ROCHESTER, MN —There’s no place like home.
Seriously: I’ve mountain biked from coast to coast and sea to shining sea. There is no place like 44º Latitude in Minnesota, where singletrack sweeps between thick, lush treescapes and woods on a cool summer day.
The perfection that is Midwest mountain biking was on sweet display on Sunday, July 30, 2017, at the Minnesota Mountain Bike Series’ first-ever race at Rochester’s Gamehaven Boy Scout Reservation — a 265-acre scout camp southwest of Rochester, filled with a massive and flowing singletrack system maintained by local volunteers from the Rochester Active Sports Club.
While the course has actually been a site for high school racing for the past four years, this year marked the first the trail system could handle a full day of the “Gamehaven Lakeside Grind” — more than 10 categories and nearly 400 mountain bikers from the tri-state area.
“We had enough trail built for the high schools, so we just had to add more trail to have a good race for the Sport class on up. It took us a couple years to get that built up,” said Race Director Jeff Robertson. “Riders really liked the course. It was a fast course — different than a lot of the other series courses, so it really complemented the series.”
Brooke Bailey, an Elite racer for the Spin Racing Team from Mason City, Iowa, said the day was perfect for a race.
“It was a great course — it had some great flow and some punchy uphills, so it was a lot of fun. Fantastic,” she said. “I remember Gamehaven when it was first opening up, so to see the progress has been really awesome.”
Mark Foslien, Comp Racer from Saint Paul, said the course actually surprised him.
“I’ve been racing the series for a very long time,” Foslien said. “This is my first time ever riding this course, ever, so I didn’t really know what to expect. It was fast and flowy — I definitely had some fun on those fast downhill sections.”
Best of all, the weather could not have been more perfect. Cool temperatures in the 70s and 80s, with a light cloud cover through the afternoon, kept racers cool on the extra laps.
“The weather cooperated,” Robertson said. “We got some periods with some shade, so that helped the riders — everything was great as far as nature was concerned.”
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 email@example.com.
Tag(s): Series News & Events