Successful Summer Kickoff, bike race set to repeat

David Phillips

The Summer Kickoff and Spring Valley 100 bicycle race had a successful inaugural run, say organizers, and plans are already being made for a repeat next year.

“The race went great,” said Drew Wilson of Stewartville who handled the bicycle portion of the event on Saturday, June 1.

There were 65 finishers in the 100-mile bicycle race on gravel roads east of Spring Valley. He didn’t have a count of starters, but there appeared to be more than 100 bicyclists gathered in downtown Spring Valley Saturday morning.

The course generally traveled the previous Almanzo 100 route, although the water crossing was taken out due to the wet spring. One change was the ending point for participants was at the Kingsland school, but Wilson said he is looking at tweaking the finish to get it downtown.

“Although the high school also worked great as a finish, downtown would be even better if done right,” Wilson said.

He added that with the framework in place, he also hopes for the race to grow with more promotion and word of mouth from the bicyclists, who seemed happy with how things went. The weather was good as a few sprinkles greeted the riders in the early going, but the sun later came out without making conditions hot.

Spring Valley City Administrator Deb Zimmer said the Summer Kickoff downtown also went well and plans are to continue the event next year.

The event featured food from local booths, vendors selling a variety of items and music by LP and the 45s. Jeff Zierdt, who grew up in Spring Valley, also had a booth set up with craft beer from his Big Lake, Minnesota, brewery, Lupulin Brewing Co.

“The event went well and we are overjoyed with the support from the Spring Valley community,” he said.

Not only did people sampling his beer quench their thirst, they also contributed to worthy causes as proceeds were evenly split between to charities with local ties. Zierdt served Fun Pants, a German style Kölsch brew, American Pils pilsner, Apricot Blonde fruit ale, Belgian Blonde ale and Hooey, an American IPA.

More than one barrel, or bbl in brew terms (31 gallons) was served. That is equivalent to two half-kegs (16-gallon kegs) served during the event. A jar was also on the table and some people who didn’t drink beer contributed while others threw in extra money.

The total amount raised was $2,211, so checks will be issued to both the JZ Cancer Fund, a donor-advised fund in Mankato established by Zierdt’s brother, the late Jonathon Zierdt, and his wife, and Never Surrender, Inc., established after the death of Spring Valley High school graduate Wes Blakeslee, who was diagnosed with ALS, for $1,105 each.

“We are excited to work with the Deb Zimmer, the Spring Valley community and the bike race organizers on bringing this event back to Spring Valley in 2020,” Zierdt said.