SPRING VALLEY, Minn. - Gravel bike race the Almanzo 100 began in Rochester in 2007, before jumping to Spring Valley in 2010. It's been hosted there every year since then until now.
On May 18, 2019, the Almanzo will be held in Northfield. Founder Chris Skogen made this post, in part, on the race's Facebook page on November 29: "For the last nine years we have called Spring Valley home. The first half under the direction of myself, and the latter under Kathy Simpson. This year the event changed hands again, as you know, and is back under my command. On Monday of this week, I reached out to the city of Spring Valley to inquire about reserving a space to host sign-in for the 2019 events. My inquiry was met with an odd, unnecessary question and a very cold declaration of the fees and expectations associated with reserving the space. The exchange was less than welcoming." He then announced the race's move. Click here to read the full post.
KIMT spoke on the phone with Skogen on Wednesday. "The race itself has existed as a means of eliminating barriers for cyclists and it's done a very good job of that I think for the entire time that it's been around, so barriers are a big thing to me and I felt like I ran into one when I was trying to get it set up this year in Spring Valley for 2019."
KIMT also reached out to the City of Spring Valley. This is their statement on the race's move:
"On Monday, November 26th Chris Skogen sent an e-mail inquiring about options to host the sign-in for the Almanzo. From the start Chris worked with Kathy Simpson who is a member of the Spring Valley Tourism Committee and when Chris stepped way from the race it was Kathy that stepped in and took over until this year when Chris came back as organizer. When the e-mail was received I did respond asking if he was working with Kathy Simpson. The reply from Chris was 'Nope.' The reason I did ask was because our policy for usage of the Community Center requires a deposit of $250 which is held until the event is over to make sure no damage occurred and the facility is cleaned. If Chris was working with Kathy the deposit like in the past would have been covered by the Tourism Committee. After Chris replied that he wasn’t working with Kathy I did explain the requirement for a deposit and that is the point that the announcement was put on Facebook that the event was moving."
Is the move permanent? Possibly not. Here's what the city has to say: "Spring Valley would like to continue to host the Almanzo and the response to the inquiry was never meant to be cold or curt as Chris felt but was a simple reply to an inquiry about the use of a facility. We have enjoyed the Almanzo being held in Spring Valley and would welcome the event again in the future."
Skogen is also open to the idea of the race returning to Spring Valley in the future. "The people were always gracious, the roads were always amazing, and the best part of all of this is that the people aren't going to be any less gracious and the roads aren't going to be any less amazing if we took a year off and come back in 2020."
As it has been in past years, the race will still be free when it takes place in Northfield.