Each year, pro cyclists come to the Twin Cities for an intense, multi-day competition that pushes them to the limits. After morning qualifying races, things kick off Wednesday evening with the St. Paul Grand Avenue Criterium, where top speeds are key. If you’re looking for an excuse to visit a winery, head out to Cannon Falls on Thursday, where cyclists will be dealing with distance while revelers drink local. Friday’s Uptown Criterium is probably the most intense leg for spectators, as flocks of cyclists zoom around sharp corners at terrifying speeds. People looking for a little road trip may enjoy heading to North Mankato, where Saturday’s route takes riders through rural scenery. Sunday’s race in Stillwater is a brutal one, as many athletes break down physically and mentally while riding their way up the cruel Chilkoot Hill on each lap. You won’t have to suffer at any of these events, however, as there will be plenty of freebies, samplings, beer gardens, free bike valets, and an adorable kids’ race each day. Check www.northstarbicyclefestival.com for more info.