Destination Up North 2018 Up North - Page 22

Outdoor Adventures By Rachel M. Anderson FORMER MINING PIT IN CENTRAL MINNESOTA HAS TURNED INTO A MECCA FOR OUTDOOR ADVENTURERS CUYUNA COUNTRY STATE RECREATION AREA HAS A LOT TO OFFER 22 W hen you think of outdoor adventure, what is the first thing to come to mind? For Bruce Martens, 39, of Min- neapolis, it is mountain biking, an activity he has been involved in since childhood, and started doing competitively in 2001. “After I won a race at Mount Kato in Mankato where I’m from it just got into my blood and took off from there,” he said. Today, Martens serves as Executive Director of the National Center for Youth Development, an organization that helps kids learn the skills they’ll need to thrive in the world. He is also the co-founder of the Minnesota High School Cycling League and the former Coach Licensing Director for the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA), an organization founded in 2009 to develop interscholastic mountain biking programs for student athletes across the United States. In that role, he had the opportunity to ride the best trails in the United States. Among them, the Prescott Circle Trail and Sedona Bike Park in Ariz., the bike trails through the Grand Tetons in Idaho and Wyo., and the Bentonville Trail in Ark. Closer to home, his trails of choice can be found at the Cuyuna (kai-oona) Country State Recreation Area, which is about a two-and-a- half-hour drive north of the Twin Cities. “I like Cuyuna because It’s accessible. It’s just a quick day-trip up from the Minneapolis metro area, so I can be up and back in the same day and get plenty of riding in without much disruption in my schedule. Plus, it’s free. We in Minnesota have the luxury and gift of a trail network and infrastructure that is open to the public. That’s not the case everywhere,” said Martens.