Headwaters 100 set for 35th annual ride
An estimated 500-plus cyclists are expected to arrive for the 35th annual Headwaters 100 biking event Saturday, hosted by Itascatur. Sunny, 70 degree weather is forecast with autumn leaves in radiant color. The non-competitive rides are 100, 75 and 45 miles in length, heading out from Century School in Park Rapids following registration, which is held 7-9 a.m. Traditionally, bicyclists have arrived from Winnipeg, Fargo, Minneapolis and St. Paul, Grand Forks and points beyond, said Itascatur ride organizer Sandy Perez.
The Skoe family, avid bicyclists, initiated the event, with the ride originally setting off from their Park Pharmacy location. As of Monday morning, 468 had registered, 212 for the 100-mile ride, 97 for the 75-mile and 159 for the 45-miler. Many wait for a weather forecast before registering. The 100-mile ride starts in Park Rapids, goes up to Itasca State Park, past the Mississippi Headwaters and along Wilderness Drive through the park. The ride continues to Lake George, down to Emmaville, Dorset and Nevis. Bikers will then head back on the Heartland Trail. The 75-mile ride also heads through Itasca State Park and then on to Lake George, Emmaville and Dorset, ending with a ride west on the Heartland Trail. A stop for the 100- and 75-mile riders in Itasca will feature muffins, bagels and cookies along with coffee and cocoa. The 45-mile route heads up to Emmaville and over to Nevis before returning on the Heartland Trail.
The Mantrap Valley Conservation Club building will be site of a soup and sandwich stop – wild rice and vegetable barley potages, along with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. In Nevis, the track team will be serving “gorp” trail mix to send all riders back to their destination - Century School. Signs designate routes and motorists are urged to use caution as they travel. Sixty area volunteers will participate in the event, many serving food and some acting as SAG (support and gear) drivers to aid bicyclists with “trouble on the road,” such as flat tires or offering First Aid. The motivation to pedal across the countryside? “It’s a great way to get oxygen to the muscles, strengthen our immune systems, burn calories, meet active people and be in the out-of-doors,” said Perez, who’s an avid bicyclist. “And the number one reason; it’s fun!”
Proceeds from the Itascatur Outdoor Activity Club event have been used to construct the ski chalet. Itascatur has purchased skis, boots and poles to be loaned to families on Sundays during the winter as a means to promote outdoor exercise. The club has funded and maintains the spinning bikes at Century School, classes offered four days a week. And funds are also used to maintain trails (ski license fees do not adequately supply this). Kinship will add pre-race carbs to bicyclists’ menus, serving a spaghetti dinner from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday at Century School. The Kinship event will include a silent auction and strolling musicians.