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St. Croix Woolly 2017: Great Weather, Great Course, Great Opener

By Troy Melhus, 05/08/17, 11:00PM CDT

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More than 500 Minnesota and Wisconsin mountain bike racers turned out to St. Croix Falls and the Woolly Trail for the opening race of the 2017 Minnesota Mountain Bike Series.

 

 

ST. CROIX FALLS, WIS. — As opening race days go, the 2017 Minnesota Mountain Bike Series opener was about as perfect as one could ask for.

With temperatures hovering in the 65-degree range most of the day, under clear, blue skies, more than 500 Minnesota and Wisconsin mountain bike racers turned out to St. Croix Falls and the Woolly Trail for the opening race of the 2017 Minnesota Mountain Bike Series.

Perfect weather almost didn't happen.

"We were really blessed this year," said Race Director Matt Fisk. "Two weeks ago we were predicted to get 5 to 8 inches of snow. We were already talking about a rain date. "

Two years ago, rains pounded the course just hours before the the race. Fortunately then — as now — the course dried quickly.

Course conditions couldn't have been more perfect on Sunday.

"It's been dry since Thursday," Fisk said. "The course is in top-notch shape."

Of course, with perfect conditions comes no excuses.

"The hardest part of the race is that you have to decide at the beginning of the lap," said Marathon racer Connie Sjoquist, after finishing her final lap.  "The first part of the course is the hardest part. You have to decide then whether you want to do another lap."

She had nothing but great things to say about the day's race.

"This course is a 10 out of 10," Sjoquist said. "The course is great, the facilities are great. They just did an excellent job."

Of the more than 500 racers, Sjoquist was one of the nearly 80 women to turn out at the race to compete Sunday.

"We had a huge group of women. It was an absolute blast to ride with them," said Maplelag team racer Eleanor Bacso.

She, too, raved about the course: "The course is really fun — it's fast and flowy," she said.

Peace Coffee Racer Troy Melhus is a former Expert racer in the Minnesota MTB series and former writer for the Star Tribune. He can be reached at tmelhus@gmail.com.