COOK COUNTRY – The Sawtooth Mountain Bike Challenge, a 25-year-old race that occurs on Pincushion Mountain overlooking Grand Marais, is the main fundraiser for the Superior Cycling Association’s (SCA) trail maintenance fund. Participants will experience a good riding challenge, have fun and raise money for a great cause. Distances include 22 miles, 15 miles, 8 miles, and children’s races.
“It was the first mountain bike race held in the region,” says Jay Arrowsmith-DeCoux, mayor of Grand Marais and current owner of Fireweed Bike Coop. According to Arrowsmith-DeCoux, the event was founded by the previous bike shop owners, Mark and Melinda Spinler, to showcase the rugged terrain of Northeastern Minnesota.
“It’s a challenging event with a 650-foot climb in just a couple of miles, then around the single-track, which can be brutal but is ultimately rewarding. Simply put, it is the perfect season finale to a great summer of biking.”
The North Shore is renowned for its rugged terrain and challenging biking trails. Several newer bike events have been established in recent years like the Lutsen99er, Le Grand Du Nord and Norpine Fat Bike Class to meet the demand of participants.
“Over 2,000 visitors travel to Cook County annually from great distances to participate in these sought-after biking events,” says Linda Jurek, executive director of Visit Cook County. “They come for the challenge and stay for the scenery, local hospitality, and superb volunteers.”
The event typically raises between $3,000-$5,000 for area bike trail maintenance. This year, there will be a raffle for a Specialized Dual Suspension Stumpjumper Mountain Bike of an estimated value of $3,600. Tickets are $10 and will be available for purchase at the event. “We’re proud to sponsor this event and raise money to maintain the trails up here since recreational and serious biking in the area has grown more popular during the past five years.” Most recently, funds raised in prior years have helped to build a new section of trail between the Britton Peak trail system in Tofte to Lutsen Mountains.
The event takes place during the family based Moose Madness Festival in Grand Marais offering additional appeal to bikers wanting to travel with their families. Participants can register before the race at Voyageur Brewery where adult registrants will receive beer tokens to be redeemed at the after-party.
For more information, please visit: https://www.visitcookcounty.com/event/sawtooth-mountain-bike-challenge/