Anybody here planning to ride this race? It's Rochester, MN to Mankato, MN on gravel roads. I'd love to, but maybe am not in good enough shape to do 100 miles.
Bike race will be for do-it-yourselfers
4/11/2007 11:26:29 AM
By Jason Feldman
Chris Skogen likes to bring people together for a common cause, especially if that cause results in people feeling better about themselves in the end.
That's why the 29-year-old Rochester man ran for mayor in November.
The election didn't fall his way, but Skogen wasn't deterred or discouraged.
He's in the final stages of organizing a large gathering of like-minded athletes for an event that will test them physically and mentally, and will result only in personal satisfaction for each participant.
Skogen's vision -- a 100-mile bike ride, primarily on gravel roads, from Rochester to Mankato -- will come to fruition on May 19.
The Almanzo 100 is named after the husband of Laura Ingalls Wilder, who once lived near the area that the ride will pass through.
The idea came to Skogen after hearing of other similar races.
"There's a group in Iowa who puts together the Trans-Iowa ride; it's about 300 miles, completely self-supported and runs about 36 hours on gravel and dirt roads," Skogen said. "There's also the Great Divide Race, which is about 2,500 miles -- it's the length of the Rocky Mountains from Canada to New Mexico.
"There are people putting these things on all over the country, so why not here?"
Another reason Skogen organized this ride is just because of his passion for bike riding. He bought his first "nice bike" when he was 16 and said he soon learned that "biking is a very efficient way to get around and fun to do."
He and his wife have just one car, and he rides his bike wherever he needs to go -- work, shopping, etc. -- whether it's the middle of July or the middle of February.
The Almanzo 100 is a completely self-supported ride, meaning riders must fend for themselves at all times. If a rider's bike breaks down, it's his or her issue to deal with. If a rider needs food or water, he will have to pack it and carry it himself, or wait until the trail goes through a town.
The ride is scheduled to begin at Central Park in Rochester. It will continue through Medford, about 50 miles away, then through Waseca and finally to Mankato.
And if a rider needs to get back to Rochester? They either will have to have someone scheduled to pick them up in Mankato, or they'll be riding in the Almanzo 200.
"People are completely responsible for themselves," Skogen said, "which I think adds to the fun aspect of it. A lot of times with cycling races they can seem very official.
"When you take the formal rules and regulations, and the entry money out of it ... it brings it down to, if you like to ride and just have fun, then this is the ride for you."
Skogen said he has spoken briefly with law enforcement officials, who told him that, since the riders are fully self-supported, they have no problems with the event as long as riders follow state laws and regulations.
Skogen said he will have a map and other information, such as nearby hospitals along the route, available for riders on the day of the event.
The ride is open to all cyclists ages 18 and older, and though it's a self-supported ride, Skogen said he will award trophies to the first riders to complete the 100-mile journey in four classes.
"I wanted to bring people together just to get together and have a fun time," Skogen said. "No one really benefits from this ride, except for their own personal accomplishment."
* Almanzo 100 bike ride
* One less car blog