ELGIN, Minn. (WCCO) -- With more than 30,000 miles of trails in Minnesota, you can cover a lot of ground on two wheels. Many bikers, though, go for a bigger challenge by getting away from the pavement.
Drew Wilson, 31, is a distance rider from Stewartville. He has mapped out a rugged 80-mile route through the picturesque bluffs of southeastern Minnesota and he's inviting others to join him in a free race.
On April 26th, he and dozens of other cyclists will head out for the second annual Dickie Scramble.
"The gravel road is often the best road," Wilson said, "because it goes places that aren't flat and that aren't boring. You feel like you're in a different country almost."
Wilson is a lab technologist at Mayo Clinic's endocrine lab. He used to think of the Rochester area as flat and rather boring. But then he started riding farther out, to the Zumbro and Whitewater River valleys.
"It opened up a whole different experience of living in southern Minnesota for me," he said. "On weekends all summer, I come out here and ride. I'll ride for four, five, six hours. It's just awesome to find new places out here and figure out better ways to link the great roads I've found before."
From his experience, Wilson mapped out a race course for others to follow during the Dickie Scramble. He'll provide directional cue cards for riders to attach to their handlebars or a file for GPS devices.
The Dickie Scramble is named after Wilson's border collie.
"The reason that I named the bike race after him is because he only has one speed," Wilson said. "He's all in, all the time and I thought that was cool and that was the idea."
His hope is to give riders that same kind of adrenaline, tackling the inclines then flying down the other sides.
"I love to share what I'm doing and I think it's really fun and it's actually very, very rewarding for people to come and take the start line," he said.
If others are inspired to lead their own free races, Wilson will enjoy it even more.
"I'm giving this little bit," he said, "and if someone else does it and someone else does it, we have a huge thing."
The Dickie Scramble has no fees and no sponsors but that means no support either. Riders will have to change their own flat tires or broken chains and so forth.
They're also asked to bring food for a potluck that will be placed at the halfway point.
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