‘Tour’ to return to Suffolk

Published 12:41 am Sunday, February 2, 2014

The American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure will weave along Suffolk’s back roads for the third year in a row on April 26, starting from King’s Fork High School and sending cyclists on 10-, 30-, 65- or 100-mile journeys.

The annual fundraising event has been going on for 20 years locally and three years longer than that nationwide. This year’s fundraising goal for the Hampton Roads race is a steep one — $450,000 — but the money will go toward education, prevention, research, support and other diabetes-related causes.

Event Manager Amie Holman said Suffolk has been a favorite of event participants since the event first came here in 2012.

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“The route is a huge hit with the cyclists,” she said. “We are able to see beautiful scenery, but at the same time have the riders still safe on the course.”

The city — from its police and parks departments to businesses and volunteers helping out —also has made the event feel welcome, Holman said.

“We feel like we can have an exemplary event for the riders,” she said.

Anyone is encouraged to sign up for and participate in the event, Holman said. Cyclists don’t need to be serious athletes and don’t need fancy gear — just a safe bicycle and helmet will do — as long as they’re serious about raising money for the cause of diabetes.

“At some point in time, health is always a priority for people in their lives,” Holman said. “Maybe they’re trying to get healthy or they have little ones they want to engage in healthy activities. ‘Tour’ is a great outlet for families and individuals to come out and participate and feel like they’re taking part.”

Holman said the tour is mostly sticking with what works from last year. The routes are largely the same, but there are now three food options for the post-ride meal, and the site layout has been redesigned “so it feels more intimate at the end,” she said.

There is a $25 registration fee and $200 fundraising minimum to participate.

A kickoff event is set for Feb. 19 at the Chesapeake Lifestyle Center, 800 N. Battlefield Blvd., from 6 to 8 p.m. It will include refreshments, awards, auctions and door prizes. The kickoff event is free, but RSVPs are requested to Holman at 424-6662 ext. 3276 or at aholman@diabetes.org.

For more information on the event or to register, visit www.diabetes.org/hamptonroadsvatour.