North Memorial Health Sponsors the 2017 North Star Grand Prix

North Memorial Better Health Blog Author Logo
June 12, 2017

North Memorial Health is off to the races! We’re thrilled to be the premier sponsor of 2017’s North Star Grand Prix, a five-day stage race featuring professional bike racers, held June 14-18 this year .

The Competition

The racers, hailing from all over the world, will compete over 200 miles, wheeling through St. Paul, Cannon Falls, Mankato, Minneapolis, and Stillwater in their quest to be the best, including 14 team members—7 men, 7 women—representing North Memorial Health.


Our male team members + quick facts:

David Grief headshotDavid Greif

  • Mechanical Engineering major
  • Vice President of the University of Arizona Cycling Team
  • Competes as a cat 1 for races such as Collegiate Nationals, ToAD, Cascade, and Gila


Alec Guggemos headshotAlec Guggemos

  • Began racing at 13
  • Competed nationally and internationally, including UCI junior stage races and European six-day track races
  • Coaches the St. Paul Bicycle Racing Club’s Junior Team


John Heinlein headshotJohn Heinlein

  • Began cycling after a 5-year stint with triathlons
  • Started out getting crushed as a Cat 5 racer; now rising through the ranks
  • Supported through 110 Bike Shop and Loon State Cycling


Tim Savre headshotTim Savre

  • Graduated from the University of St. Thomas, where the North Star Grand Prix time trail course is located
  • Organized a collegiate team at the university
  • 4th North Star Grand Prix


Eric Hill HeadshotEric Hill

  • Founder of Project Echelon, a nonprofit that help veterans and their families regroup, recover, and re-engage in community through physical activity and self-discovery
  • Team Director of Project Echelon, an organization that uses physical talents and public platform to raise awareness for veterans
  • 5th participation in the North Star Grand Prix


Marco Wajda headshotMarco Wajda

  • Knows Eric Hill through a cold triathlon training ride in Wisconsin, who said he had “that something” for bike racing
  • Has Cat 1 license after racing with the team for 2 years as a junior and racing at Marian University
  • 1st North Star Grand Prix


Andrew Giniat headshotAndrew Giniat

  • 1st North Star Grand Prix
  • Began racing in college and this is his 2nd season racing as a CAT 1



Our female team members + quick facts:

Ash Ankudinoff headshotAsh Ankudinoff

  • Two-time Junior World Champion
  • Two-time Senior World Champion
  • Participated in Olympic and Commonwealth Games for Australia


Marie soleil Blais headshotMarie-Soleil Blais

  • Ex-hockey player
  • Champion cyclist holding both Quebec road and track championships
  • Won the Athens Twilight Criterium in 2016


Jen Hale headshotJennifer Hale

  • Category 1 road racer who began racing in 2011
  • From St. Paul, MN
  • Focused on expanding experience in USA Cycling Pro Road Tour races and National Championship events


Nicola MacDonald headshotNicola McDonald

  • Won her 1st State title as U17, and since then has won a national title each of the last 3 years
  • Junior Worlds medalist in 2015 and 2016 in team pursuit, scratch race, and Madison
  • Aims to go to 2020 and 2024 Olympics and become a professional cyclist—but is also planning to get a law degree


Beth Anne HeadshotBeth Ann Orton

  • Introduced to bike racing in Portland Oregon
  • Began racing the American professional cyclocross circuit in 2012 and professional road racing in 2015
  • Favorite events include time trial, single-day road, and muddy cyclocross races


Emma Roberts headshotEmma Roberts

  • After several years involved in professional, elite-level sailing based in Europe, she moved to Australia to join the Wild Oats XI Sydney to Hobart race program
  • Began racing at an elite level within a year, completing her first UCI tour only 9 months after her first race
  • Excited to get further experience with NSWIS Sydney University


Irena Ossola headshotIrena Ossola

  • Races professionally for the Canadian SAS-Macogep team
  • Irena is a graduate of Columbia University where she was a track team leader
  • She is returning to the North Star Grand Prix for the first time since 2014.

Tune in to our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to learn all about the North Memorial Health team and help cheer on these high-caliber cyclists!

The Race

The North Star Grand Prix, the most prestigious event on the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar, opens Wednesday with a time trial along the picturesque East River Road and is followed by a rectangular course along the chic, bustling Grand Avenue.

On Thursday, the race winds through the scenic Cannon Valley Trail and Goodhue County, which is charmingly accented with a winery, antiques shops, and more.

The races careen back cosmopolitan with a jaunt through Uptown Minneapolis on Friday night. Riders coast past Calhoun Square at the corner of Hennepin and Lake, which creates a scene among onlookers, fans, and those out enjoying a classic Minneapolis Friday night.

On Saturday, the race visits North Mankato, with a 20.5-mile loop that includes challenging climbs up Valerie Lane hill.

The grand finale is staged in historic Stillwater, with its famed (and feared) course that treks up Chilikoot Hill on each lap. The lung-busting uphill and heart-stopping downhill make this criterium the most difficult in North America!

For all race locations, times, maps, and resources, visit the North Star Grand Prix website.

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