Keith Sums up the 2012 Woolly Race

Start/Finish area of the Woolly Mt. Bike race, photo courtesy of Ben Mullin
I can't believe it's over.

The Woolly went off yesterday with hardly a hitch. The weather was absolutely spectacular! Who could believe we were getting sunburned on September 30th?! Mother Nature cooperated by timing the peak of Fall colors with our event, providing a beautiful, glowing backdrop for our 6th running of The Croix Valley Woolly Mammoth. AKA "The Woolly".

The day started for me just after 6 a.m.. I shuffled down the stairs towards the kitchen to find my 10 year old son, Luke pouring me a cup of coffee. He was so excited for Race Day that he awoke just after 5 and had been waiting for me to get up so we could get going! We grabbed some breakfast and loaded the bikes on the car to head over to the high school. I was just abut there when I got a call from our food vendor who was having vehicle problems and wasn't sure when he was going to show up. We weren't even to the venue, and we were already encountering challenges! Thankfully, he was able to get his truck going and was able to set up before our first wave of racers were toeing the line at 9:00.

After that first wave of riders took off, the day entered this strange dimension where the day seemed to be both lasting forever, yet speeding by. We were BLESSED with an abundance of eager, hard working volunteers that worked very hard to accomodate the needs of our racers and their families. A start/finish routing challenge was handled quickly and courteously by a small army of Woolly T shirt wearing volunteers who spent the better part of their day keeping our racers safe from vehicle traffic and sending them to the appropriate finish chute. 

The rest of the day just kept getting better as the St Croix Falls High School parking lot filled with not just vehicles, but campers and motorhomes as the venue began to resemble mountain biker carnival. It was glorious to both see and feel the fun energy that the mountain bike "family" brings to this kind of an event. Every time that Paul, our announcer requested "more cowbell!" the hills would come alive with literally HUNDREDS of little orange Woolly cowbells would start clanking; spurring the racers along towards the finish line.

By about 3:30 or so, the last rider had crossed the finsh line, most of the awards had been given out, every last T shirt was sold, all the Woolly cowbells had a new home, and it was time for the clean up crew to get to work. After 6 years of putting this race on, I am still amazed that it takes us 3 days to put the course together, but only about 90 minutes to take it all down and load it onto the trucks and trailers. Weird.

The 6th annual Woolly was an enormous success! Approximately 275 racers and their friends and families attended this year. We have heard nothing (so far) but positive feedback. Woolly Bike Club has already been invited to be a part of the MNMBS series again next year. Amazing.

What really hits home with me is the fact that "The Woolly" has come a long way from an idea born in a basement office, to the MN series race, city supported mountain bike trail network, and IMBA Chapter Bike Club, that it is today. Amazing.

It's just one more example of a small group of people making a change in the world.

See you on the trails. -Keith

For more information on the Woolly Mt. Bike Club, click here.
Also, "like" them on Facebook here.

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