’s Day in the town of Spring Valley in the southern corner of the state of Minnesota. About 70 miles to the east is the Mississippi river, past Bratsberg, Houston, and Hokan, you will find the big river down below the bluffs and across from there, La Crosse, Wisconsin. The land on either side of the Mississippi in this area, once you are above the bluff line, is wrinkled and rolling where streams and creeks have dug their paths, leaving high grounds, natural quarries, and rolling vistas of green lushness. Read the full story

Couch to 160k | Almanzo 2018
Shimano Gravel Alliance ambassador Ben Popper

I had developed a foolproof training plan for the ALMANZO 100 in Spring Hill, MN and was calling it "Couch to 160k." It mimicked in premise the couch to 5k program that aspiring runners use to overcome the uncertainties of doing their first running race. Start small by, in my case, getting my butt out of my desk chair and pedaling around the block. Then slowly build over the course of weeks, doing longer and longer rides, until I’d be ready for race day and fit enough to ride 100 miles. It is a proven strategy for building fitness. I started the program with a solid base of couch sitting. Then skipped everything in the middle, finishing my training by showing up on the day of the ride with about ten miles in my legs total. I needed to find a supplemental plan. Read the full story

Shimano Goes Graveling - Almanzo 100

An email invite arrived in my inbox. Something to the effect of "Would you like to race the Almanzo 100 and try Shimano's new clutch road derailleur in the process?" Would I?! Well, the Almanzo has been on my gravel bucket list for some time. Checking out a new derailleur was icing on the cake. So I flew to Minnesota where I met up with what seemed like a battalion of Shimano and PRO engineers, product managers, PR peeps, and Shimano's large crew of gravel ambassadors. Also along for the fun were several other journalists, all keen to ride an event that none of us had experienced. Read the full story

Stevil Kinevil

The short version for those who perhaps missed it previously, is that roughly ten days ago, I was half conscious in the back of an ambulance not only not able to recall my name, but even how to say it. So what better physical condition to fly to Minnesota for the whateverth annual Almanzo 100? Read the full story

℞: Racing the Almanzo 100 with Shimano’s Gravel Alliance
Parker Bloom

Add another tally to my listing of improbable spots I’ve been to for bike racing. This weekend pastime– of packing up a bag to bursting with spandex, shoes and a helmet and departing for somewhere strange to line up and race my bike– continues to surprise me. I’ve raced in freezing rain, and under Las Vegas lights, had snow build up on my bars, and have been cradled between craggy Rockies. But this trip to Minnesota was a first. Read the full story

Guitar Ted Productions

"Gee, you're here kinda early, aren't ya?", said the salt and pepper haired man. He was a local, and had been loading up a motor scooter on a trailer from what was once likely a thriving business 100 years ago, but was now serving as a storage shed. The village of Cherry Grove, Minnesota is not much on retail business these days. The man with the salt and pepper hair was curious as to what we were up to and I think he figured out we were with the Almanzo 100 in some capacity, so he sauntered over to have a word with my son and I. I replied to the man by saying, "Yeah, I like to be early." I said that because he was right, by the way. We were a bit early. Read the full story

Royal 162

Mike Nichols

For me, endurance cycling, and endurance gravel riding especially, has always been about testing and pushing my boundaries. That includes pushing my athletic ability. But, it is also very often about testing my will. My experience at the 2018 Almanzo Royal 162 was very much about testing my will. It was also an up-close, intimate encounter with suffering. Read the full story


Spring Valley Tribune-David Phillips

Although the weather earlier in the week called for rain last weekend, bicyclists in the endurance gravel road races that make up Wilder Fest enjoyed ideal conditions May 18 and 19. About 700 bicyclists took part in the annual races that start from downtown Spring Valley. The majority of riders were in the Almanzo 100, which had a temperature of 60 degrees at the start, rising to about 70 later in the day. More importantly, winds were calm until the evening when they neared 15 miles per hour, and the riders stayed dry under cloudy skies. Read the full story

Cyclocross Magazine-Zachary Schuster

2018 marked the 12th year of the Almanzo 100 gravel race held on the unpaved roads around Spring Valley in southeastern Minnesota. After a 2017 race that was marred by 35-degree temperatures and rain, this year’s race was drier and dustier, with temperatures reaching the 70s and the sun peeking through the clouds at times. Read the full story

Cyclocross Magazine-Zachary Schuster

After seeing Winfield race on Saturday, her quip about being “washed up” is about 100 miles of gravel from the truth. Winfield survived a tough challenge from Kristen Legan and Jenna Rinehart to win the Women’s title at the 2018 Almanzo 100 gravel race in Minnesota. Read the full story

Cyclocross Magazine-Zachary Schuster

“I found it as an abandoned bike with a bunch of broken stuff on it,” he said about the re-built Medici Gran Turismo he rode at the Almanzo 100 gravel race. “I eyed it for a long time sitting outside for a couple months, and then eventually I decided no one’s coming for this bike.” Read the full story

Cyclocross Magazine-Zachary Schuster

Last weekend at the Almanzo 100 gravel race, I rode the Allied Alfa Allroad for the 100-mile gravel event. The bike was equipped with Shimano’s new Ultegra RX805 clutch-based derailleur and a complement of Shimano components and Vittoria Terreno Mix tires. Read the full story

Cyclocross Magazine-Zachary Schuster

Last week, we did a full profile of Dee Dee Winfield’s Blue Norcross SL and Matt Allen’s Medici Gran Turismo and today, I have a quick look at three more bikes and the stories behind them. Stay tuned for a look at Women’s runner-up Kristen Legan’s titanium Firefly after she tackles the Dirty Kanza XL on the platform this weekend. Read all three stories

Cyclocross Magazine-Zachary Schuster

Cyclocross Magazine attended an Ultegra RX event hosted by Shimano at this year’s Almanzo 100 in Minnesota that tackled 100, 162 and 380 miles of gravel roads around Spring Valley, MN. According to Shimano Product Team leader Dave Lawrence, Shimano chose Almanzo for the event because the annual race was among the first to put gravel races on the company’s product team’s radar thanks to event sponsor Penn Cycles of Minneapolis. Read the full story


2018 Almanzo
Chris Chavie
2018 Almanzo

Ed Denbow

Stephanie Olson
Image Credit: Stephanie Olson


Lead Group at the Preston Checkpoint
Chris Chavie

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