Cycling: Ironman coming to Washington CountyThe Minnesota Ironman bike ride has been one of the nation’s most popular endurance events for 47 years. This spring, the ride is coming to Washington County.
By: Patrick Johnson, sports editor, Woodbury Bulletin
The Minnesota Ironman bike ride has been one of the nation’s most popular endurance events for 47 years. This spring, the ride is coming to Washington County.
The Minnesota Ironman will take place on Sunday, April 28. Ride directors expect somewhere between 4,000 and 6,000 participants this year. Registration begins on Friday, Feb. 1, through www.IronmanBikeRide.org.
“This is the original long-distance, athletic competition,” said Ryan McEnaney, Ironman Bike Ride Public Relations director. “It’s a very big deal, especially in the cycling and endurance sports community. We’re hoping to be, at least, at the 6,000 rider mark this year. It’s going to be huge.”
The Minnesota Ironman is moving to Washington County from Lakeville, where it took place the past 13 years. For the most part, the new course will curve through Stillwater, Lake Elmo, Scandia, Marine on St. Croix, Oak Park Heights and Afton.
With short routes for new riders and families, the Minnesota Ironman is a ride for all cyclists and outdoor enthusiasts. However, the traditional and more challenging race is the 100-mile option for true Minnesota Ironmen and Ironwomen.
In past years, hundreds of riders from Woodbury, Cottage Grove, Afton and Stillwater have competed in the event. However, with the move, more area cyclists are expected to participate this year.
“This is the kick-off to the spring events, especially in the Midwest,” Ryan McEnaney said. “We’ll have people come from all over to do it, but we expect to be very heavily based with people from the area. Everyone that lives over here knows this is the best place to ride.”
Woodbury’s Bob McEnaney is the Official Coach of the 2013 Minnesota Ironman Bike Ride. Bob McEnaney will provide expertise on training, nutrition and equipment.
“My goal is to try to touch as many people as possible to help them have a better event,” Bob McEnaney said. “Like with any event there’s going to be a bell-shaped curve with beginners on one end and very experienced riders on the other end. My hope is to get to that middle part of the curve where people just could use a little bit of support and structure. I hope to help them have a better experience.”
Bob McEnaney is also the founder of Total Cycling Performance’s Ride for a Reason. In its inaugural year, Ride for a Reason raised roughly $7,000 for The Jack Jablonski Foundation by utilizing his race in the Furnace Creek 508 to raise awareness and gather national attention to their cause.
Bob McEnaney said he’s excited about the Ironman’s move to Washington County.
“We have some great climbs and a very scenic route,” he said. “The roads are great and there are very few stop signs. This venue offers even more as far as scenery and variety in terrain. It’s just a great part of the Twin Cities for an awfully large amount of people to see.”