Dust, sweat, and zero fear seemed to be the anthem of the night at the Buck Hill Mountain Bike Races this Thursday night — one of the more adrenaline-charged events of I Love Burnsville week.
The first race of the evening was the Advanced Men’s Race — a grueling circuit of four laps that ranges up and down Buck Hill and through a patch of woods nearby. Of the 75 riders who sought to tame Mount Buck, the winner was none other than 19-year-old Jack Hinkens from Eden Prairie, who roared into first with just 45:50:67 minutes on the clock.
Hinkens is now going national with his racing career. He began this endeavor just four short years ago. He said he owes a lot to Penn Cycle, the event’s sponsor.
“(Pat Sorenson and Al Roath) of Penn Cycle have been really good to me. They took me under their wing and it’s amazing to have them in my corner,” said Hinkens of his support from the event’s founders.
Rebecca Sauber took first place in the Advanced Women’s race with a screaming time of 43:04:24 minutes.
The dust whirling results from the remaining races were James Kauth, who placed first in the Recreational Men’s Race, and Danielle Coffield Ness, winner of the Recreational Women’s Race. Kevin Gust took first in the Beginner’s Race.
After 20 years, the races have become a summer-time institution at Buck Hill, which otherwise functions as a ski slope in colder weather.
“We usually have between 175 and 250 riders show up for this event,” said Penn Cycle owner and event founder Pat Sorensen.
At the outset, the races started small, with just over 40 daredevil bike riders and some beer. As the group grew and matured, it has become a family-oriented affair.
Sorenson said about six years ago they began adding events for children. For kids, the event includes arts and crafts and several children’s races. This time around, there was a mad dash for what Sorenson called a “Mac Daddy” prize: a seven-pound crate of candy.
“We really cater to the family-fun atmosphere at this event. We’ve even been told that we offer the best schwag around,” said Sorensen.
Thursday night’s event was just one of many. The races kicked off for the season on May 12. They will take place every Thursday night through August 4. Registration begins at 5:00 pm each Thursday. The first race of the night starts at 6:30.