One of the goals of MankatoLIFE is to uncover hidden gems, which applies to things like area attractions, restaurants and local shops. Above all, though, the most abundant hidden gems in the region are people.
Whether it’s in their service to the area’s cycling community or in their little-known cycling accomplishments, Justin and Jenna Rinehart, owners of Nicollet Bike Shop in Mankato, are two such gems.
From their teen years, cycling in many of its forms has been a passion for the couple.
And They’re Really Good at It!
Unless one stumbles upon a small display box highlighting some of Jenna’s accomplishments hanging on the wall, the average person shopping at Nicollet Bike Shop has little idea of the Rineharts’ cycling accomplishments.
“We don’t talk about it much publicly,” Justin Rinehart said, “but we have both raced our mountain bikes at pretty high levels. She raced professionally for nearly 10 years. I made it to the top of the semi-professional fields.
“We believe that it is our responsibility to help build the best riding community possible so that no matter how you like to ride a bike you have a safe and enjoyable place to do so.”
“Jenna is also the most dominant female mountain bike racer in the Midwest ever! She’ll never tell you, but it’s true. She has won the Chequamegon Fat Tire 40-mile race, the world’s largest mass-start mountain bike race in Hayward, Wisconsin, a record setting six times!”
Something else that Jenna won’t tell you, in 2017 she suffered a severe break in her femur and had to sit out the Chequamegon race. In 2018, after a metal pin and extensive rehabilitation, she came back to win it again!
“Jenna and I raced in the open mixed category at the British Columbia Bike Race both in 2016 and 2018,” Justin said. “We won that category both times. The British Columbia bike race is a seven-day mountain bike stage race held in and around the Vancouver BC area in early July. This race attracts riders from all over the world. This year saw riders from over 40 different countries.”