MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A major bicycle race gets underway in the Twin Cities on Wednesday.

Three-hundred professional racers from all over the world are taking part in the North Star Grand Prix, a five-day series of races in the Twin Cities, Cannon Falls, Stillwater and Menomonie, Wis. The event stars in St. Paul.

Spokeswoman Jacqueline Carpenter said the event involves both long road races and short, fast circuit races, which always a fan favorite.

“You’re standing watching a race for an hour in Minneapolis-St. Paul or Stillwater, and you see the racers come by like 20-some times,” she said.

The North Star Grand Prix is considered one of the most prestigious events on the pro bike racing circuit, Carpenter said.

“The Stillwater stage actually features the steepest hill in all of North American racing — that’s Chilkoot Hill,” Carpenter said. “It’s almost a 24-percent grade. This year the men will have to race up it.”

The ultimate winner will be the person who averages the best time in all stages of the race.

Each stage of the race will also have its own festival, featuring entertainment, food, stunt riders and kids’ activities. Click here for specific locations and schedules.