Hundreds of mountain bikers hit Lester River trails in Duluth for Great Hawk Chase

By KBJR News 1

July 13, 2014 Updated Jul 13, 2014 at 10:41 PM CST

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - The Minnesota Mountain Bike Series features 10 regional races that take mountain bikers from Rochester to St. Cloud.

But on Sunday, those riders were swarming the trail system along Duluth's Lester River.

"There's about 500 racers who attend these races," said series Director Gary Sjoquist, " and they range anywhere from 8 years old, up to, I think our oldest racer is about 65."

Sjoquist says the series offers several different race styles within the same day. There are expert and competition races, and new to Sunday's race: the Marathon Class.

"So those folks started at 9:30, and they'll race for 3 hours," said Sjoquist.

Sjoquist says Sunday also offered free races for youth mountain bikers who want to try their luck at the sport.

Seventh grader Connor Abrit was one of those eager young racers, and today was his first race.

"It was really muddy, good single track out there," said Abrit, "but nothing too hard."

Abrit says he did better than expected.

"I was neck and neck with one guy, I don't know if I got him though," laughed Abrit.

Sjoquist says he hopes people will only become more interested in the sport as time continues, and that Duluth has positioned itself to be a good venue.

"You guys have really positioned yourselves as an outdoor Mecca, and mountain biking is just so great here," said Sjoquist, "so it's just great we can come back and race here."

The Minnesota Mountain Bike Series will return to Duluth later this summer for a debut race at Mission Creek.

Billy Wagness
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