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Bike race series comes to Eureka

There will be some fancy bikes on Eureka Township roads in the next few weeks, but the Farm Dog Time Trials will have categories for recreational riders, too.

The continued deterioration of a Burnsville road has pushed a south-metro bike racing institution a little bit farther out into the country.

The Silver Cycling club was scheduled to hold its first Farm Dog Time Trial July 28 on the roads of Eureka Township. The race will take the place of the long-running Black Dog Time Trial, which has taken place for nearly 30 years on Black Dog Road in Burnsville. Events are also scheduled Aug. 11 and Aug. 25.

Black Dog has long been a rough road, pockmarked with potholes. But Silver Cycling member Russ Loucks, whose club has run the event for the past five or six years, said the road had its charms. Things are worse than usual this year, though. Heavy flooding this spring and again in recent weeks have left the road unusable and has caused the city of Burnsville to consider giving up on the road altogether.

That left Silver Cycling looking for a new place to hold the race, and their search took them to Eureka.

"We wanted to keep it in the south metro," Loucks said. "The club that sponsors it is based in the south metro, so it's easier to get to. The majority of people who came to Black Dog were from the south metro. They could get to Black Dog fairly easily."

Eureka is a little more off the beaten path -- Loucks said it's farther out than the club had hoped to go -- but the location has several things in its favor. The roads are a lot smoother, for one. There is a nice shoulder to ride on. And there is not a lot of traffic.

Eureka Town Hall will serve as the home base for the event. The course will start at the corner of 250th Street and Cedar Avenue and take racers west to Dodd Boulevard, where they'll turn around and head back to Highview Avenue for a quick out-and-back before returning to 250th and returning to the finish. The whole course is eight miles of riders racing against the clock.

The event isn't exactly the Tour de France, but Loucks said each night usually draws 40 or more racers -- everyone from serious riders with aerodynamic bikes to recreational riders out to try something a little bit different.

"The weeknight racing scene in the Twin Cities is pretty good," Loucks said. "They're lower key. They don't have quite the turnout of the weekend events. They're fun, but they're also highly competitive. We'll typically have a pro or two come and show us how it's done."

There are separate classes for stock bikes and time trial-specific rides and for riders of different ages. There are prizes and trophies for the bikers with the best performance over the three race days.

Racers have to have a USA Cycling license, but the licenses are available at the start. Helmets and sleeved jerseys are required.

"The nice thing about time trials, especially with stock class, people can come out if they've never done anything like this and do it and get a time and be part of the action without having to invest in high-end equipment," Loucks said.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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