Austin hosting second bike race

Published 11:21 am Friday, September 9, 2016

The Austin mountain biking team is set to host its second Minnesota High School Cycling League race in team history this weekend, and things are going to be bigger this year.

The meet will take place at the trail located north of the Hormel Foods Corporate North Campus near Todd Park and will begin at 8:30 a.m. Sunday and wrap up with awards at 5 p.m.

The meet will show the state of Minnesota what Austin has to offer bike riders.

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“Hosting it here in Austin really puts the city in the spotlight on what we have to offer for bike trails,” said Steve Kime, a local bicyclist enthusiast and chairman of Vision 2020’s Bike/Walk Trail committee. “Once people come and see that hopefully they want to come and visit again.”

Last year, Austin hosted the second reach of the league’s season and got good reviews. Austin’s race will kickoff the season this year, as league officials noted at last year’s race that Austin’s relatively flat trail makes for a good course to start the season.

Austin’s Timur Kritzer rides out on the course during last year’s Minnesota High School Cycling League race in Austin. -- Herald file photo

Austin’s Timur Kritzer rides out on the course during last year’s Minnesota High School Cycling League race in Austin. — Herald file photo

This year, Austin’s team has 25 members after having just 16 members last year, and the trail has been lengthened to nearly four miles, which will give riders more space to ride.

“The length is ideal and that’s what we’ve been working for,” Garath Hataye, a planning coordinator of the trail, said.

The trail additions also make for a better and longer ride and it will assist in timing out laps. The race day is a big day for the competitors and the community alike. Organizers expect more than 650 student athletes to compete from 55 teams across Minnesota at the race.

Having hosted a race last year showed the team what it’s like to have a big meet, but there are still challenges in the set up.

“There are less unknowns, but we’re still trying to get a lot of things done,” Hataye said. “We had volunteers all summer working on the trail and as we’re approaching race time, we’re really reaching out the community to help out with setting up the race on the race day.”

Kime said that Austin received a lot of praise last year for all of the volunteers who showed up and he’s expecting a good turnout again this year.

“It’s typical of Austin for volunteers to come forward,” Kime said. “It’s a tribute for what we do here in town.”

Austin has a new coach this season as Tracey Brown has taken over.

The cycling team competes in six races and each team gets a bye week this year. Races were scheduled to be held in St. Cloud, Rochester, Duluth, River Falls, Wisconsin, and Austin.

The public is welcome to attend the race, which can be viewed from the city of Austin’s paved trail. Residents are advised that parking will be crowded at Todd Park.

The final and state championship race will be held in Mankato this year.

For a schedule of Sunday’s race, visit