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Tye Holmgren and Nolan Graffweg, representing ARDENT Race Team, earned first and third in the 9-10 age division at the Minnesota Series Powder Monkey Mountain Bike Race at Spirit Mountain Aug. 8. Rylie Graffweg, 6 years old, earned Slver in the 8 and under division in her first mountain bike race. They raced three miles on fun flowy and technical singletrack in the Kids Competitive Division. Navigating the trails was especially difficult due to wet conditions which turned the trails to mud. Tye finished sixth overall with 35 racers ages 14 and under. Pictured from left are Rylie Graffweg, Tye Holmgren and Nolan Graffweg.

GRAND RAPIDS — On July 11, 2021, Tioga Recreation hosted a wildly successful mountain bike race.

The race began around 9 a.m. and was bustling with excitement. The race day started with the kids comp race. This hosted 38 youth ranging from age 5 to 14, with varying skill levels. Nonetheless they were all eager for the title of champion.

It was a tight race, and the winners were Richard, Will and Kyle. Each of the youth raced their heart out. The athletes crossed the finish line in a dead sprint. These kids truly are the life and breath of the next generation of Mountain Bike Fanatics

Next came the citizen race, this race was made up of males, females and youth. The first group to leave the start line was a mixture of males, under the age of 39. This was fabulous to see, we had kids and adults alike, all stoked for their chance at crushing the course and crush the course they did!

Next came the rest of the Citizens, male and female, that wanted torace, but didn’t want to enter the elite, comp or sport category. The track led these racers around two challenging loops. In true race fashion we had bike malfunctions, spills and falls on the course and sweat, boy was there a lot of sweat on that course. The temps were hot, and the course was tough. The faces the athletes made upon the start of their second lap varied, however was consistently that of determination, grit and strength. Racers ranged in ages from 12 to 65.

Next came the Sport, Elite and Comp divisions for both men and women. The folks that race in these categories are tough, tenacious and a force. They flew through the canopied course at lightning speed, navigating the features with ease. Finishing with a flurry moving as fast at the end as they were at the beginning. Hats off to you all!

“The total number of registered racers for Tioga Thrillseeker was 266, and we expect that number to double if not triple in years to come,” said event officials. “More exposure, more events adds up to more Mountain Bike Opportunity. Racers came from all over the place. It was a delight to see so many new faces around the Tioga trails. We hope you will come back again.”

Quote from biking enthusiast and GRIMBA board member, Emily Bujold “We were thrilled to have such a strong turnout for our debut summer race, but even more exciting was the positive feedback we received on the trail system overall. We had so many people, from Wisconsin to North Dakota, tell us how impressed they were with Tioga and that they’re already planning their next trip back.”

MNMBS Administrator Gary Sjoquist knew the Thrillseeker could pull in lots of racers. “We know from data just released from trail counters on Gurley Flynn and Iron Maidenhair that lots of people are riding at Tioga. Over a 15-week stretch during the summer of 2020, 15,000 users rode up Iron Maidenhair. Gurley Flynn, a two-way trail, clocked some 24,000 users, with 62% heading Northbound. With Cuyuna getting more and more congested, riders are going to be flocking to Tioga, and the numbers show this.” 

Tioga is maintained by volunteers and by individuals and families who want to “adopt a trail” this allows for safe, fun riding, all year long.

The Tioga Trailblazers team is getting ready for another competitive season. The numbers of student athletes on this year’s team is greater than all the previous years. If you, or someone you know, wants to get involved in the wonderful world that is Mountain Biking, get in touch.

GRIMBA is a non-profit organization with a mission to increase and advocate for mountain biking opportunities in the Grand Rapids area. GRIMBA is led by a 10-member board of directors and has a proven track record of successfully engaging with diverse partners to plan and implement large-scale projects. The club worked with the City of Grand Rapids to develop a 6-mile single-track system at the Grand Rapids High School. In addition, GRIMBA worked with the City of Cohasset and many other partners to develop Tioga Recreation.

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