With the addition of a 5K walk/run, organizers with Mountain Valley Hospice and Palliative Care expect a record turnout for the Tour’s 2010 incarnation this Saturday.
So far 135 have pre-registered for the charity bike ride and run, and Sheila Jones, the events head, said if past years are any indication, she and her stable of volunteers expect a record turnout.
“We decided to add a 5K run to it and so far that has been successful,” Jones said. “You normally count on about 30 percent of your riders being pre-registered, and if that’s any sign, we are going to be slammed come Saturday, which is a great problem to have. We are looking forward to it and are trying to prepare for nearly 200 people.”
For the past 10 years, Mountain Valley Hospice and Palliative Care has tried to help boost its ability to help those in need by sponsoring the ride through the Mount Airy area.
In an attempt to promote wellness and an active lifestyle, proceeds from the ride go to those in need of the hospice service who are unable to provide funds for all of the amenities Mountain Valley Hospice provides.
“On average, we bring in around $6,000 to $10,000 and we use that money to take care of our indigent population, to do those extra things that we do for families at the end of life. Something as simple as to provide a fan to keep someone cool all the way to providing a hospital bed.”
Registration for this year’s event begins at 7 a.m. with the ride scheduled to kick off at 8 a.m.
The ride is a charity event, not a race, with participants able to choose between a 19-, 44- and 100-mile route beginning at the Mountain Valley Hospice and Palliative Care offices on Technology Lane off Riverside Drive in Mount Airy.
The 19-mile route stays within the Mount Airy city limits and passes by several Mount Airy landmarks, including downtown, the Andy Griffith Homeplace and the Andy Griffith Playhouse and has just one rest stop.
The 44-mile route is dubbed the Edwards-Franklin House Tour and travels a scenic route out of Mount Airy to the Edwards-Franklin House. The house was built in 1799 and was restored by the Surry County Historical Society in 1973. Riders can take a tour of the house and enjoy a sonker (deep-dish fruit pie) before returning to Mount Airy by an alternate route.
The full Tour de Mayberry route has two variations which allow riders to choose between a 92-mile ride or a 100-mile ride which includes a climb up Pilot Mountain.
This route takes cyclists through downtown Mount Airy past several establishments referenced on “The Andy Griffith Show,” after which riders will continue on to Pilot Mountain.
The 5K run course is a short loop through uptown Mount Airy both beginning and ending at the Mountain Valley Hospice parking lot. Time recording will be available for those who wish to compete.
Jones, who helped bring about the ride along with Dr. Jan Kriska of Blue Ridge Cardiology and Richard Roten of Blue Ridge Cycling, said the origins of Tour de Mayberry came out of need.
“We are a hospice agency, but we are people who live and work in this community,” Jones said. “We wanted to do something different, and we were one of the first rides put on in this area and several have followed, but we welcome that because it helps promote our cause. I have had a blast because I have met so many people, from Florida to Michigan and Canada. They come all that way to experience this event. You can’t get more than that.”
Registration for the ride is $35 and includes a tour T-shirt and refreshments including breakfast foods served before the ride.
All riders must return by 4 p.m.
For more information on the Tour de Mayberry, visit www.tourdemayberry.net or contact the Mountain Valley Hospice and Palliative Care at 789-2922.