Nordahl wins his division at state cyclocross

Mitch Nordahl was about to transition from running to biking in the meet at Bassett Creek Park. (Photo provided by family)

Mitch Nordahl, former Elk River athlete, was one of the winners in the Minnesota State Cyclocross Champions on Nov. 19 in Crystal.

Nordahl placed first among 66 entrants in the Men’s 3 race, a 45-minute, six-lap event on a course including two sand pits, a stair run-up, hill climbs, and technical corners, in Bassett Creek Park.   Other men’s categories were Elite, Masters, and Men’s 4.

Nordahl, a 2011 graduate, competed in cross country, Nordic Ski and track at ERHS. He qualified for state in skiing.

Cyclocross is a fall and winter, on-and-off road event on a looped circuit of one to two miles, lasting 40 minutes to an hour. Racers navigate mud, sand, pavement, gravel, pasture and mulch. When the terrain is too steep to ride, or  when confronted by wooden barriers, they dismount the bikes, shoulder them, and run.

Ideally a lap should by 90 percent biking and 10 percent running. The bike is a cross between road bike and mountain bike.

Popular in Europe, the spot originated just after WWII as a fitness activity. World championships have been held since 1950.