Overcast skies did little to dampen the spirit of the more than 200 cyclists and runners who turned out for the 12th annual Tour de Mayberry Saturday.
The event was a chance for participants to spend a day challenging and pushing themselves while simultaneously helping a worthy cause. Proceeds from the registration fees are used to take care of patients in the county without insurance and help fund the efforts of Mountain Vally Hospice and Palliative Care.
The athletes, who ranged from elite cyclists on state-of-the-art bikes to those simply out for a scenic ride, gathered in the parking lot of Mountain Valley Hospice, just off Riverside Drive, to await the start of the race.
Sheila Jones, Mountain Valley Hospice’s director of development and coordinator of Saturday’s event, said that about half the participants were cyclists, and about 100 runners had registered.
“But more keep showing up,” she said with a smile at the registration tent.
This year’s event included a 100-mile bike ride that included a trek up to the top of Pilot Mountain, a 92-mile ride that followed the 100-mile course but does not include the climb up the mountain, a 44-mile ride that ended at the Edwards-Franklin House, a 19-mile Mount Airy tour, a 5K run/walk and a children’s fun run.
The event is becoming known among elite cyclists, Jones said.
“The 100-mile race is starting to be known as the first event for elite riders of the season,” she said.
Participants in this year’s tour included those from North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee, organizers said.
Rest stops were located throughout the course that were stocked with oranges, bananas, trail mix, crackers, water and Gatorade. A lunch was also provided to the participants.
Jones credited the tireless efforts of about 80 volunteers with making the event run smoothly.
“Without them, we couldn’t do this,” she said.
Results from the race were not available at press time.
Reach Keith Strange at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1929.