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Organizers cancel 2017 Cold Catfish Cup race

The sixth annual Cold Catfish Cup mountain bike race has been canceled, organizers announced Thursday.

The recent span of warm weather has led to wet and muddy trails at Carver Lake Park in Woodbury, where the race was expected to kick off Feb. 26. Organizers fear these conditions could have caused long-term damage to the trails if 170 riders had hit the paths.

Race organizers were holding out for colder weather and a little more snowfall when they postponed the race in January.  

The slick and soft grounds — as opposed to a hard snow surface — would have also proven difficult for riders.

“It just wouldn’t be a fun race,” Woodbury Parks and Recreation specialist Reed Smidt said.

The city typically closes the Carver Lake Park trails during the freezing and thawing period in the fall and winter in order to prevent degradation.

“It would really damage the trails to the point where we'd probably spend the majority of the summer fixing things, Smidt said. “Even one rider going out there while it's closed in the spring thaw can cause damage that's really difficult to fix.”

But there may be a silver lining.

Organizers and sponsors will be holding a thank you event for racers on Feb. 26 at the Able Seedhouse + Brewery in Minneapolis.

“It’s our way of saying thanks and give something back to them,” Smidt said. "We want to put something together to have a good time and hopefully have the race next year.”

Funds raised from the Cold Catfish Cup go toward maintaining the trails at Carver Lake Park.

With temperatures expected to reach the 60s the week prior to the race, Smidt added the city may also open the trails for riders earlier than expected, depending on how quickly the ground thaws and the trails dry up.

Questions can be directed to Smidt at reed.smidt@woodburymn.gov or 651-714-3588.

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