Laddies Loppet bike racing returns to Maplelag, Sept. 4-5

Maplelag Resort in Callaway will be hosting its annual Laddies Loppet mountain bike racing event over Labor Day weekend. The Loppet, named after a beloved family dog of the resort's owners, started at Maplelag in 1990, making it one of the oldest mountain bike races in the Midwest.

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The Laddies Loppet mountain bike races, held nearly every Labor Day weekend since 1990 — with a couple of exceptions — will return to Callaway's Maplelag Resort this Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 4-5. (Tribune File Photo)

Mountain bike racing returns to Callaway's Maplelag Resort this weekend, after a one-year absence. Named after a beloved family dog of the resort's owners, it has been held every Labor Day weekend since 1990 — with a couple of exceptions.

"We didn't hold it last year, due to COVID and whatnot," says race director Jay Richards, "and there was one other time we didn't have it, when I spent a year in Norway."

Even with those exceptions, however, the Loppet remains one of the oldest mountain bike races in the Midwest.

The 2021 Laddies Loppet is set for Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 4-5. The two-day event has races and age categories for every type of rider, from children and novice riders up to professionals, with men's and women's divisions in each category. There are also both cross country and short track races scheduled, with the cross country races to take place Saturday, and the short track races on Sunday.


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The cross country mountain bike races held as part of Laddies Loppet include some challenging courses through the woods, with plenty of twists, turns, ups and downs. (Tribune File Photo)

This year’s Loppet will once again be part of the Minnesota Mountain Bike Series, Richards said, with Saturday's cross country races counting for points in the series.

Saturday's racing action begins at 9 a.m., with the shorter kids' races, and concludes with the longer, pro/expert races.

"The last race starts at 1:30 p.m.," Richards said, noting that the kids' races are each about three miles in length, with the longest course, for the pro/expert racers, being 18 miles long.

Sunday's short track races start at 10 a.m., with the final race getting underway at 11:45 a.m. There is no cost to come watch any of the races.

Though the short track races do not count toward the MMBS points total, he added, they nevertheless tend to draw large crowds due to the faster-paced action.

"The (short track) races vary from 10 to 20 minutes long," Richards said, noting that the course is a short, three-mile loop around the resort cabins. "It's a great spectator event."

Though past races have drawn as many as 500 riders to Maplelag for the weekend, Richards says they expect between 250-300 this year.


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Mountain bike racers cruise through the foliage during the annual Laddies Loppet race at Maplelag. (Tribune File Photo)

Many racers stay for the entire holiday weekend, he added, with both camping and resort cabins available. "It's the only weekend when we really allow camping," Richards said, noting that many mountain bikers prefer it to staying in the cabins. He expects the resort's accommodations to be full, or near full, for the entire holiday weekend.

Because camping space is limited, campsites must be reserved in advance, and no on site registration for the races will be permitted this year, so racers should also make sure to sign up ahead of time as well.

Riders and fans can follow the event's Twitter and Instagram pages (@LaddiesLoppet) for course updates and race details. For a full weekend schedule, along with the latest trail reports, photos and registration information, visit the website at .

If you go

What: Laddies Loppet Mountain Bike Races

Where: Maplelag Resort, rural Callaway

When: Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 4; races start at 9 a.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday.


How: Race registration, as well as camping and cabin reservation information can all be found at ; you can also call the resort at 218-375-4466 or 1-800-654-7711 (toll free). There is no cost to come watch any of the races.

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