Bike Duluth Fest busier than ever, despite being held a month earlier than usual

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With many races to choose from, Bike Duluth Fest welcomes mountain bikers and spectators of all ages. 

Larry Marx, 74, won a medal for his participation in the 70 and up category. Marx has been mountain biking since he “was a kid at 59” and refuses to let age get in the way of having fun.

“ I wear a jersey that says ‘Ride Fast, Die Old’ and I’m going to stick to that,” Marx said.  “I’ve got a lot of friends that have fallen by the wayside. And, you know, I’m not going to go that route. But every year there seems to be one more 70 year old out here.”

A Twin Cities resident, Marx does not mind the drive up to Duluth for the city’s many trails.

“I can jump on 35 W and be here in just a minute under 2 hours so it doesn’t bother me to come up here at all,” said Marx. “I love it if I come up here. I always hit Lester Park and I always hit Mission.”

Bike Duluth Fest is usually in August but was held July 7-9 this year instead.

“We were looking at some new dates, just trying to gauge the energy of the biking community. Some of the feedback was that there’s a little bit of mountain biking fatigue when it comes into August,” Bike Duluth Fest Chair Jeremy Jeannette. “We had a date here with Spirit Mountain that worked, and it’s just been fantastic. We think the festival has grown significantly as a result.” 

This year’s festival included a new trail, a new jump, and even new races. 

“We teamed up with the Minnesota Mountain bike series to offer a cross-country race,” said Jeannette. “And the other highlight, in my opinion, is the beginner Enduro, which is new this year. So just getting more people into the sport at different levels.”