Save the date(s)! The organizers of the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival have announced the 2011 schedule and race locations. This year’s event will go from June 15-19 and have similar stages to last year’s event:
- June 15: ITT in St. Paul during the morning, with a crit in Lowertown St. Paul during the evening. The Lowertown crit is highly recommended – parking is pretty easy, and there are some good places to grab a bite or a brew nearby.
- June 16: Cannon Falls road race.
- June 17: Evening crit in Uptown Minneapolis. This was new last year – the crit used to be downtown. I heard mixed reviews of the parking situation, and dining in Uptown on a Friday evening is always a challenge. Good viewing is easily accessible via the Midtown Greenway, however, which opens up more options for some people.
- June 18: Menomonie road race. This was also new last year. The roads near Menomonie are really good fun for cycling, and certainly not flat. Several circuits through downtown Menomonie offer an opportunity to watch in a civilized setting.
- June 19: The big Stillwater Crit, always a crowd pleaser. The racers end up having to do Chillkoot Hill repeatedly, which is an evil little climb. Biking into Stillwater is a good option for viewing this stage as well.
The Minnesota Fixed Gear Classic, a companion event, will take place June 10-12 at the National Sports Center Velodrome. The track racing at the Velo is a lot of fun (every Thursday all summer!) and this is another nice event to check out. Kids especially seem to love the track racing, as they can see all the action, and they sell ice cream at the concessions shack.
The NVBF web site hasn’t yet been updated with the 2011 dates, but all the information will be there eventually, I am sure. They’re also on Twitter and Facebook. They always need some volunteers (and host families for racers) as the event nears, so it’s good to keep an eye out if you’re interested in becoming more involved with this great opportunity to see quality bike racing in Minnesota.
Update 1/12/2010: As Hugh points out, it’s year 3 in Uptown. I’m still calling it a parking nightmare and not going with a toddler in tow!