Tomorrow, the first two stages of the 2011 Nature Valley Bicycle Festival will hit St. Paul, and wander around the area (including Wisconsin) through Sunday. This is a fun pro event, offering a variety of disciplines and opportunities to watch race action. The criterium stages are especially good events to attend with children, as unlike a road race everyone gets to see the racers repeatedly — a key entertainment plus with little ones in tow.
The schedule is also good to know for another reason: If you need to get around in downtown St. Paul Wednesday, or Uptown on Friday, the race will seriously mess with your routing.
Here’s the race schedule:
- St. Paul TT: Wednesday, 8:30AM -noon
- St. Paul downtown criterium: Wednesday, 6:15 PM – 9:00 PM (expo opens at 4)
- Cannon Falls road race: Thursday, 5:00 PM – 8:30 PMish
- Uptown criterium: Friday, 6:15 PM – 9:00 PM
- Menomonie road race: Saturday, noon – 4:15PMish
- Stillwater criterium: Sunday, 11:45AM – 4:00PM
The St. Paul, Uptown and Stillwater sites are easily accessible via multiple bike routes, with the caveat that going in and out of Stillwater can be a wee rolling and possibly a challenge with small children, trailers or trail a bikes. Using the Midtown Greenway to access the Uptown Crit is a best bet and avoids the headache that is Uptown parking on a Friday evening.
This year’s event also includes a gran fondo in Menomonie, and an amateur race in Stillwater. Most stages feature a kids’ fun race before the pros get rolling. Full info is available at the festival web site.