Cyclists, runners, gear up for Tour de Cape
Tour de Cape is more than just a bicycle ride, both in reality and theory.
In reality, there’s a kick-off celebration Friday, Jan. 19, from 5 to 8 p.m. when you can pick up your packets, route maps, and T-shirts; enjoy a meal at Fathoms Restaurant & Bar with a registration 10 percent off special; and also receive two scoops of gelato for one scoop price at The French Press. There’s also a 5K Run/Walk and a 3-mile Kids Ride on Saturday with a continental breakfast provided. And then there’s the signature event – Tour de Cape – with 15-mile, 30-mile, 60-mile, and 100-mile rides and lunch afterward at either Fathoms (buffet-style) or Rumrunners (limited menu).
In theory, it’s a chance for cycling enthusiasts, as well as runners, to come out and enjoy the camaraderie.
“It’s a great opportunity to share the experience with other riders (and runners),” said Todd King, special events coordinator for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. “We look forward to this event each year. It’s the most difficult one we put on, with providing safety and support to participants over a 100-mile course, but it’s also one of the most rewarding.”
The reward for King is providing people with an avenue to pursue a healthy activity. And he’s happy that the Tour de Cape has grown into the multi-faceted event it is today.
“This is one of the premier rides in Southwest Florida,” King said. “And according to our surveys, one of the highest ratings we get is for the (after-ride lunch). Our participants say the food that’s provided by Fathoms and Rumrunners is definitely higher end than what they usually get at other rides. They usually say it’s over the top and it gets the highest ratings.”
Cyclists and/or runners can register online until next Friday or at the kick-off party and enjoy $5 off each registration fee. As of Saturday, Jan. 20, registration for the Tour de Cape will be day-of pricing. Check-in time for Saturday’s 5K is from 6:30 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. with race time is at 8 a.m. Tour de Cape check-in time will be from 6:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. and ride times are 8 a.m. for the 60 and 100-mile tours and 8:30 a.m. for the 15 and 30-mile tours.
One of the new Tour de Cape features this year that King is most excited about is the Speed Zone Challenge option riders will be able to select during registration. They will receive a chip timer prior to the ride and be able to sprint the final quarter mile of their ride. Winners will be determined according to which tour they rode in and their age group.
“Trek is providing gift cards for the winners of the Speed Zone Challenge,” King said.
Although Saturday is for the runners – there’s a special package rate if you register to do both the 5K and the Tour de Cape on Sunday – youth have their own mini Tour de Cape on Saturday with the 3-mile Kids Ride. Cost is $10 per child and their adult companions ride for free. Check-in time is 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and ride time is 11 a.m.
“The Safe Kids Program at Lee Health will be here providing helmet inspections and making sure they fit the kids properly,” King said. “They also will provide helmets to swap out a bad helmet or one that doesn’t fit properly.”
Cape Coral-based Hollywood Bikes will also provide bicycle inspections before the Kids Ride.
Safety is always a priority for King and his special events staff. They’ve dealt with high winds on Sunday’s Tour de Cape the last two years. Last year’s 100-mile ride had to be rerouted due to what would have been a treacherous head wind on the return trip to Cape Harbour.
“At the end of the day, our first responsibility is the safety of our participants,” King said. “But we’re staying positive that we’ll have good weather.”
For more information on the 27th annual Tour de Cape or to register, visit: tourdecape.net.
Cape Harbour is at 5848 Cape Harbour Drive.