Updated: 02/01/2014 4:07 PM
Created: 02/01/2014 10:41 AM KSTP.com
By: Cassie Hart
The training of more than 10,000 racers of all ages is put to the test this weekend during the City of Lakes Loppet Festival.
The festival features 21 events, ranging from the ski marathon to skijoring to snow bicycling races and a snow sculpture contest in the Uptown area.
Hoigaard's Classic and Puoli Loppet racers set off Saturday morning.
The Hoigaard's Classic is a 42 kilometer (about 26.2 miles) point-to-point marathon race that starts in Wirth Park and finishes in the Loppet Village in Uptown. The Hoigaard’s Classic is a classic/diagonal stride only.
The Puoli Loppet Classic runs from Theodore Wirth Park and ends in Uptown like the other big events, but skips most of the hardest hills. The Puoli Loppet Classic is designed as a 20K course.
Saturday's biggest event is the Luminary Loppet, which is a candlelit trek around Lake of the Isles. It is expected to draw roughly 6,000 people. Former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak is expected to kick-off the race.
Snowshoeing and dog sledding have been added to the schedule for the first time this year.
Sunday’s events include more dogsled races, cycling and skijoring.
Officials expect the event to draw 20,000 spectators, overall.