Bike fest evolves

by Heather Steltenpohl

35694_135513226475566_1952894_nThe 2009 Superior Bike Fest (SBF) will see some changes this year. In addition to the downhill and cross-country mountain bike races and the Friday night twilight criterion, the Saturday road race will be the Michigan State Road Racing Championship and the Sunday circuit road race will circle around Presque Isle Park.
The Michigan Bicycle Racing Association (MBRA) has selected Marquette’s Superior Bike Fest as the Michigan State Championship Road Race for 2009 and 2010. The three-day event will be held June 26 through 28.
Cyclists have enjoyed the road course stage of Superior Bike Fest in the past, which rides along the shore of Lake Superior and winds through scenic Marquette County, offering riders serious climbs and beautiful views as they make their way back to the big lake. USA Cat 1/2 riders will compete on a 100-mile course, while USA Cat 3, 4, 5 and citizen riders will take the fifty-five- and thirty-five-mile routes. MBRA officials were impressed with Bike Fest’s organizational effort, the quality of the Bike Fest sponsors and volunteer support, the backing of the City and the race course.
“While the MBRA received a number of excellent submissions from other events, the Superior Bike Fest team put together an exceptional application,” said Joe Lekovish, MBRA director. “Bicycle racing continues to experience record growth in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula as both a participant and spectator sport and the Superior Bike Fest event is one that is truly worthy to host the State Road Race Championships. Additionally, this will be the first time ever that a State Cycling Championship has been hosted in the U.P. I look forward to attending this year’s event.”
“The Superior Bike Fest has really sparked a lot of interest for cycling in our community and the U.P.,” said Tom Mahaney, director and rider for Marquette’s Chocolay ACE racing team. “I think a lot of people locally are much more aware of cycling as a sport and also see it as a fun way to exercise. The proof is in the growth of the many cycling clubs that have started recently around the U.P. Houghton has the Red Jackets Cycling Club, Munising has the Anna River Pedalers and Marquette has the KMK Cycling Club and a college team at NMU. And we also have an independent cycling race team that has grown out of all this, which is the Chocolay ACE Hardware Race Team.”
Mahaney remembers the first SBF, which was a basic citizen road race. The Friday night crit in downtown Marquette was added and brought in more people. Next, the organizers came up with the Sunday circuit, which makes up a full weekend of road racing.
“Putting all this together and becoming a USA Cycling Event shows how this race has grown from a local citizen race to a top-notch Midwest racing event,” Mahaney said. “I think the organizers behind SBF had a vision for this race and stuck to it. They deserve a lot of praise and credit for their commitment and efforts. The icing on the cake is the designation of this year’s and next year’s race as the Michigan State Road Race Championships. Hats off to all the organizers and sponsors of the SBF.”
Mahaney has been involved in Marquette’s blossoming cycling scene from the beginning.
“From [SBF], I was drawn into cycling at a rapid pace,” he said. “Our Tuesday-night rides fueled the competition bug in others besides me. Over the years, a number of us were always competing in races but not really racing as a team. With the start-up of the Chocolay ACE Hardware Race Team last year, we started racing as a team. We had great success in the many races we competed in including the SBF. Our goal again this year will be the top step of the podium at this event and several more.”
Frank Pipp, a professional rider for the Bissell Pro Cycling team and Upper Peninsula native is excited about the designation.
“This is a big jump in status for cycling in the U.P.,” Pipp said. “It is great that Marquette continues to embrace sports that aren’t mainstream.”
Pipp hopes to be able to compete once again at the 2009 Superior Bike Fest in the Pro 1/2 category. He is preparing to race in the prestigious Tour of California.
Superior Bike Fest typically sees about 500 riders over the weekend.
“We think by hosting the state championship, we’ll see not only an increase in ridership, but in the quality and ability of the riders, as well,” race codirector Donn Wolf said. “We anticipate seeing more organized teams with strong riders competing, all wanting to claim a state championship trophy. We’ll see the level of competition step up a notch.”
“We’re very excited about this,” said race co-director Jim Grundstrom. “We’ve moved up in the credibility pecking order in the cycling world.”
History also will be made Sunday when the road bikes take to Peter White Drive for the circuit race portion of the 2009 Superior Bike Fest at historic Presque Isle Park in Marquette. V.I.O., Inc. has stepped up to sponsor the circuit race for 2009. After careful consideration by the City of Marquette Parks and Recreation Board and the City Commission, SBF was granted permission to use the grounds of Presque Isle Park for the morning of June 28. All motorized traffic will be closed on the Island during that time.
“In the past, we struggled with the previous location of the circuit race,” Grundstrom said. “We have had helpful support at K.I. Sawyer in 2007 and 2008; however, the location being that far out of town, and the dramatic need for a tremendous number of helpers because of all the street corners really made it a tough project to get our arms around.”
The circuit race at the new location could rival the excitement of the Friday night downtown twilight criterium.
“We have always kept an eye on Presque Isle because of the very cool setting, and the lake surrounding it,” Grundstrom said. “It is a very contained property and almost no need for tons of volunteers.”
The Circuit Race is the perfect setting for the longest day of the year to race around. The course will open for pre-ride at sunrise, 5:30 a.m., and racing will begin at 8:00 a.m.
The two-mile lap will start near the ice cream stand and flow clockwise around the Island, as Presque Isle is known locally. Racers will pass the pavilion and sunset point before climbing up the hill near the Black Rocks and gliding through the woods past Chief Charlie Kawbagam’s grave out into the park and picnic area ending up back at the ice cream stand.
V.I.O., Inc. of Marquette will sponsor the circuit race to cover the venue rental cost.
“It was an easy decision to support the Superior Bike Fest because of the way this event creates awareness across the Midwest of all the different cycling opportunities available in the Marquette area,” said David Ollila, founder and chief product developer of V.I.O, Inc. “The Bike Fest is so important to the community. There are so many volunteers and so much work for such a short amount of time. It would be an oversight not to step up and help.”
“I am excited that the Presque Isle Circuit Race is a completely unique event based on the venue. Presque Isle is a historical and community treasure.”
Ollila said participants and spectators can’t get a race experience like this anywhere else.
“There won’t be a more beautiful road event in the United States of America—the natural beauty and historical significance of the Island are beyond compare,” he said. “What better way to spend a Sunday morning.”
Lekovish is amazed by the combined beauty and sporting challenge the Presque Isle Circuit race will offer participants.
“Racers will get fantastic views of the Lake Superior shoreline as they ride through the canopy of trees lining the road,” he said. “The Presque Isle race will be the perfect event to close what promises to be a fantastic weekend of racing.”
He thanks the hard work of the organizing team, led by Jim Grundstrom.
“Additionally, the level of enthusiasm and support this event receives from the community have made the Superior Bike Fest a must-do event for racers from through out the Midwest and Canada for the past several years,” Lekovish said. “The 2009 edition promises to be the best yet.”
The weekend of events include the Friday evening criterium, Saturday road races, Saturday’s downhill gravity event at Marquette Mountain Ski Area and Sunday’s circuit race and XC mountain bike event. The Superior Bike Fest benefits the Marquette Mountain Ski Patrol and the YMCA of Marquette County.
The SBF began seventeen years ago as the Mountain Chase XC race organized by the Marquette Mountain Ski Patrol. Seven years ago, road racing was added to the weekend and the event was renamed the Superior Bike Fest.
“The SBF is a unique opportunity for riders of varied disciplines to come together for a weekend of fun competition,” race co-director Donn Wolf said. “Road, downhill and XC riders will all find an event which suits their taste.”
The Superior Bike Fest is presented by Gold Sponsors Marquette General Health System, Frei Chevrolet, Getz’s and Northern Michigan University. For details, visit www.superiorbikefest.com or www.mbra.org
—Bike fest evolves
The 2009 Superior Bike Fest (SBF) will see some changes this year. In addition to the downhill and cross-country mountain bike races and the Friday night twilight criterion, the Saturday road race will be the Michigan State Road Racing Championship and the Sunday circuit road race will circle around Presque Isle Park.
The Michigan Bicycle Racing Association (MBRA) has selected Marquette’s Superior Bike Fest as the Michigan State Championship Road Race for 2009 and 2010. The three-day event will be held June 26 through 28.
Cyclists have enjoyed the road course stage of Superior Bike Fest in the past, which rides along the shore of Lake Superior and winds through scenic Marquette County, offering riders serious climbs and beautiful views as they make their way back to the big lake. USA Cat 1/2 riders will compete on a 100-mile course, while USA Cat 3, 4, 5 and citizen riders will take the fifty-five- and thirty-five-mile routes. MBRA officials were impressed with Bike Fest’s organizational effort, the quality of the Bike Fest sponsors and volunteer support, the backing of the City and the race course.
“While the MBRA received a number of excellent submissions from other events, the Superior Bike Fest team put together an exceptional application,” said Joe Lekovish, MBRA director. “Bicycle racing continues to experience record growth in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula as both a participant and spectator sport and the Superior Bike Fest event is one that is truly worthy to host the State Road Race Championships. Additionally, this will be the first time ever that a State Cycling Championship has been hosted in the U.P. I look forward to attending this year’s event.”
“The Superior Bike Fest has really sparked a lot of interest for cycling in our community and the U.P.,” said Tom Mahaney, director and rider for Marquette’s Chocolay ACE racing team. “I think a lot of people locally are much more aware of cycling as a sport and also see it as a fun way to exercise. The proof is in the growth of the many cycling clubs that have started recently around the U.P. Houghton has the Red Jackets Cycling Club, Munising has the Anna River Pedalers and Marquette has the KMK Cycling Club and a college team at NMU. And we also have an independent cycling race team that has grown out of all this, which is the Chocolay ACE Hardware Race Team.”
Mahaney remembers the first SBF, which was a basic citizen road race. The Friday night crit in downtown Marquette was added and brought in more people. Next, the organizers came up with the Sunday circuit, which makes up a full weekend of road racing.
“Putting all this together and becoming a USA Cycling Event shows how this race has grown from a local citizen race to a top-notch Midwest racing event,” Mahaney said. “I think the organizers behind SBF had a vision for this race and stuck to it. They deserve a lot of praise and credit for their commitment and efforts. The icing on the cake is the designation of this year’s and next year’s race as the Michigan State Road Race Championships. Hats off to all the organizers and sponsors of the SBF.”
Mahaney has been involved in Marquette’s blossoming cycling scene from the beginning.
“From [SBF], I was drawn into cycling at a rapid pace,” he said. “Our Tuesday-night rides fueled the competition bug in others besides me. Over the years, a number of us were always competing in races but not really racing as a team. With the start-up of the Chocolay ACE Hardware Race Team last year, we started racing as a team. We had great success in the many races we competed in including the SBF. Our goal again this year will be the top step of the podium at this event and several more.”
Frank Pipp, a professional rider for the Bissell Pro Cycling team and Upper Peninsula native is excited about the designation.
“This is a big jump in status for cycling in the U.P.,” Pipp said. “It is great that Marquette continues to embrace sports that aren’t mainstream.”
Pipp hopes to be able to compete once again at the 2009 Superior Bike Fest in the Pro 1/2 category. He is preparing to race in the prestigious Tour of California.
Superior Bike Fest typically sees about 500 riders over the weekend.
“We think by hosting the state championship, we’ll see not only an increase in ridership, but in the quality and ability of the riders, as well,” race codirector Donn Wolf said. “We anticipate seeing more organized teams with strong riders competing, all wanting to claim a state championship trophy. We’ll see the level of competition step up a notch.”
“We’re very excited about this,” said race co-director Jim Grundstrom. “We’ve moved up in the credibility pecking order in the cycling world.”
History also will be made Sunday when the road bikes take to Peter White Drive for the circuit race portion of the 2009 Superior Bike Fest at historic Presque Isle Park in Marquette. V.I.O., Inc. has stepped up to sponsor the circuit race for 2009. After careful consideration by the City of Marquette Parks and Recreation Board and the City Commission, SBF was granted permission to use the grounds of Presque Isle Park for the morning of June 28. All motorized traffic will be closed on the Island during that time.
“In the past, we struggled with the previous location of the circuit race,” Grundstrom said. “We have had helpful support at K.I. Sawyer in 2007 and 2008; however, the location being that far out of town, and the dramatic need for a tremendous number of helpers because of all the street corners really made it a tough project to get our arms around.”
The circuit race at the new location could rival the excitement of the Friday night downtown twilight criterium.
“We have always kept an eye on Presque Isle because of the very cool setting, and the lake surrounding it,” Grundstrom said. “It is a very contained property and almost no need for tons of volunteers.”
The Circuit Race is the perfect setting for the longest day of the year to race around. The course will open for pre-ride at sunrise, 5:30 a.m., and racing will begin at 8:00 a.m.
The two-mile lap will start near the ice cream stand and flow clockwise around the Island, as Presque Isle is known locally. Racers will pass the pavilion and sunset point before climbing up the hill near the Black Rocks and gliding through the woods past Chief Charlie Kawbagam’s grave out into the park and picnic area ending up back at the ice cream stand.
V.I.O., Inc. of Marquette will sponsor the circuit race to cover the venue rental cost.
“It was an easy decision to support the Superior Bike Fest because of the way this event creates awareness across the Midwest of all the different cycling opportunities available in the Marquette area,” said David Ollila, founder and chief product developer of V.I.O, Inc. “The Bike Fest is so important to the community. There are so many volunteers and so much work for such a short amount of time. It would be an oversight not to step up and help.”
“I am excited that the Presque Isle Circuit Race is a completely unique event based on the venue. Presque Isle is a historical and community treasure.”
Ollila said participants and spectators can’t get a race experience like this anywhere else.
“There won’t be a more beautiful road event in the United States of America—the natural beauty and historical significance of the Island are beyond compare,” he said. “What better way to spend a Sunday morning.”
Lekovish is amazed by the combined beauty and sporting challenge the Presque Isle Circuit race will offer participants.
“Racers will get fantastic views of the Lake Superior shoreline as they ride through the canopy of trees lining the road,” he said. “The Presque Isle race will be the perfect event to close what promises to be a fantastic weekend of racing.”
He thanks the hard work of the organizing team, led by Jim Grundstrom.
“Additionally, the level of enthusiasm and support this event receives from the community have made the Superior Bike Fest a must-do event for racers from through out the Midwest and Canada for the past several years,” Lekovish said. “The 2009 edition promises to be the best yet.”
The weekend of events include the Friday evening criterium, Saturday road races, Saturday’s downhill gravity event at Marquette Mountain Ski Area and Sunday’s circuit race and XC mountain bike event. The Superior Bike Fest benefits the Marquette Mountain Ski Patrol and the YMCA of Marquette County.
The SBF began seventeen years ago as the Mountain Chase XC race organized by the Marquette Mountain Ski Patrol. Seven years ago, road racing was added to the weekend and the event was renamed the Superior Bike Fest.
“The SBF is a unique opportunity for riders of varied disciplines to come together for a weekend of fun competition,” race co-director Donn Wolf said. “Road, downhill and XC riders will all find an event which suits their taste.”
The Superior Bike Fest is presented by Gold Sponsors Marquette General Health System, Frei Chevrolet, Getz’s and Northern Michigan University. For details, visit www.superiorbikefest.com or www.mbra.org

— Heather Steltenpohl

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