Minnesota’s Cuyuna Lakes Trail System Awarded Ride Center Status

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For Immediate Release

Contact: Mark Eller
IMBA Communications Director
markeller [at] imba [dot] com
303-545-9011 ext. 115

Working in close partnerhip with the Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists (MORC), IMBA recently helped open a major new cycling facility, the Cuyuna Lakes Ride Center. Located near the town of Crosby, the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area now offers more than 20 miles of purpose-built mountain bike trails.

During the opening ceremonies on June 12, IMBA’s Executive Director announced that Cuyuna is the first cycling facility in the nation to be recognized under IMBA’s revised ride center recognition program. “We use the term ‘ride center’ to celebrate large-scale projects that offer outstanding trail design,” said Van Abel. “You’ll hear more about the ride center program in upcoming months, but for now Cuyuna stands as the first location to be recognized under IMBA’s new evaluation process.”

Mountain bike legend Hans Rey attended the opening ceremonies and later had a chance to sample the trails (see photo). “The Cuyuna Lakes trails are among the best XC trail network I have ridden — super flowy and fun,” said Rey. “It’s good to see the Cuyuna trails spearheading this evolution of the sport. I loved the trails and riding and I’m sure it will do wonders for the local community, and beyond. Everybody who helped this project can be proud of themselves,” said Rey.

Many partners were involved, over a multi-year period, in creating the Cuyuna ride center. Read a detailed account of the history behind the trails provided by Gary Sjoquist, Advocacy and Government Affairs Director for Quality Bicycle Products: Cuyuna history (PDF download).

IMBA’s Van Abel offered a recap of the partnerships and key players that helped make Cuyuna a reality in a recent blog post. IMBA Midest Regional Director Hansi Johnson contibuted another blog entry with praise for MORC, Minnesota DNR and other important players.

A New Riding Style Emerges in the Midwest

Michele Barker, a Linn Area Mountain Bike Association (LAMBA) board member, sampled the trails and commented, “Our family had a blast — the boys could ride, my parents found trails they enjoyed, and Ken and I loved Bobsled. What a great system and a  great experience.”

The Cuyuna Trails are professionally designed and constructed for consistent surface texture and width, inspiring confidence in entry-level to intermediate riders. On the more challenging trails, advanced riders will enjoy higher speeds, jumps and bermed turns. Frequent optional lines allow skilled riders to tackle even bigger technical challenges.

“There are very few spots on Midwest trails where you can ride with this kind of glide, flow with this kind of speed and carve your bike with this kind of confidence,” says Johnson. “Think of all the small sweet spots on your favorite trail system and then put that end-to-end for 25 miles.”

The trail system threads its way through numerous spring-fed lakes, so swimming, fishing, paddling and diving make for great post-ride activites. A paved trail that intersects the system provides an option for family members who may not want an off-road experience. The entire system is integrated into the small communities of Crosby and Ironton, with eateries and places to grab a post-ride beverage.

Plans for Expansion Already Underway

Cuyuna’s Ride Center designation has inspired the Minnesota DNR to explore the potential for expanding the facility. The current trail system occupies only a small segment of the Cuyuna Lakes State Recreational Area. Officials are already discussing strategies for gaining gold-level status in IMBA’s Ride Center recognition program. Additional gravity-based trails, similar to the recently built Sandhog and Bobsled lines, would be one of the steps that could push Cuyuna to an even higher level.