Pedal Power

Stillwater hosts the final challenge of one of the nation’s top bicycle festivals.

Everyone knows that Chilkoot Hill in Stillwater is incredibly steep. During the North Star Grand Prix, Chilkoot’s vertical slope becomes an intense challenge and earns its reputation as the steepest hill in North American bicycle racing.

At this event, “Your hair literally whips up when they [come down the hill],” says Jean Freidl, head of communications for the North Star Bike Festival. “It’s not like any of us riding our bikes.”

The North Star Grand Prix in Stillwater is the final trial of the six-day North Star Bicycle Festival. It’s a spectator sport, complete with live music, food vendors and bicycle expos. Although the race is intended for top athletes, people who are up for the challenge are welcome to enter the amateur bicycle race—which, be warned, runs the same grueling route. Cyclists ride up Chilkoot Hill 23 times during the race, with the finish line (and wild applause) at the top of the hill.

Kids will have their time in the spotlight, too. The Tour de Kids fun race is free and open to aspiring cyclists younger than 12.

North Star Grand Prix: June 21

10:30 a.m. Expo opens and stunt rider shows
10:45 a.m. CycleOps Amateur Race
11:45 a.m. Women’s Pro/Elite Race: 14 Laps
1 p.m. Park Dental/Shimano Kids Fun Race
1:30 p.m. Men’s Pro/Elite Race: 23 Laps
4 p.m. Expo closes

For more information or to register online, visit the website.