Beautiful sites, great ride and music in the park
By Lisa Brainard
[email protected]
Driftless Journal Tuesday, May 11, 2021 9

The rolling hills of southeast Minnesota’s Bluff Country will captivate riders taking to area gravel roads on their bicycles Saturday, June 5. The Spring Valley 100 (SV100) Gravel Bike Race offers a full menu of family-friendly fun for locals and visitors alike.

The free race starts at 8 a. m. in downtown Spring Valley. Family activities later in the day

include food vendors and beverages. The race this year has been coordinated with the date of the Summer Music in the Park kickoff event. Watch at Spring Creek Park as the riders roll by at the conclusion of the day.

It’s a long day for SV100 riders, as the “100” means exactly that –100 miles of riding. Some will go for the win. Others may take the race as a personal challenge in some manner, trying to complete the route in a personal best time –or even just completing the route. Each bicyclist must be self-sufficient since support vehicles are not allowed.

Spring Valley native Paul Vogel, now of Ohio, laughed during a recent telephone interview, calling himself a “player-coach,” since he’s not only the race organizer, but also a rider. He likes returning to where “the hills meet the prairies;” taking on the personal challenges and seeing the community of bikers willing to aid a fellow rider in need of assistance.

Vogel noted the race will run the same route formerly known as the Almanzo 100 and tied to Spring Valley’s Wilder Days (as in Laura Ingalls Wilder).

Special places abound on the route. Masonic Park northeast of Spring Valley is a spectacular sight with its tall, light-colored bluffs shooting straight up from Deer Creek in the small valley. At Forestville/ Mystery Cave State Park, riders can make a stop to check out the 1899 buildings of Historic Forestville, a Minnesota State Historical Society site. Either of these locations –or the small burg of Cherry Grove –might be good spots for fans to cheer on their favorite riders. And not to be missed is a river crossing, although it might be easier than is typical due to a lack of rain this spring.

For further details on the free Spring Valley 100 Gravel Road Race, go online to https:// springvalleyeda.org/spring-valley-100-gravel-bike-race/ The “Race Reports” section provides information on what to expect throughout the route. All riders are required to register and sign a waiver for the ride; then each will get a bib. This site provides a registration form along with details on picking up bibs in Spring Valley. Vogel may be contacted with questions at (440) 829-2652 or