August 8, 2017
I may be a bit biased, but in my opinion the Powderhorn neighborhood is one of the most interesting and exciting places to live in the city. We’re known for the annual May Day parade, but there are plenty of other yearly events that take place in this pocket of Minneapolis. One of those events is the community-oriented bicycle race/ride called the Powderhorn24. I’ve participated in this event as a spectator, team rider, volunteer and this year, for the first time ever: a solo rider.
The premise is simple: From 7 p.m. to 7 p.m., you try to complete as many laps around the course as you can, in addition to collecting “bonus” points by completing various tasks and challenges. Some people choose to race, some people choose to take a more casual approach. There is no bad method, except to take it too seriously. You can consider it a success if you had a great time with everyone and if you made sure everyone else was having a great time.
The most important aspect of this event, however, is that it raises money for charities in the city. This year, a portion of registration went to Full Cycle, a community run bike shop that offers affordable used and refurbished bikes as well as providing a space for anyone to learn how to fix their bikes. Additionally, there was a partnership with the Sexual Violence Center that provided food and drink for riders and raised a ridiculous amount of money via donations. Everyone involved in volunteering and organizing was unified around this effort and it is a truly unique and beautiful aspect of this community ride.
As far as the actual racing goes, there are a few different categories for participation. You can register as a team with up to five riders, or you can register as a solo rider. I can’t be certain if it was my masochistic tendencies, or perhaps I’m having an early mid-life crisis, but I opted for the solo category to test my constitution as a rider. I learned a lot along the way and if I decide to do it again (spoiler: I won’t), there are a variety of things I would do differently.
I could have trained more — I don’t train, I just commute relatively quickly. I could have eaten better — too many salted nut rolls, not enough bananas. I could have consumed more water — I kept grabbing sparkling waters to put in my bike-mounted coozie instead of a CamelBak. However, around 2 a.m., I was nearing 100 miles, and around 2 p.m. I had already gone 200 miles. I finished the day with the second-most laps in my category, but still 40-some miles behind the leader. I finished the day with 280 miles on my legs and I had established my limits as a rider. But most importantly, I had a great time with my neighbors and fellow cyclists.