Monday, February 15, 2010

3rd Annual John Larson Memorial Ice Race

A friend and I attended the 3rd Annual John Larson Memorial Ice Race on February 14, 2010. The race was held on Long Lake in Isanti, MN which is just a short one hour drive north of Minneapolis up MN-47.

IMGP6943 cropped

The track was massive! One of the largest I’ve seen for an ice race. This, of course, isn’t saying too much since I’ve only seen a few events. I heard someone say it was over two miles long! I couldn't get close to capturing it with the camera, but here's the panorama anyways:

track pano

Before the race started, the national anthem was sung as a rider road around part of the track with the American flag. I really thought it was a nice touch and more events should consider it.


The race was three hours long and broken into two 90 minute halves with a 30 minute break between the sections for track cleaning.

IMGP6746track cleaning

There were 27 bikes in 25 teams. Many teams had multiple riders. One team, #17, did the first half solo!


For the start, the bikes were lined up into three rows of ten with #1-#10 in the first row, #11-#20 in the second row, and the rest in row three.


During the break in between the races, the teams worked on their bikes. Some just needed gas while others had to replace parts. Many of them re-tightened the ice screws back into the tires.


The second half started with everyone lined up in their finishing order from the first half. It was just a long line of bikes that quickly spread out after the start.

2nd half start

The day started as a beautifully sunny day at 18F and ended with a snow storm and dished out more than two inches.

I think it is impressive to see the handlebars below the knees in the middle of a turn and the bike is still stable. The ice studs give the bike a lot of traction.


I took an amazing amount of photos and video for this event. I took over 350 photos --only 260 photos were worth keeping. I also captured over 40 minutes of videos and cut it down to two videos. A long version at thirteen minutes and a shorter, more lively five minute version.

IMGP6964 #4 winning

The full flickr photo set is here.

Short Video at Youtube: (short video on Vimeo)


Long Video at Vimeo:


  1. Excellent! Just what the doctored order. I can see this as an Olympic event! How cool?! Reminds me of the speed skaters. The last pic on the slideshow is my favorite--a wheelie?! Loved this!

    p.s. your video (I saw the short one) is very sharp and clear. Thanks for a nice, much-need winter respite.

  2. And, I really enjoyed the pictures, especially those with riders wearing bright colors--really stands out! What a nice way to spend the day! Thanks again.

  3. Thanks for reading, and the very kind words Sojourner! It was a fun time.

  4. Excellent post and videos!

    I've had attending ice races on my "to-do" list for years and haven't yet had the opportunity. These vids really rekindled that :)

  5. Thanks Wendyvee. I'm glad you liked it! You should take the time to watch at least one. They are a lot of fun.

    I also have another ice racing post here:

    and a video from last year: